How to Grow Herbs As Ornamental Plants


Many herb plants have interesting foliage or attractive flowers. They add an ornamental quality to a garden. There are perennial and annual herb varieties so there is usually at least one type that is suited for your ornamental garden. The main benefit of planting herbs as ornamental plants is that they add an edible element to your landscaping. The leaves, and sometimes the blossoms of plants like chamomile, are usable in your favorite recipes. Many herbs are also low maintenance and require minimal care once established.

Step 1

Choose herbs to fit your garden bed. Plant aromatic herbs, such as lavender, in a bed near a patio so you can enjoy the fragrance. Pick low-growing herbs to border a flowerbed. Choose herbs with striking foliage or stems, such as sage, as a centerpiece in a full garden bed.

Step 2

Prepare the bed so it is well draining and rich in organic matter. Loosen the soil to an 8- to 10-inch depth with a hoe. Lay a 2-inch layer of finished compost on the bed and till it in to aid drainage and add organic matter.

Step 3

Plant the herb seedlings to the same depth in their nursery containers. Follow spacing requirements as outlined on the plant tag.

Step 4

Water the bed thoroughly after planting to collapse any air pockets in the soil around the roots. This allows the root system to immediately begin growing and feeding after planting.

Step 5

Keep the soil moist but not soaking wet. Apply a 2-inch layer of bark mulch around the plants to help preserve soil moisture and to prevent weeds.

Tips and Warnings

  • Members of the mint family are not well-suited as ornamentals, as they are invasive. If you want to plant mint, sow it in a container so it doesn't take over your garden bed. Many annual herbs self seed in the garden. Pick dying flowers before they set seeds if you don't want the herbs to self-seed.

Things You'll Need

  • Hoe
  • Compost
  • Mulch


  • Purdue Extension Office: Growing Herbs
Keywords: ornamental herbs, growing herb plants, outdoor herb garden

About this Author

Jenny Harrington is a freelance writer of more than five years' experience. Her work has appeared in "Dollar Stretcher" and various blogs. Previously, she owned her own business for four years, selling handmade items online, wholesale and via the crafts fair circuit. Her specialties are small business, crafting, decorating and gardening.