You've been automatically redirected - this is the new home for our blog posts - please update your bookmarks to

Best expert advice on growing herbs

Herb Seed Collection from Suttons

The most diverse, useful and fragrant collection of plants, herbs have been cultivated for centuries, not only for their aromatic flavours, but also as traditional medicinal aids for our physical and mental wellbeing.

It’s easy to sow and grow herb seeds and there’s a wealth of expert advice available, should you require a few tips. Here’s a collection of our favourite herb growing videos, articles and Instagram posts to provide plenty of inspiration. Short of the time or space to sow seeds? Simply order a selection of herb plants to get you off to a running start. 

This article was reviewed by the Suttons horticultural team and updated on 10 April 2024.


Best advice on sowing herbs

Herb seed - Tarragon Russian from Suttons
Fresh tarragon can be grown on windowsills, warm patios and in window boxes
Image: Herb seed – Tarragon Russian from Suttons (©Floramedia)

In his comprehensive guide to herb growing, John at Allotment & Gardens offers detailed instructions on how to sow, and grow on virtually every popular herb variety, from basil through to thyme. He also includes tips on pests and diseases to watch out for, as well as advice on harvesting and storing your herbs.

For another source of inspiration, the horticultural team at Suttons has produced an excellent guide to growing all of your favourite herbs. From well-known oregano, lavender and sage to slightly more unusual choices like sorrel (which is best eaten fresh) and lemongrass (a tender perennial that can reach a height of 1.8m), this is a good place to start if you want to grow your own herbs from seed.

‘No dig’ gardener Charles Dowding advocates succession planting annual herbs to ensure a long harvesting season in this excellent herb growing video. He saturates the compost in his mini seed trays before sowing coriander and dill together – two herbs from different plant families that happen to share similar growing requirements. After a good initial soaking, the seeds won’t be disturbed by watering until they are germinated and developing well.

Over @mrsbeesgarden, Debbie also likes to ensure a good supply of herbs throughout the year by sowing regularly, as beautifully illustrated by her bucket full of thyme, rosemary, sage, bay, mint, parsley and chives. Another of her tips is to sow herb seeds in egg shells – her basil seedlings certainly look happy and cosy!

Urging us all to grow more herbs this year, Elaine at The 3 Growbags royally sings their praises, saying they look pretty, smell lovely, and make fabulous companion plants to keep pests off your other precious crops. At this time of year she says it’s fine to sow hardy annual or biennial herbs, like dill, coriander, chamomile and parsley, directly on the soil in your garden, repeating a couple of times at three-week intervals so you have a great harvest all summer.

Best advice on where to grow herbs

Herb seed - Thyme Orange Scented from Suttons
Perennial herbs like thyme look pretty, smell lovely and attract pollinators too
Image: Herb seed – Thyme Orange Scented from Suttons

A gardener who likes to grow fresh mint is Phoebe at @shegrowsawildgarden. Her plants were drying out too quickly in their terracotta pots, so she moved them to a metal bathtub with holes drilled in the bottom. She says, “mint loves to spread via root runners so I always keep mine in containers rather than in the ground so it doesn’t outcompete its other plant friends.

Meanwhile, over at @cornerplotblooms, Sue says she grows her mint in her cut flower garden. Why? She says “it’s a great alternative to shrubs if you want to add foliage plants to your cutting patch but [are] limited on space.” But Sue doesn’t plant it directly into the beds. She grows big pots of the pretty, scented foliage to place into gaps. See her Insta post for five fantastic reasons to grow mint and flowers together.

In her inspiring article on growing herbs, Ellen Mary confirms they’re an easy and versatile choice for the inexperienced gardener. Many varieties will thrive happily as indoor plants, and a sunny balcony can be the perfect location to grow a few pots. Take a look at her Insta post to see how gorgeous these ornamental edibles look when grouped together in a sheltered spot outdoors.

Catherine at Growing Family offers some great tips in her step-by-step guide to creating a herb garden on your windowsill. She says sowing and growing herbs indoors is a great gardening project for children because it’s simple to do and you can get really fast results.

Want to fill your home with unusual houseplants over the winter? Over at YouTube channel, Life on Pig Row, Andrew suggests bringing thyme, rosemary and mint inside to provide greenery and scent during the winter months. Ideal herbs for overwintering indoors, Andrew says you just need to give the pots a clean, remove weeds, cut out any dead material and you’ll have a charming foliage display to enjoy through the cooler months.

