Common Herbs and Their Uses

When starting an herb garden, it can be surprising just how many herbs and herb varieties there are. That’s why we put together this list of popular herbs and their uses, to help you pick out the perfect herbs for your garden!

Basil – An annual herb with multiple varieties such as Sweet Genovese, Greek Columnar and Thai. Flavors range from sweet to spicy. Commonly used in pasta, salads, butters, vinegars, pesto and vinaigrettes.

Chives – This perennial herb comes in both an “onion” and a “garlic” variety. Great in salads, eggs, cheeses, compound butters and, of course, topping a baked potato.

Cilantro – A short lived annual herb most often used in Asian and Mexican dishes. Great in salsas and salad dressings and can be used in place of parsley in many recipes.

Dill – Another short lived annual herb, dill packs an amazing punch of flavor! Fabulous with fish, in butters, salads (including potato salad), sauces and pickling. Dill is also a favorite host plant for Swallow Tail Butterflies.

Fennel – Perennial herb with a mild licorice flavor, perfect for soups and salads.

French Tarragon – Perennial herb that works well with meats like chicken and veal, vegetables and eggs.

Lavender – Wonderfully aromatic and perennial, Lavender can be used as a culinary herb or an ornamental in the garden. Lavender is evergreen in most climates and can be used to make teas, cookies, cakes and as potpourri. Also repels mosquitos.

Mint – A perennial herb that comes in many varieties such as Apple, Chocolate, Peppermint, Pineapple and Spearmint. Great for seasoning meats and in teas. Mint should not be planted in the landscape or in containers with other herbs are they are quick to take over a growing space and choke out other plants. For best results, plant in containers and baskets alone or with other varieties of mint.

Parsley – Parsley is a biennial which means that it’s growing cycle is 2 years. The first year gives us those tasty leaves for sauces, salads, pastas, breads, soups and stews. The second year, parsley will produce flowers and then set seed, which can be collect and sown to grow new plants. Parsley is jam packed with vitamins A, C and K, and is considered to be one of the healthiest herbs. Another host plant for Swallow Tail Butterflies.

Oregano – A perennial herb available in several varieties like Italian, Greek and Spicy. Wonderful in Italian and Mediterranean cooking.

Rosemary – An evergreen herb available in many varieties like Arp, Barbeque, Irene and Huntington Carpet. Rosemary is perfect for cooking meats and vegetables, making pesto, teas and baked goods. All rosemary plants can be used in the landscape and trailing varieties (which can still be used in cooking) look spectacular cascading down a rock wall or creeping through a dry creek bed.

Sage – An evergreen perennial herbs that comes in several varieties such as Berrgarten, Purple, Golden and Tricolor. Sage works well with poultry, pork, cheeses, in teas and baked goods like cookies and bread. Pineapple sage is a fun variety that can be used in teas and cocktails and has beautiful red flowers to add a pop of color to your fall garden.

Thyme ­– Another evergreen perennial. English and French thyme are the most commonly used in cooking, both in sweet and savory recipes. Wonderful when used with meats, eggs, cheeses, tomatoes and beans.  Thyme can also be used as a groundcover, in between path stones or tucked into crevasses in rock walls. Some excellent landscape varieties include Wooly, Red, Spicy Orange and Golden Thyme.