30 HERBS + 5 EXOTIC HERBS to Sow and Grow in a Kitchen Garden

Are you looking for some herbs to plant, but not sure which ones to choose?

We have a LARGE list of herb recommendations along with mini plant profiles on each one.

To finish off those recommendations, we have FIVE EXOTIC herbs for those of you who are daring gardeners!

Grab your shovel, because we’re going to dig up some great information on kitchen herb gardens.

Things to Consider Before Starting a Kitchen Herb Garden

So, you want to start a kitchen herb garden, but where do you start? You’ll need to do some pre-planning and THEN go on to propagate, plant, and enjoy your herb plants!

For those who are beginners, you are probably wondering, “What are the easiest herbs to grow?

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You can grow anything we have listed.

Herbs are forgiving and quite easy to grow.

Indoor Kitchen Herb Garden 

  • What herbs can you grow in your kitchen? As long as herbs get 6 hours of direct sun, they will flourish in a kitchen. Growing herbs indoors without sunlight is possible as long as you have grow lights.
  • You’ll need an herb planter to plant your herbs in. We’ll cover some super creative indoor garden planters further down.

>>>> Check Out These Grow Lights <<<<

Outdoor Kitchen Herb Garden

  • Placement: well-drained soil, no puddling, or flooding.
  • Sun: 6 hours full sun
  • Be sure the particular herb plant is suitable for your zone.

The COLOSSAL list of 30 herbs you can grow!

Here are 30 amazing herbs to consider for your herb garden. Typically, it’s best to choose the herbs you’ll plant according to how you’ll use them.

Some herbs are superb to use in cooking, whereas others may be better suited for medicinal uses.

We have highlighted “uses” of each plant along with a short plant profile for each.

As long as you have a sunny area in your home with at least 6 hours of direct sun, you can grow any herb!

Basil

What Is Basil

Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is one of the most widely planted and used herbs around the world.

Zones2-11
SunFull Sun, Partial Shade
WaterMedium
TypeAnnual, Perennial
BloomWhite

Summer
SoilRich, well-drained
Size1 ½’ – 2’ 
UsesContainer or small garden planting

Companion planting with tomatoes

Medicinal

Essential Oils

Edible: used to flavor foods and beverages

Religious: holy water, burials, altar blessing

Insect repellent

Oral and dental products

Bay

Bay (Laurus Nobilis) isn’t difficult to grow. It requires plenty of space because it tends to grow quite large.

Bay leaves have been around for centuries and were worn as crowns by Greeks and Romans. 

Zones8-10
SunFull Sun, Partial Sun
WaterLow-Medium
TypeAnnual, Perennial
BloomChartreuse 

Late Spring
SoilRich, well-drained
Size15’ – 20’ High (slow grower, 3-4” per year)
UsesContainer or small garden planting

Medicinal

Edible: used to flavor soup, stews, and other dishes

Bergamot

Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) is a beautiful herb with firework-like blooms that pollinators flock to. If you are looking for something aromatic, tasty, and an attractant for butterflies, this one’s perfect! 

Zones4-10
SunFull Sun, Partial Sun
WaterMedium
TypePerennial
BloomPurple

Striking firework-like features

Summer/Fall
SoilMoist, well-drained
Size36” high with about the same spread
UsesPollinator attractant

Medicinal

Companion planting

Potpourri

Cooking

Ornamental value

Borage

Borage (Borago officinalis) is perhaps one of the best herbs used for companion planting.

This plant has the amazing ability to attract beneficial insects that patrol your garden for unwanted pests. 

Zones4-10
SunFull Sun, Partial Sun
WaterMedium
TypeAnnual
BloomBlue

Summer
SoilMoist, well-drained
Size36” H x 18” S
UsesContainer or small garden planting

Companion planting 

Edible: used to flavor foods

Insect repellent

Ornamental value

Caraway

Caraway (Carum carvi) is a nice little herb to plant to attract beneficial insects.

Its charming umbrella-like flowers are a feature that many herb gardeners appreciate.

Zones3-11
SunFull Sun, Partial Shade
WaterMedium
TypeBiennial
BloomWhite/Pink

Umbrella-like feature

Spring/Summer
SoilRich, well-drained
Size12”-30” H
UsesContainer or small garden planting

Companion planting 

Medicinal

Edible: used to flavor foods 

Ornamental value

Catnip

Ah yes, we can’t forget good old catnip (Nepeta cataria,) especially for those of us who have cats!

Gardeners not only grow catnip for their kitties but also to keep mosquitoes at bay.

