Are you interested in starting a low-maintenance herb garden with plants that will get along well? This article goes over the best herbs that are easy to grow and compatible with herbs with similar growing patterns. The uses and benefits of herbs are extensive, from culinary to medicinal. Give these herb companions a try this season!
In This Article
Best Plants for a Low-Maintenance Herb Garden
Many herbs share similar growing conditions, making them excellent plants to grow in a low-maintenance herb garden. Some of the best herbs that can tolerate drought and enjoy soil that is on the drier side are rosemary, thyme, oregano, marjoram, and sage. While some others enjoy more moist soil, such as cilantro, tarragon, dill, chives, and parsley. Planting these types of herbs together can make for a wonderful and easy-to-care-for garden.
Drought Tolerant Low Maintenance Herb Garden
Rosemary boasts a delightful aroma and strong taste that grows with little attention paid to it. It is a low-maintenance plant that is moderately drought-tolerant. However, plants that are in containers typically need to be watered more often than those planted in the ground. Rosemary will be able to handle both hot temperatures, as well as chilly ones with ease. It will be able to survive in temperatures as low as 15°F, although it grows best between 60-85°F. This makes growing rosemary excellent for a low-maintenance garden!
This herb loves sunlight and requires full sun, optimally with at least 6 to 8 hours per day. Rosemary thrives in well-draining soil that won’t leave its roots wet. So, be sure to not overwater this plant. On top of all that, rosemary can be started from seeds or even cuttings! Though, it’s important to note that rosemary seeds may be slow to germinate.
Tip: Begin your rosemary plants indoors for 8-10 weeks before planning to move them outside to get a jump start on the growing season.
Thyme is a resilient herb that you may know for being used in a great many recipes. This herb is very hardy and grows well in a variety of conditions. This plant is a short herb that grows as a perennial, so you can expect thyme to come back the next season. Thyme flourishes in full sun, with at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight every day. As long as this herb gets sun, well-draining soil, and some water you can expect it to be happy. Thyme is pretty drought-tolerant and naturally deters many pests, making your herb garden an even easier experience.
Sage is a low-maintenance herb that can handle dry conditions, as it is a drought-tolerant plant. Lucky for you, this plant is another perennial, so it will come back by itself for multiple years to provide you with tons of fresh herbs. Sage prefers full sunlight, well-draining and nutrient-rich soil. This plant can be grown from seed or a cutting, however, cuttings are most optimal because seeds can take a long time to produce a plant that will have harvestable foliage.
Oregano is a hardy perennial herb that thrives on full sunlight of at least 6 to 8 hours a day, as well as well-draining soil. It can be grown from seed or cutting. This herb is very easy to grow and is known for its inclusion in numerous recipes, especially Mediterranean dishes or sauces. Oregano isn’t picky and can even handle growing in poor soil, so this is an excellent herb to put into your low-maintenance herb garden.
Another lesser-known, but delicious, herb is Marjoram. This herb is similar to oregano and often is used in the same recipes as a substitute. You can grow Marjoram from seeds or from cuttings. Marjoram is great for growing in the ground or even in containers. Similar to the others in this category, the plant loves full sunlight, and well-draining and nutrient-rich soil. If you provide this herb with these things, it will be easy for you to grow.
Moist Soil Low Maintenance Herb Garden
Parsley has earned a reputation for being a hassle-free herb that grows well alongside others. It’s a biennial herb that will grow leaves and stems in the first year and will flower and release seeds in the second year. Many people disregard the flowering and seeding phase of the plant and choose to cut it down at the end of the year.
Parsley loves having plenty of sunlight and water, which will ensure its flourishing growth. The plant prefers full sunlight of 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day. Parsley aligns with the other herbs in this section because it needs the same basic care. This plant grows best in well-draining and nutrient-rich soil. It’s important to note that parsley is known to germinate slowly. So, you should start the seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks prior to the last frost date in your area to give them a head start.
Tip: Freeze extra clipped parsley instead of drying for extra flavor retention.
Tarragon is another easy-to-grow herb that you may not have heard of before. This plant is a perennial that can give you harvestable herbs for multiple years. It prefers a well-lit location where it can get plenty of sun, tolerating either full sun or partial shade. The plant requires well-draining soil to thrive that has nutrients from organic matter mixed in. This is a pretty tolerant plant that can handle many different types of soil conditions, so this makes a great addition to your low-maintenance herb garden! Tarragon has a delicate sweetness and a slight licorice flavor. Don’t worry, many people who hate licorice enjoy this herb. This herb pairs well with many chicken dishes and a wide range of sauces.
Dill is a unique-looking herb that is well known for being used in recipes, such as fish-based dishes, egg and potato salads, and soups. This herb is an easy-to-grow annual plant that will actually reseed itself by dropping seeds on the ground at the end of the season, causing it to come back in future seasons. Dill, like many other herbs, grows best in full sunlight of at least 6 to 8 hours of light a day. Similarly, this herb also enjoys a well-draining soil that contains plenty of nutrients. Most herbs, as well as dill, do not require much fertilization as long as the soil has organic matter and nutrients within it.
Tip: Dill is known to get blown over when there are high winds, so be sure to provide support for a plant, plant it alongside another tall plant, or plant it near a structure that can block the wind.
Cilantro is an extremely well-known herb that is harvested for its great-tasting leaves or seeds. The seeds are known by the name of coriander. This herb, like the rest, enjoys full sunlight and well-draining soil, so it will get along with the others in this section. This is an annual herb that is known to be fast-growing and can be planted after the risk of frost has passed directly into the garden. Cilantro is a widely used herb in recipes across the globe. You may find cilantro as an ingredient within recipes such as salsas, soups, Asian cuisine, Mexican cuisine, or even within seafood recipes.
Chives are an extremely popular perennial herb that tastes delicious in a large number of recipes. They are part of the allium family, along with onions and garlic, but with a milder flavor and aroma. Like other allium members, this herb is excellent for companion planting due to the pest repellent ability that it has. This will be a welcome addition to your low-maintenance herb garden, along with some of the other pest-controlling herbs.
Chives are hardy plants that are tolerant to drought. They only grow about 12 inches tall, so they do not take up much space. They will grow in small clusters from bulbs beneath the soil. This beloved herb requires full sun of 6 to 8 hours a day, as well as well-draining soil. However, chives are known to be able to deal with many types of soil. Optimally, you should add organic matter into the soil to make it more nutrient-rich for better growth. This herb will grow great in the ground or even in a container!
Tip: This herb will produce beautiful purple flowers that can attract pollinators!
Low Maintenance Herbs to Plant Separately
Mint is an herb that is known for growing extremely quickly and vigorously. This can cause it to spread and compete with other plants for space and resources. It’s best to grow your mint away from other herbs or in its own container.
Catnip is another herb that is known to spread easily in a garden. For this reason, it can compete with other herbs for space and nutrients. It is best if planted further away from others or in its own container.
Cultural Tips for Growing Rosemary. University of California IPM
Growing parsley in home gardens. University of Minnesota Extension
Thyme. Illinois Extension