Herbs and spices are a joy to grow in the garden or the home, whether they're cascading over a hanging basket in the kitchen or situated outdoors in a ceramic pot. Gardeners who want to enjoy a pleasing aroma in the home or outdoors will find themselves well rewarded if they garden with herbs and spices.
A member of the carrot family, coriander (Coriandrum sativum) is an annual that is regarded as both an herb and a spice. The plant's dried seeds are considered a spice and are used heavily in Indian and Chinese cuisine in particular. The plant's delicate foliage is called "cilantro," and is frequently used as an herb in Mexican food. Coriander is an attractive, subtle garden plant that grows to be about 3 feet tall. The plant has wiry green foliage accented by small white flowers. A native of parts of the Mediterranean, coriander is a heavily fragrant annual that can be grown in USDA zones 9 to 11. Full sun is optimal for this plant, as is well-drained soil and frequent watering.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is an herbaceous shrub native to the Mediterranean. Reaching an average height of between 2 to 4 feet, rosemary sports columns of silvery green leaves with small blue flowers. The plant is a popular cooking herb throughout the world and is especially prominent in Italian cuisine. Rosemary grows best in a well-drained, sandy loam in USDA zones 6A to 9A. The plant will grow in partial shade or sun and requires only the occasional watering. Whether grown in the kitchen in a container or out in the garden as a border or specimen plant, rosemary's strong aroma can be smelled from a considerable distance.
Garden sage (Salvia officinalis) is a popular short-lived perennial herb native to the Mediterranean. The plant has long had a reputation as both a culinary and a medicinal plant. Reaching an average height of about 2 feet, garden sage is an attractive foliage plant that boasts pale green leaves and tiny, unremarkable flowers. Like many herbs, garden sage prefers full sunlight. A well-drained, rocky or sandy soil is best for this plant. Garden sage should be watered on a regular basis: more in the summer, less in the cooler months. The quality of the plant's leaves decline after a few years, and gardeners interested in using sage for culinary or medicinal purposes should start fresh with a new plant when the sage becomes too woody.