Instax picture of a girl pouring dirt into an herb garden
Instax picture of a hand holding a cup of basil leaves

How To Grow an Herb Garden

Hands placing herbs in a garden bed

Herbs are low-maintenance plants that make a great addition to any kitchen or garden. Their shallow root systems and resiliency make them easy to grow, even for beginners. Growing your own herb garden is a great way to add more flavor to your cooking, and it provides an opportunity to teach children about the plant life cycle.

Before you start your garden, it is important to understand what makes herbs grow best and what your options are when planting.

Seeds vs. Plants

When you begin your garden, you have the option to plant seeds or seedlings. Seeds are less expensive than seedlings; however, they will take more time (and nurturing) to become full herb plants. Seedlings—or young herb plants—give you more control over where your plants will grow and have a higher likelihood of making it to maturity—if transferred correctly. Your decision, however, may be determined by the variety of seeds and seedlings available at your local nursery. Typically, more seed varieties are available than seedlings.

Indoors vs. Outdoors

Herb gardens can be grown indoors or outdoors. Your herbs can be started indoors in early spring when it is too cold to survive outside. Because they don’t need significant sunlight to grow, this is a great option if you live further north. However, herbs grow better the more sun they get, so once the last hard frost of the season has passed, we recommend moving herbs outside.

Pots vs. Ground vs. Raised Bed

Herbs don’t like sitting in water, so drainage is very important for them. Whether you keep your herbs in pots, a raised bed, or the ground, make sure water can easily drain from the bottom. Pots and raised beds are great options because they drain well and allow you to move them indoors if cold or severe weather arises. While the ground is a natural environment for plants to grow, you are more limited in your control over how much water they receive and how well they drain.

Annuals vs. Perennials

Annual herbs—like basil, cilantro, dill, and fennel—live for one season, so they will need to be replanted every year. Perennials—like mint, oregano, sage, and thyme—will grow for many seasons if they are cut back in the fall. While one is not better than the other, it is important to know if your herbs are annuals or perennials to better understand their life cycles.

Prune, Water, Repeat

While not a decision, one important factor to consider when planting is the time it takes to nurture your herbs with pruning and watering. Remember, prune early and often to help your herbs thrive. Watering should take place as needed based on the herbs you are growing and how much water they are absorbing. Make sure not to over-water or over-prune your plants.

Once you have made your decisions regarding how you want to grow your plants, you can start planting.

Things You’ll Need:


  1. Start your seeds with a Chinet Classic® Clear Cup. Cut small holes at the bottom of the cup to allow for optimal drainage.

  2. Fill the clear cup three-quarters of the way full with soil. If available, add home compost to soil to provide the herbs with additional nutrients.
  3. Create three small, ½-inch holes in the soil. Then, add 1-2 seeds of one herb into each hole. Cover the seeds with extra soil.

  4. Water the seeds with enough water to make the soil damp but with no sitting water.

  5. Place the cup indoors near a sunny window or on a windowsill.
  6. Repeat the process with additional cups for other herbs.


  1. Water the herbs to help them grow. Check the level of moisture in the soil before watering—it should be slightly damp. The frequency of water will depend on how much sunlight the herbs receive, how much water they absorb, and how well the plants drain.

  2. After the last hard frost, move the herbs outside to receive more sunlight and grow in a more natural environment. The plants can stay in cups/pots, be transported to larger pots/planter box, or be repotted in the ground.

  3. Prune the herbs frequently. Pruning, or cutting off the leaves, allows herbs to continue to grow more abundantly. Cut the leaf off where it meets the stem and do not prune more than 1/3 of the plant.


  1. As you prune herbs, gather them in a Chinet Classic® Clear Cup.

  2. Before using or storing herbs, wash them under cool water. Place the herbs on a Chinet Classic® Platter to dry.

  3. Store the clean, dry herbs and seal in a bag. Basil can be stored in a plastic cup with 1 inch of water and left on the counter.