Zones3-9
SunFull Sun, Partial Shade
WaterMedium
TypePerennial
BloomWhite/Purple

Late Summer
SoilRich, well-drained
Size48”x18” H
UsesContainer or small garden planting 

Insect repellent

Pest repellent

Companion planting

Medicinal

Cat toys

Aromatic value

Chamomile (Roman)

Chamomile (Matricaria Chamomilla) is synonymous with calming teas. Although chamomile isn’t a culinary herb, it is a widespread herb used medicinally.

The delicate daisy-like flowers add charm to any herb garden!

Zones5-8
SunFull Sun, Partial Sun
WaterMedium
TypeAnnual
BloomWhite/Yellow

Delicate daisy-like feature

Late Summer/Early Fall
SoilRich, well-drained
Size16” H x 12” S
UsesContainer or small garden planting

Companion planting 

Medicinal

Edible: used in teas

Ornamental value

Aromatic value

Pest repellent

Pollinator attractant

Chervil

chervil

Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium) is an herb that is catching on here in the U.S. Europeans typically cultivate this herb, which is found in French cooking.

Beware that this plant has a habit of bolting if not kept under a watchful eye.

Zones3-8
SunFull Sun, Partial Sun
WaterMedium
TypeAnnual
BloomWhite

Cluster umbels

Mid Summer
SoilRich, well-drained
Size18” H x 12” S
UsesContainer or small garden planting

Medicinal

Edible: used in French cooking

Ornamental value

Pest repellent

Pollinator attractant

Chives

care for Chives plant

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) is one of the most common herbs found in herb gardens. Because of its subtle oniony flavor, many cooks use it in numerous dishes. 

Zones3-9
SunFull Sun, Partial Sun
WaterMedium
TypePerennial
BloomLavender

Delicate star-like

Spring, Summer
SoilMoist, well-drained
Size18” H x 8” S
UsesContainer or small garden planting

Medicinal

Edible: used in cooking

Pollinator attractant

Cilantro

care for cilantro plant

Cilantro (Coriander sativum) is synonymous with Mexican food. Salsa wouldn’t be salsa without cilantro! The foliage of this plant is known as ‘cilantro,’ while the seeds are known as ‘coriander.’

This herb is relatively straightforward in ease of care; however, in warmer months, it quickly bolts.

Zones3-11
SunFull Sun, Partial Sun
WaterMedium
TypeAnnual
BloomWhite/Pink

Delicate clusters

Spring
SoilLoamy, well-drained
Size20” H x 6” S
UsesContainer or small garden planting

Medicinal

Edible: used in cooking

Culantro

Did you think we doubled up on ‘cilantro’ by mistake? This is an herb totally different from cilantro but with a similar spelling!

Culantro (Eryngium foetidum) is a herb commonly grown and used in dishes in Caribbean and Latino countries. It, too, has a bad habit of bolting in warmer weather. 

Zones10b-11
SunShade
WaterMedium
TypeBiennial
BloomDark Blue

Spikes

Summer, Fall
SoilMoist, well-drained
Size36” H x 18” S
UsesContainer or small garden planting

Medicinal

Edible: used in cooking

Dill

care for dill plant

Dill (Anethum graveolens) is almost always associated with pickles. Pickles, fish, and other foods wouldn’t be what they are if it weren’t for the distinct flavoring of dill.

This herb does have one drawback in that it doesn’t live long. Be sure to prune often to prevent bolting.

Zones2-9
SunFull Sun, Partial Sun
WaterMedium
TypeAnnual
BloomYellow

Flat umbels

Summer
SoilLoamy/sandy,  well-drained
Size36” H x 15” S
UsesContainer or small garden planting

Medicinal

Edible: used in cooking

Ornamental value

Companion planting

Aromatic value

Pollinator attractant

Fennel

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is the familiar flavoring used in sausages. There are two types of fennel; one is an herb; the other is a bulb. Both are edible with the same licorice taste.

Just like dill, fennel is a short-lived herb.

Zones4-9
SunFull sun, Partial sun
WaterMedium
TypeAnnual
BloomYellow

Cluster umbels

Spring to Fall
SoilRich, well-drained
Size8’ H x 2’ S
UsesContainer or small garden planting

Edible: used in cooking

Aromatic value

Medicinal

Ornamental value

Wildlife attractant

Beneficial insect attractant

Garlic

Now we come to another popular herb we all know and love. Garlic (Allium sativum) is an herb found in almost every Italian dish there is.

It comes in three different types; hardneck, softneck, and elephant. For your garlic to thrive, remove the scapes (flowers) before blooming.

Zones3-8
SunFull sun
WaterMedium
TypeAnnual
SoilRich, well-drained
Size3’ H 
UsesContainer or small garden planting

Edible: used in cooking

Aromatic value

Medicinal

Insect repellent

Lavender

Lavender (Lavandula) is perhaps the most aromatic herb that’s loved around the world!

There are three different types of lavender; English, Spanish, and Lavandin. English lavender is what most of us are familiar with when it comes to essential oils and dried flowers. 

