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Herbs That Grow in the Sun

If you have a sunny spot and you want to grow herbs, you're in luck. Many herbs come to us from Mediterranean climates with plenty of sunshine and love nothing better than eight or more hours of bright sun. The exception is when seedlings are newly transplanted outdoors from pots or flats. Then you'll want to provide them with some shade and extra water for a few days until they become acclimated. If you have planted your herbs from seed, this happens naturally. If you're just beginning with herbs, choose a few useful ones that are easy to grow in the sun.

Annual Herbs

Annual herbs are those that grow and are harvested after one season. They grow quickly, so they are often planted from seed each spring. Some good annual herbs for a sunny garden are basil, savory, cilantro, parsley and dill. Plant the seeds in shallow holes when danger of frost is past. Water as needed and start harvesting the leaves as soon as the plant has five leaves. Some annual herbs, like cilantro and dill, have a relatively short season, so harvest as often as you can. Do not allow stems on the plants you plan to harvest to flower, but let a few stalks of each herb flower so you can see their beautiful, understated blooms.

Perennial Herbs

Perennial herbs also love the sun, and they grow bigger year after year, often dying back in the winter to sprout again in spring. Sage and thyme are two good perennial herbs. Plant as early in the year as the soil can be worked, digging a hole about an inch bigger than the root ball and filling in with a mixture of the topsoil and some organic matter. Enrich the soil a bit with compost or other organic matter each year. Make sure to plant sage where it has room to grow into a beautiful silver hedge, and plant the thyme where it has room to creep. Some types of thyme are ideal between bricks or stones on a path and are called "steppables" because they release a woodsy fragrance when crushed.

Tender Perennials

Some well-known herbs that thrive all year in the Mediterranean do well in summers in moderate climates and even survive a mild freeze. They thrive and grow quickly in the sun. Examples include lavender and rosemary. They can survive a mild winter, but a severe one will kill them. Ask your nursery for plants that fit your climate, or grow them in pots and put them on a sunny porch in the winter.

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