Herbs can be drought-tolerant or moisture-loving. By identifying this basic requirement, you can begin to arrange your herb plants so those with similar needs are grouped together in the garden. Other considerations are light, soil type and spreading habits. Invasive herbs may choke out smaller, more timid plants. Plan your herb garden to accommodate the natural differences in plant habits.
Several varieties of basil are popular, such as sweet, lemon, cinnamon or purple, and they all need similar growing conditions. They thrive with consistently even water, full sun, rich loose soil, and they benefit from light mulch. Other herbs with similar requirements are chervil, cilantro, parsley, French tarragon, marigolds and borage. Another similarity between these herbs is that they are grown as annuals. They all grow well together.
If you grow moisture-loving herbs in containers, try using plastic pots to keep the soil from drying out too quickly. The containers must have adequate drainage holes so water does not stand in the bottom of the pot, however.
Sage matures as a woody, shrubby plant that grows well in full sun in average soil. Similar woody herbs are lavender, rosemary and bay. The woody herbs are perennials. While these plants need adequate moisture, they prefer soil that is almost dry between waterings. They tolerate hot summer growing conditions. These herbs are ideal companions.
If you grow woody herbs in pots, terracotta or clay is ideal. The clay pots wick excess moisture away from the soil. Drainage holes are also necessary with clay pots.
Other herbs with similar growing needs are thyme, oregano and marjoram. These herbs are similar to the woody plants, but their smaller size means that they need more frequent watering because they have shallower roots that will dry out faster. While these are not considered woody, they are tough little plants that prefer full sun and soil that is nearly dry between waterings.
Chives grow well with any other herbs. They are adaptable to different soils in the garden, and they are easy to grow in containers. Chives need well-drained soil. They prefer plenty of water, but they also tolerate short periods of dry weather. Chives are ideal for use as transition plants between moist and dry sections of the herb garden.