Zones4-9
SunFull sun
WaterLow
TypePerennial
BloomPurple, Blue, Lilac

Inflorescences

Mid-summer
SoilLoamy/sandy, well-drained
Size3’ H x 3’ S
UsesContainer or small garden planting

Edible: used in cooking

Aromatic value

Medicinal

Ornamental value

Wildlife attractant

Aromatherapy

Essential oils

Lemon Grass

Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) is commonly used for ornamental and repellent planting.

It’s quite tolerant and forgiving in hot climates as well as being winter-hardy (above 30 degrees (F.)

Zones8b-11
SunFull sun
WaterMedium
TypePerennial
BloomPurple, Blue, Lilac

Inflorescences

Mid-summer
SoilLoamy, well-drained
Size4’ H x 3’ S
UsesContainer or small garden planting

Edible: used in cooking

Aromatic value

Medicinal

Ornamental value

Naturalization

Aromatherapy

Essential oils

Lemon Verbena

Lemon verbena (Aloysia triphylla) is a powerhouse when it comes to being aromatic. It’s one of the most fragrant herbs. Simply brushing up against the leaves releases its strong aroma!

The citrusy, lemony aroma adds flavor to foods and is great for making beverages. This herb is extremely sensitive to stressful conditions (climate, soil, etc.), and because of this, it’s a bit finicky to grow.

Zones9-10
SunFull sun, partial sun
WaterMedium
TypePerennial
BloomPurple, White

Delicate star-shaped

Late summer
SoilLoamy, well-drained
Size72”’ H x 72” S
UsesContainer or small garden planting

Edible: used in cooking

Aromatic value

Medicinal

Ornamental value

Aromatherapy

Essential oils

Lovage

Lovage (Levisticum officinalis) is a winter-hardy herb for those of you who live in the north!

This herb adds a combined flavor of anise and celery to foods. 

Zones4-8
SunFull sun
WaterMedium
TypePerennial
BloomYellow

Summer
SoilWell-drained
Size48” H x 24” S
UsesContainer or small garden planting

Edible: used in cooking

Medicinal

Pollinator attractant

Winter-Hardy planting

Marjoram

Marjoram (Origanum majoricum) is a sweet balsam-tasting herb similar to oregano. It’s used throughout the world in cooking.

This herb prefers warmer climates and may not tolerate chilly temps.

Zones7-11
SunFull sun
WaterMedium
TypePerennial (southern regions)

Annual (northern regions)
BloomPink/White

Terminal-heading

Summer
SoilWell-drained
Size12” H x 18” S
UsesContainer or small garden planting

Edible: used in cooking

Medicinal

Aromatic value

Pollinator attractant

Companion planting

Mint

Mint (Mentha) is something we automatically associate with chewing gum; however, mint has many attributes!

Don’t let this little herb fool you because it takes off on you with runners trying to spread everywhere.

Zones3-10
SunPartial Sun
WaterMedium
TypePerennial
BloomPink, White, Purple

Summer, Fall
SoilMoist, Well-drained
Size12” H x 8’ S
UsesContainer or small garden planting

Edible: used in cooking

Medicinal

Pest repellent

Pollinator attractant

Oregano

Oregano (Origanum vulgare) is yet another commonly used herb in cooking. Pizzas and other Mediterranean dishes would be incomplete without oregano.

For this herb to reach its full potential in aroma, be sure to plant in full sun.

Zones5-11
SunFull sun
WaterMedium
TypePerennial
BloomWhite, Pink, Blue

Summer, Fall
SoilWell-drained
Size3” H x 4’ S
UsesContainer or small garden planting

Edible: used in cooking

Medicinal

Aromatic value

Pollinator attractant

Winter-Hardy planting

Wildlife attractant

Parsley

does parsley like sun or shade

Parsley (Petroselinum) is a tender herb that is commonly grown in herb gardens.

Although it’s simplistic in its contribution to cooking and other uses, it makes a nice little herb to include.

Zones4-8
SunFull sun
WaterMedium
TypeAnnual, biennial
BloomWhite

Summer
SoilLoamy, Well-drained
Size12” H x 3” S
UsesContainer or small garden planting

Edible: used in cooking

Medicinal

Rosemary

Now we come to Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), which is one of the most aromatic herbs used in cooking and essential oils. Simply touching this plant releases a wonderful piney-nutty fragrance.

Frequent pruning is required because this plant loves to spread its wings!

Zones8-10
SunFull sun
WaterMedium
TypePerennial
BloomBlue, White, Purple

Summer, Spring
SoilWell-drained
Size3’ H x 8” S
UsesContainer or small garden planting

Edible: used in cooking

Medicinal

Pollinator attractant

Ornamental value

Companion planting

Aromatic value

Sage

Sage (Salvia officinalis) is an herb found in meat dishes.

