19 Fragrant Herbs to Cultivate This Year

Kasey Spencer

As an avid gardener with over a decade of hands-on experience, I’ve come to appreciate the simple joys and profound benefits of cultivating herbs. Not just any herbs, but those that fill the air with their captivating fragrances. In this post, I’m excited to share with you 19 fragrant herbs that can transform your garden and your kitchen this year.

Beyond culinary and aromatic allure, many of these herbs offer medicinal benefits, enriching your home with natural remedies. From the soothing lavender to the robust scent of rosemary, these plants are not just about aroma; they’re about adding life and flavor to your daily routine.

Herbs have a unique way of making any garden space more inviting. Their scents can deter pests, attract beneficial pollinators, and provide an aromatic backdrop for your outdoor activities. In the kitchen, they’re indispensable, turning ordinary meals into gourmet experiences with just a sprinkle.

Fragrant Herbs to Cultivate This Year

Growing fragrant herbs is more than a hobby; it’s a journey to enhancing your living space, both indoors and out. Whether you have a sprawling garden or a modest balcony space, there’s a herb for every setting. Let’s explore these 19 enchanting herbs together.

1. Lavender

Lavender flowers.
Image: Envato Elements

Lavender is celebrated for its soothing fragrance and vibrant blooms. With varieties like English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and French Lavender (Lavandula stoechas), there’s a type for almost every climate. For best results, plant lavender in well-draining soil under full sun.

Pruning in early spring encourages bushy growth and more blooms. Beyond its beauty in the garden, lavender is versatile, used in sachets, essential oils, and culinary delights.

2. Rosemary

Rosemary
Image: Envato Elements

A true powerhouse, Rosemary thrives with minimal care, requiring just enough sunlight and well-draining soil. Its needle-like leaves are rich in flavor, and ideal for culinary uses, from roasting meats to flavoring oils. Regular pruning not only keeps the plant healthy but also encourages growth, making rosemary a great choice for both garden beds and as a potted plant.

3. Basil

basil
Image: Envato Elements

With a range of varieties, from Sweet Basil to Thai Basil, each brings its unique scent to the garden and kitchen. Basil prefers warm temperatures and moist, well-draining soil. Harvesting the tips encourages bushier plants and extends the harvest period. Use basil in everything from fresh pesto to aromatic teas.

4. Mint

Mint
Image: Envato Elements

The invigorating scent of mint makes it a must-have in any herb garden. Given its tendency to spread, growing mint in containers is wise to keep it under control. It prefers moist soil and partial shade to full sun. Mint is perfect for teas, garnishes, and adding a fresh twist to summer drinks.

5. Thyme

Thyme
Image: Envato Elements

Thyme is a resilient, drought-tolerant herb that adds a complex aroma to dishes. Plant in well-drained soil with plenty of sunlight. Thyme works well in rock gardens, as ground cover, or in containers. Its leaves can be used fresh or dried in a myriad of culinary recipes.

6. Sage

sage herb

With its earthy fragrance, Sage is as ornamental as it is culinary. It prefers sandy, well-draining soil and full sun. Sage’s velvety leaves are a staple in stuffings, meats, and teas. Beyond the kitchen, sage can be dried and used in bundles for its cleansing smoke.

7. Lemongrass

Lemongrass

Lemongrass, with its citrus scent, is a tropical herb that doubles as a natural mosquito repellent. It thrives in pots, which allows for easy overwintering indoors in cooler climates. Lemongrass needs full sun and well-drained soil. Its stalks are widely used in Asian cuisines and teas.

8. Chamomile

Chamomile
Image: Envato Elements

Chamomile is cherished for its calming aroma. It grows best in cool conditions with full sun and well-drained soil. Its daisy-like flowers are used in teas, offering relaxation benefits. Chamomile is also a great companion plant, improving the health of nearby plants.

9. Cilantro (Coriander)

Cilantro
Image: Envato Elements

Cilantro offers a burst of fresh flavor, while its seeds (coriander) are used in spice blends. It prefers cooler temperatures and moist, well-drained soil. To enjoy a continuous harvest, sow seeds every few weeks. Cilantro is perfect for salsas, curries, and garnishing dishes.

10. Dill

Cilantro (Coriander)

Dill’s delicate fronds and seeds add flavor to pickles, fish, and salads. It grows best in full sun with rich, well-draining soil. Dill can attract beneficial insects to the garden. Companion planting with cucumbers or onions can enhance growth and flavor.

11. Oregano

Oregano

A staple in Italian and Greek cuisine, Oregano thrives in full sun and well-drained soil. It’s drought-tolerant once established. Pruning promotes fuller plants. Oregano’s robust flavor enriches sauces, meats, and bread.

12. Chives

Chives
Image: Envato Elements

Chives add a mild onion flavor to dishes, with their purple flowers offering ornamental value. They prefer full sun and moist, well-drained soil. Chives can be cut back to ground level to encourage new growth. They’re perfect in salads, soups, and garnishes.

13. Parsley

Fresh parsley
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Parsley is a biennial, offering fresh flavor in its leaves and a root variety used in stews. It prefers sun to partial shade and moist, well-drained soil. Parsley is rich in vitamins and perfect for freshening breath, garnishing, and adding to dishes.

14. Tarragon

Tarragon

Known for its sweet and spicy aroma, Tarragon is a perennial herb that prefers well-drained soil and full sun. It’s essential in French cuisine, adding depth to sauces, chicken, and fish dishes. Tarragon also makes a refreshing tea.

15. Fennel

Fennel

Fennel’s anise scent is unmistakable, and its bulbs, fronds, and seeds are all edible. It prefers full sun and fertile, well-drained soil. Fennel can be used fresh in salads, roasted, or as a spice.

16. Peppermint

fresh mint Peppermint herb in a pot
Image: Envato Elements

With its potent aroma, Peppermint is best contained in pots to prevent it from overtaking the garden. It prefers moist, shaded areas. Peppermint leaves are perfect for teas, desserts, and soothing digestive issues.

17. Lemon Balm

lemon balm
Image: Envato Elements

Lemon Balm, a member of the mint family, offers a calming, citrus-scented leaf ideal for teas and culinary use. It thrives in full sun to shade and moist, well-drained soil. Regular harvesting prevents it from becoming too invasive.

18. Marjoram

Marjoram

Marjoram’s sweet, citrusy aroma makes it a versatile herb in the kitchen. It prefers well-drained soil and full sun. Use marjoram in soups, stews, dressings, and meat dishes for a hint of warmth and sweetness.

19. Bay Laurel

Bay Laurel

Bay Laurel produces the bay leaves used in soups, stews, and braises. It can be grown in pots or on the ground, preferring well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. Bay Laurel is slow-growing but provides a fresh supply of leaves year-round.

With these herbs in your garden, you’ll enjoy an array of fragrances and flavors that enhance your cooking and your outdoor space. Happy planting!

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