Wondering how to grow herbs? All it takes is a sunny ledge for growing herbs in pots, and you’ll have fresh herbs for your cooking all summer long.
Our number 1 tip for delicious and healthy food? Fresh herbs. Why? They add extraordinary flavor without adding calories. While you might not have a yard with garden space for herbs, all you need is a sunny front step, porch, or ledge for growing herbs in pots. Wondering how to get started? Keep reading for tips on how to grow herbs.
Why grow your own herbs?
Alex and I been growing our own for years. Not only do they provide great flavor, but they are cost-efficient as well. One basil plant costs less than a single-use package from the grocery, and it provides basil throughout the entire summer (and pesto for the winter!). We also grow a few perennial herbs in our garden, which can survive the winter and start thriving as early as March here in Indiana. We absolutely recommend growing a pot of kitchen herbs, even if you only have a tiny spot of sun.
Related: DIY Gold Painted Herb Pots
How to Grow Herbs (in Pots)
Head to the store
- Buy herb plants. We buy our herbs from starts, or plants that have already been started. You can grow herbs from seed, but that involves a bit more time and energy. For beginners, we find it easier to begin with starts. You can find starts at your local nursery or farmer’s market.
**Our Top Herbs to Grow (in order of priority): Basil, Oregano, Mint, Dill, Thyme, Chives, Rosemary, Sage
- Buy pots. Any pots will do; they can be clay or plastic. Important: Look for pots with drainage holes at the bottom. If the pots do not have holes, you can also drill holes.
- Buy soil and lava rocks. Purchase a potting soil mix. If your pot does not have drainage holes in the bottom (and even if it does), it’s nice to have some rocks in the bottom of the pot for good drainage.
- Fill pots to nearly full with soil, then make wells for the plants you plan to add. Do not overcrowd the herbs; leave plenty of space for growth.
- Loosen the roots of the herb plants to allow them to take root easily, then slide them into the wells.
- Cover with remaining dirt, up to the top of the pot.
- Place the pots in a sunny place, on a deck or front steps, or even a sunny ledge.
- Water the pots every few days, making sure that the soil does not dry out.
- Harvest the herbs as much as necessary. The herbs will continue regrowing throughout the summer. For basil, regularly pinch off the tops (where 4 leaves have formed). Two stems will grow in its place and allow for a large, bushy plant (don’t be shy!).
- Eat! There’s nothing better than a pizza margarita or caprese salad with fresh basil from the garden.
How to grow basil
Because basil is one of the most popular herbs to grow and has some specific care instructions, we have an entire article devoted to it! See How to Grow Basil.
Basil also has a specific way to harvest it to make it into a large, bushy plant. See How to Harvest Basil.
And looking for how to store fresh basil if you bring it inside? We have a great method for how to keep it fresh for 3 to 5 days: see How to Store Fresh Basil.
Favorite recipes with fresh herbs
Now that you’ve mastered how to grow herbs, here are a few of our favorite recipes with fresh herbs!
- Tomato Basil Gnocchi Soup
- Tomato & Grilled Eggplant Stacked Sandwich
- Simple Basil Walnut Pesto
- Perfect Neapolitan Style Pizza Recipe
- Mint Pesto Grilled Cheese on the Grill
- Berries and Peaches with Mint Syrup
- Strawberries with Balsamic and Greek Yogurt
- Herb plants from starts: Basil, Oregano, Mint, Dill, Thyme, Chives, Rosemary, Sage
- Any pots with drainage
- Potting soil mix
- Lava rocks
- Fill pots to nearly full with soil
- Loosen the roots
- Cover with remaining dirt
- Place the pots in a sunny place
- Water regularly
We love to provide resources for your kitchen and garden! Here are a few more of our resources:
- How to Compost
- How to Organize Your Spices…the Minimalist Way
- Cove Dishwasher: “Cleanest They’ve Ever Been”
- How to Replace a Garbage Disposal
- How to Give Your Pantry a Healthy Makeover
- DIY Gold Painted Herb Pots
- How to Care for Butcher Block Countertops
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.