How to Plant Herbs: Sun & Shade Requirements

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Herbs are generally easy to grow, though growing conditions vary for individual plants. All herbs thrive in well-drained soil. Most prefer full sun ,while some do well in partial sun. Few herbs thrive in shady conditions. Herbs also tend to do better in outdoor gardens rather than in pots indoors. Herbs can be either perennials, annuals or biennials, a factor to consider when choosing herbs for your garden.

Getting Started

Choose the herbs you want to grow. Generally, gardeners match their choices with their needs depending on whether they are using the herbs for cooking, teas, tinctures or home remedies.

Group your herbs by their sun, soil, and watering needs. Most herbs like full sun (at least six to eight hours). Herbs that prefer full sun include: basil, chamomile, echinacea, lavender, oregano, parsley, rosemary and sage. Herbs that do well in partial sun include: chive, comfrey, lemon balm and mints. These herbs require less water than those that prefer full sun. A more comprehensive list can be found at http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/hil-8110.html.

Plant your herbs according to their grouping in soil that is well drained. Herbs do not thrive in wet conditions. If you cannot improve the drainage of your soil, consider a raised garden bed. Mix in peat or compost into the soil before planting. Fertilizer is generally not recommended, as it produces plants with excessive foliate and decreased potency.

Tips & Warnings

  • If growing any kind of mint, be aware it can quickly overtake a garden with its fast-growing roots. If you want to control the growth of mint, plant it within its pot, cutting away the bottom of the plastic container.

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