Best advice on planting and caring for herbs

Herb seed - Sweet Basil from Suttons
Basil can be sown directly outdoors from May, but needs plenty of water
Image: Herb seed – Sweet Basil from Suttons

Herbs are a diverse group of plants, and they need a variety of growing conditions to thrive, points out Carol at The Sunday Gardener in her very thorough herb-growing guide. For example, perennial Mediterranean type herbs like sage, thyme and rosemary love hot, dry conditions, but parsley, basil and chives prefer a cooler spot and need to be well watered. Read her article for specific care tips.

Best herb varieties to try

Herb plant - Oregano Hot & Spicy (NEW) from Suttons
Try new varieties, like this spicy oregano, to give a warm kick to Greek and Italian dishes
Image: Herb plant – Oregano Hot & Spicy (NEW) from Suttons

Liz at Byther Farm is a great fan of perennial herbs, describing them as workhorses of the kitchen garden. She describes each variety beautifully, detailing their qualities one by one. Her pick of the perennial evergreens features bay, oregano, lavender, rosemary, sage, thyme and winter savory.

Bees and other pollinators find many herbs irresistible – another reason why they’re an important choice for every garden. Kirsty from @my_little_allotment captured some delightful footage of bees busily buzzing around her fragrant lavender, but just look at her incredibly beautiful rosemary in flower too. If you’re looking for herbs for a wildlife-friendly garden, Kirsty’s Insta grid is a good source of inspiration.

Over on Scotland Grows magazine, editor MT selects her top ‘Plant to Plate’ herb picks – she recommends mint (which can even survive in deep shade) easy-to-grow parsley (great for containers) and beautiful chives (which are pretty enough to be grown for their flowers alone). Read her articles for more advice on how to grow, harvest and use each of them in recipes.

Some gardeners are dazzled by one herb in particular, as Becky @sow_much_more demonstrates in her lyrical love letter to borage, even though she says this pretty, colourful plant with its edible leaves, flowers and stems can be a bit of a bully in the border.

Camilla at @camillascountryliving says fresh herbs are a must. Having sowed thyme, sage, oregano, coriander, and basil so far, she reckons it’s “such a luxury to gorge on fresh herbs through summer.” See her beautiful Insta images if you need any more convincing!

Over at Cloudberry Flowers, a flower garden and farm, Catherine grows herbs to add to flower arrangements and buttonholes because of the wonderful scent and textures they bring. Lemon balm and mint, for example, make fragrant table arrangements. Marjoram is another of Catherine’s picks for bridal work, while edible electric blue borage flowers are wonderful for decorating wedding cakes. For more ideas on using herbs in your flower arrangements, make sure you check out Catherine’s YouTube channel.

Since time immemorial, herbs have been prized the world over, not simply for their beauty, but also for their extraordinary culinary and healing properties. Armed with all this excellent expert advice, you can pick your personal favourites and create your own flourishing herb collection, even in the smallest of growing spaces.

Lead image: Herb Seed Collection from Suttons

See expert contributors here

  • John Harrison, Allotment blogger, winner of Grow Your Own’s ‘Great British Growing Awards’ 2015, author and garden writer.
  • Suttons Horticultural Team
  • Charles Dowding, No-dig gardening pioneer, horticulturalist, author.
  • Debbie Beech, Gardening content creator.
  • The 3 Grow Bags, Gardening bloggers, YouTubers and authors.
  • Phoebe, South London wildlife gardener, content creator.
  • Sue, Gardening content creator, raised bed flower gardener.
  • Ellen Mary, Horticulturalist, gardener, broadcaster, podcast host, content creator. Author of ‘The Joy of Gardening’ and ‘How to Grow a Garden’.
  • Catherine Hughes, Freelance journalist and writer, author.
  • Andrew Oldham, gardening blogger, columnist winner of GMG’s Gardening Columnist of the Year 2022.
  • Carol Bartlett, Gardening blogger and content creator.
  • Liz Zorab, Award-winning blogger, YouTuber, gardener and author. Winner of GMG’s Vlog of the Year 2022.
  • Kirsty Ward, Allotment owner, Gardening YouTube and content creator.
  • M. T. O’Donnell, Editor of Scotland Grows Magazine, freelance garden writer, RCHS Trustee, horti event consultant.
  • Becky Searle, Ecologist, gardener and freelance garden writer.
  • Camilla Fredriksen, Gardening blogger, influencer.
  • Catherine, Flower grower and botanical jeweller maker, gardening content creator, owner of Cloudberry Flowers and Jewellery.

Share this post


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *