How to Grow & Care for Herbs


Whether perennial or annual, many herbs require the same basic growing conditions. Most herbs prefer full sun, with at least six to eight hours daily being optimal. Notable exceptions are sweet cicely, angelica and woodruff, which prefer partial shade. All herbs enjoy well-drained soil with some organic matter. Additionally, they do better in soil that is not too rich. Overly rich soil results in larger plants, but they will have less flavor in culinary use.

Step 1

Turn over and break up the soil with a shovel in a sunny spot in the garden. Dig to a depth of 8 to 12 inches after all danger of frost has passed.

Step 2

Amend the soil with half as much compost as soil. Mix it in thoroughly.

Step 3

Sow herb seeds according to the directions on each packet. Different herbs require different planting depths and spacing.

Step 4

Thin herb seedlings after the first true leaves have appeared on the plants. Transplant the thinned-out seedlings elsewhere if you do not wish to discard them.

Step 5

Water the herbs until the soil absorbs it. Water again if the absorption rate is fast. Cease watering when the soil starts to absorb it more slowly.

Step 6

Trim leaves and flowers for culinary uses as needed with small kitchen shears or by hand. Trimming regularly encourages new growth and helps prolong the period before your herbs will try to go to seed. When they go to seed, they tend to become bitter.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid situations where water is left standing on the surface of the soil for a long time, as this means you have watered too much.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost
  • Shovel


  • Savvy Gardener: Growing Herbs at Home
  • Backyard Gardener: Herb Gardening
Keywords: growing herbs, caring for herbs, herb garden maintenance

About this Author

Amrita Chuasiriporn is a professional cook, baker, and writer. In addition to cooking and baking for a living, Chuasiriporn has written for several online publications. These include Chef's Blade, CraftyCrafty, and others. Additionally, Chuasiriporn is a regular contributor to online automotive enthusiast publication Chuasiriporn holds an A.A.S. in culinary arts, as well as a B.A. in Spanish language and literature.