I’ve been growing a variety of herbs for years, determined to grow as many as I can from seed. But that sounds easier than it actually is. After years of learning what herbs germinate best, I’ve put together this quick list of the easiest herbs to grow from seed.
Cilantro is by far one of my favorite herbs to grow, and it’s so easy!
This delicious herb bolts (goes to seed) relatively fast, so it’s good to purchase a slow-bolt cilantro such as this one.
Cilantro is low-maintenance because it grows well where it is planted. However, they don’t do well transplanted.
So whether you decide to plant your cilantro indoors or outdoors, simply sow the seeds where you want them to grow.
Cilantro is unique because we use it’s seeds for flavoring as well. Right after it bolts, the seeds (known as coriander) show up as small green balls. However once a plant goes to seed, it typically uses it’s energy to focus on the seed, making the leaves less flavorful.
Due to it’s quick bolting, cilantro is one of the few herbs in which I will harvest almost the entire plant at one time. I harvest from cilantro throughout the season, but when it’s about to bolt I harvest all of the leaves except some of the areas bolting. I let those areas go to seed, and let the seeds fall. This way, the cilantro will regrow where the seeds fell (sometimes in the same season).
A farmer recommended that I plant my cilantro in very close cycles, to enjoy cilantro all season with no stress. In an outdoor garden, I plant a few cilantro plants in a row. Then two weeks later I’ll plant another row of cilantro next to and, an so on. This way when one row bolts, you have another row to harvest from.
One of the reasons why so many people grow basil is because it’s so easy. It grows pretty quickly, can be planted indoors or outdoors, and can recover well from planting mistakes.
After the last frost, sow the seeds of this beloved herb where you’d like it to live for the season. Basil does best in warmer temperatures and will need more water as it gets hotter.
When harvesting leaves, it’s also best to pick the largest leaves from the outer, bottom leaves of the plant. Although the smaller leaves tend to be more concentrated in flavor, picking the larger leaves first helps the plant put it’s energy into growing the smaller ones.
Like most herbs, basil bolts too, however usually at a much later date. Also, some people don’t mind basils bolting! I typically don’t enjoy when it bolts because the flavor changes to a more licorice-type flavor, but some people don’t mind this. You’ll notice basil bolting when it starts to develop a series of buds instead of leaves, which eventually grow really small white flowers. If you want to stop the basil from continuing to bolt, simply snip off these buds/flowers.
Where do I start with how much I love growing parsley? Don’t let it’s thin leaves fool you as parsley is a pretty hearty herb. It prefers warmer temperatures, but I’ve seen it hold it’s own when we got closer to the first frost! It’s also super reliable if you’re not around much to take care of it, and can grow pretty tall and wide.
Sow these parsley seeds directly to the soil. Parsley can grow in a plot or in a pot. But if you grow it in a pot make sure it has plenty of space for it’s roots as parsley can grow quite tall and wide. Wait a few weeks for parsley to grow. Although it’s reliable, parsley can take up to 3-4 weeks until any seedlings show, so be patient.
To me, parsley is a ‘no stress’ plant. At least in zone 6b, I’ve never had parsley bolt on me, but that may be different for people in warmer zones. I typically just let it grow and pick from the outer leaves when needed as it’s a pretty tolerant plant.
Again, where do I even start? If you have any outdoor space and want a peppery herb to add to your harvest, chose nasturtium.
Nasturtium seeds look kind of like white peas and are easy to plant anywhere. They grow fast and are such low maintenance that they’re great for beginners. Just plant the seeds and let them go wild!
I love nasturtium because they can act as a great ground cover or decorative vine. Some nasturtium grow in bunches, while others grow in vines. I let my nasturtium spread it’s vines between tall plants such as tomatoes, peppers, or eggplants, to prevent weeds from growing on the garden floor.
Since I started growing it a few years ago I’ve been absolutely amazed by chives. These perennial plants prefer cooler weather, making them perfect for my home in 6b.
But what has always surprised me is watching the snow melt to see these green, fallen patches in the distance appear.
Sow chive seeds directly to the soil in early spring after the first frost. Chives can be planted in plots or in pots. (I think I’m going to start using that rhyme from now on, haha).
Much like some of the other herbs mentioned, I love chives because I can just let ’em grow. Since they are perennials and can grow so much, I typically have to split them at the start of every year so they don’t take over the garden. But they’re resilient even to the sloppiest butcher.
Don’t even know how to cook with chives yet? Don’t worry about. These glorious goddesses are simply gorgeous, fragrant, and whether it’s a few weeks from now or years from now, they’ll be there when you’re ready for them.
Want to links to purchase these seeds?
I’ve tested all of these in past years: