Herbs That Can Only Be Started by Seed

Many perennial herbs, such as rosemary, oregano or chives, are best propagated by layering, stem cutting or dividing. But some annual herbs are most easily grown from seed. Herbs that don't transplant well should be grown from seed. Choose fertile soil in places that get at least six hours of sun a day to plant your herb seeds. Keep the soil moist until the seeds germinate, and water regularly thereafter.


Plant basil after all danger of frost has passed in fertile soil in a sunny location. The seeds germinate quickly. Harvest the leaves and use them fresh or dry them for later use. When basil flowers, it produces attractive white blossoms on spikes; when the flowers dry, new seeds will be produced and can be saved for future planting. There are many varieties of basil, each varying in size, flavor, and even color (some basils are purple).


Borage leaves and blossoms have a flavor similar to cucumber and are a refreshing addition to salads and beverages. Borage grows well from seed and if left alone may reseed itself year after year if winters are not too harsh. Plant in a dry, sunny location. Harvest the leaves and flowers to use fresh; harvest dry flowers to save seeds for the next season.


Caraway seeds flavor bread, pretzels, coleslaw and cheese spreads. Caraway is a biennial, meaning it takes two years to reach full growth. Sow caraway seeds in the fall and mulch over the winter. By the following fall you should be able to harvest the seeds to use as seasoning or for planting the next year's crop. Caraway plants resemble carrots.


The tall, lacy, bluish green fronds of dill look lovely in a garden, and adds distinct flavor to vegetable dishes and pickles. The plants can grow several feet tall, so they require a lot of garden space. Tall plants need to be staked. Sow dill seed in the spring after the danger of frost has passed. You can use both the seeds and leaves of dill in cooking. Dill is known for reseeding itself, and can become a nuisance if allowed to spread.


Parsley is both a garnish and a seasoning. Sow seeds in fertile soil and keep moist. Parsley seeds can take up to two weeks to germinate, so keep watering and be patient. Parsley leaves are a good source of Vitamin C and can be chewed to freshen breath.

Keywords: perennial herbs, annual herbs, herbs that don't transplant well

About this Author

Cynthia James is the author of more than 40 novels and her nonfiction work has appeared in publications ranging from Modern Bride to Popular Mechanics. A graduate of Sam Houston State University, she has a degree in economics. Before turning to freelancing full time, James worked as a newspaper reporter, travel agent and medical clinic manager.