Annual pruning is a must for this plant to encourage optimal growth.

Zones5-9
SunFull sun
WaterMedium
TypePerennial
BloomPurple, Pink

Spring
SoilWell-drained
Size30” H x 24” S
UsesContainer or small garden planting

Edible: used in cooking

Ornamental value

Medicinal

Pollinator attractant

Smudging

Savory (Winter)

Winter Savory (Satureja montana) is a spicey, piney-tasting herb used in many dishes. It looks similar to rosemary.

Winter savory is cold-sensitive, so be sure you’re in the right zone to plant it.

Zones6-9
SunFull sun
WaterMedium
TypePerennial
BloomPurple, White, Pink

Summer
SoilWell-drained
Size15” H x 24” S
UsesContainer or small garden planting

Edible: used in cooking and liqueurs

Medicinal

Pollinator attractant

Ornamental value

Pest repellent

Companion planting

St. John’s Wort

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) is a widely used herb for its medicinal properties.

In a garden, it offers ornamental beauty with its charming yellow flowers. 

Caution: toxic to dogs, cats, horses, cows, and sheep. 

Zones5-10
SunFull sun, partial shade
WaterLow-Medium
TypePerennial
BloomYellow

Saucer-like with stamens

Summer
SoilWell-drained
Size36” H x 24” S
UsesContainer or small garden planting

Medicinal

Pollinator attractant

Ornamental value

Essential oils

Stevia

Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) is an underappreciated herb that hasn’t quite caught on here in the U.S. as it has in Japan.

This herb is grown as an alternative to sugar because of its sweet, licorice-like taste. 

Zones8-11
SunFull sun, partial sun
WaterMedium
TypePerennial
BloomYellow

Perpetual blooms
SoilRich, well-drained
Size36” H x 36” S
UsesContainer or small garden planting

Medicinal

Sugar alternative

Tarragon

care for Tarragon plant

Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) is a culinary-forward herb that has a distinct anise flavor.

This plant has numerous medicinal benefits making it quite popular among herbalists.

Zones3-9
SunFull sun, partial sun
WaterMedium
TypePerennial
BloomGreenSummer
SoilLoamy, well-drained
Size3’ H x 8’ S
UsesContainer or small garden planting

Medicinal

Companion planting

Beauty products

Ornamental value

Thyme

Thyme (Thymus) is grown in herb gardens but also as ground cover.

Its dainty green leaves and little flowers somewhat resemble rosemary in appearance and taste.

Zones4-9
SunFull sun, partial sun
WaterMedium
TypePerennial
BloomPink, White

Spring
SoilLoamy, well-drained
Size6” H x 12” S (ground cover habit)
UsesContainer or small garden planting

Medicinal

Landscape ground cover value

Cooking

Wildlife attractant

Aromatic value

BONUS: 5 Exotic Herbs!

Are you looking for something on the rare and exotic side to add to your herb garden? 

Angelic “Root of the Holy Ghost

Zones 4-10

Grows up to 6 feet

Biennial

Native Habitat: Siberia, Himalayan Mountains

Caution: consuming too much is toxic for both humans and animals!

Uses:

  • Cooking
  • Medicinal
  • Ornamental value

Betony “Bishop’s Wort

Zones 4-9

36” H x 18” S

Biennial

Native Habitat: Siberia, Himalayan Mountains

Uses:

  • Cooking
  • Medicinal
  • Landscape ground cover value
  • Pollinator attractant
  • Ornamental value

Dittany of Crete “Love Seeker’s Herb

Zones 7-11

6” H x 16” S

Perennial

Native to the steep cliff sides of Crete. Those who risked their lives to gather the herb were called “love seekers.”

Uses:

  • Cooking
  • Medicinal
  • Ornamental value
  • Perfumes

Vick’s

Zones 9-12

24” H x 18” S

Perennial

This herb has an aroma that smells just like “Vicks Vapor Rub.”

Uses:

  • Hanging container planting because of cascading habit
  • Medicinal
  • Ornamental value
  • Pollinator attractant

Zaatar

Zones 9-11

12” H x 9” S

Annual

This herb is commonly found in Middle Eastern dishes, including hummus and bread oils.

Uses:

  • Cooking
  • Aromatic value
  • Ornamental value
  • Pollinator attractant
  • Wildlife attractant

Creatively Growing Your Own Herbs

Wow, we finally reach the end of this colossal list of herbs!

There are so many to choose from when it comes to planting a kitchen herb garden.

Pay attention to your zones when choosing your herbs to plant.

Also, plant according to how you plan to use the herb (cooking, herbal remedy, etc.)

Your herb garden ideas are endless now that you know more about herb plants.

Happy “gardening!”

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