Tips for Planting Herbs

Herbs add color and personality to any garden.


+ enlarge image Isolate invasive herbs.

1. Crowd control. Some herbs become invasive, crowd other plants, and even take over a garden. Tansy (shown), catnip, comfrey, horseradish, lemon balm, hops, artemisia, all kinds of mint, and some other herbs spread aggressively via underground runners unless you control them. Try to curtail invasive herbs by planting each one in a 12-inch nursery pot and then submerging the pot in the ground. The pot won't be visible but it will help keep the plant in bounds.

Get inspired to grow even more herbs with this list of an herb-lover's favorites.

+ enlarge image Plant mint in barrels for an effect that is both attractive and limiting.

2. Mint in barrels. No collection of herbs would be complete without mint, a fragrant yet invasive herb. Prevent mint plants from completely taking over the garden by planting them in half-barrels or containers. Create an attractive design by planting a different mint variety in each container, such as orange, ginger, peppermint, spearmint, and chocolate mint.

+ enlarge image A basket makes a charming planter.

3. A tisket, a tasket. Recycle an old or damaged basket into a pretty planter at the edge of the garden. Fill the basket with soil and then use it to nurse tender herb seedlings until they are large enough (at least 6 inches tall) to transplant into the garden or a larger container. Or sprinkle a variety of herb seeds over the soil and transplant the seedlings when they reach at least 6 inches tall.

+ enlarge image Plant herbs strategically in your garden plan.

4. Here and there. Whether you're designing a new garden or filling holes in an established one, herbs offer endless planting potential. The best times to plant are in spring, after the soil has warmed, or in early fall. Make herbs an integral part of your plans for nonstop blooms. Planted next to spring-blooming bulbs, for example, chives and sage reach their peak and bloom just in time to cover up the dying foliage of hyacinths and daffodils. Stagger plantings of basil and dill from early to midsummer and enjoy fresh herbs into fall.

Great Herbs for Planting in Full Sun

Basil Chives Cilantro/coriander Comfrey Dill Fennel Lavender Oregano Parsley Rosemary Sage Salad burnet

Great Herbs for Planting in Partial Shade

Angelica Bee balm Catnip Chervil Feverfew Hyssop Lady's mangle Lemon balm Lovage Mint Sweet cicely Sweet violet Sweet woodruff Wintergreen

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