Herb Varieties to Grow and Love

Posted by Jessie Jacobson on Mar 15th 2023

Herb Varieties to Grow and Love

Growing herbs is the gateway to edible gardening. Herbs offer great rewards with little effort. Just offer a lot of sun, good, organic soil, plenty of water and you are on your way to an herby adventure.

Check out the varieties we are growing in the greenhouse this season!


African Blue

Purple-veined leaves produce a strong, earthy flavor, and a sweet camphor scent. Flowers are a pollinator favorite and very decorative. Does not need pinching to continuously grow. Sterile flowers do not produce seed.

African Nunum

Gigantic leaves, popular in Asian and African cuisines. Rich basil flavor with a touch of oregano. Also used for its antibacterial properties. Thrives in heat.

Crimson King

A Genovese type basil with large leaves; dark-purple to black in color. Adds a bold splash of color to the garden. Some notice a distinct anise type flavor that is slightly spicy.


Your go to basil for summer! Its leaf shape and open habit make this variety more resistant to downy mildew. Leaves slightly serrated and narrower than traditional Genovese types. Pinch and use often to encourage vegetative growth.

Holy Basil

Known as Ayurveda or Tulsi. Narrow leaves and purple stems are distinguished by a clove-like aroma and frost-tolerance. A bee magnet if allowed to flower and will reseed.


Long, lime-green elliptical leaves with a strong, lemony scent and flavor. White flowers if allowed to bloom. Pinch to keep compact and producing succulent leaves. An excellent source of beta-carotene and vitamin K. Sweet lemon fragrance will fade if chilled. Add to dishes at the end of cooking.

Lettuce Leaf

Basil lovers, this one’s for you! An extremely productive sweet basil boasting giant leaves. More sweet than spicy. Highly aromatic. Pinch to keep compact and producing succulent leaves. Slow to bolt.

Pesto Perpetuo

Leaves in perpetuity meaning you never have to beat flowers to harvest! This green and white variegated variety can be harvested all summer long. Traditional basil flavor with a hint of lemon. Pinch to encourage bushiness.

Spicy Globe

Mounded habit and dainty leaves packed with flavor. Begin light harvest once plant becomes established. A full harvest should be completed just before flowering. Leaves are easily bruised when picking.


This variety holds its flavor and texture better than other basils. Dark purple flowers and intoxicating scent make this a beautiful addition for any garden. Great for containers too! Pinch to keep compact. Harvest up to 1/3 of the plant at a time before flowering.


Three basil varieties in one pot! Sweet basil, amethyst, and lettuce leaf all combined in case you can't choose just one. A lovely mix of flavors for all your basil needs.


Leaves are best used when harvested young. Borage is a great companion plant for tomatoes. Edible, blue flowers have a cucumber-like flavor that is fresh and full. Attractive to pollinators, but not to deer! Use for salads, garnish, dips, candied, or summer drinks. Drought tolerant.


Highly serrated leaves with unique clean, cucumber like flavor. Individual leaves may be harvested once plants have become established. Leaves are most tender before and after flowering. An easy to grow green that is increasingly harder to find. Hardy to Zone 4.



Orange and yellow blossoms provide color for most of summer and into fall. Flowers are edible, with a zesty punch, and are deer and rabbit resistant. Add to salads or other fresh dishes for an added touch of flavor and presentation.

Strawberry Blonde

Warm and colorful antique-looking pink and yellow petals with dark red flashy undersides. Long-lasting cut or dried flowers, and edible flowers to dress up summer salads. Bushy plants flower into the fall


Extremely easy to grow but can be aggressive and spread rapidly. Cut off flower buds before blooming to prevent seed production. Great for hot, sunny, dry areas where it’s hard to get anything else to grow. Mint odor when crushed. Hardy to Zone 3.


Lacy, fern-like leaves and cute, little daisy-like yellow and white flowers make an excellent, calming tea. The flavonoids found in chamomile are known to reduce stress, aid in sleep, lower blood sugar, reduce inflammation, and more.



This variety boasts the thickest leaves which are best for freezing, drying, and fresh use. Flavor is mild with a hint of sweet onion. To dry: cut bundles into 1/4- 1/2" lengths. Spread one layer on a screen, allowing for air circulation and avoiding direct sunlight. An aggressive grower, hardy to Zone 4.



This slow-to-bolt variety is fast growing, perfect for several successive harvests to be enjoyed longer into summer than other cilantro varieties. Let it go to seed and harvest as coriander.


Not just for pickles! Tangy and fresh; dill has a unique and versatile flavor. Seeds that aren’t harvested will happily drop and re-seed. The foliage is the larval host of the swallow tail butterfly. Flowers attract pollinators and beneficial insects.


An early maturing dill variety that produces tall stems loaded with large, chartreuse umbels. Use leaves fresh or dried. A wonderful addition to fresh-cut bouquets. Perfect for pickling. The foliage is known as dill weed. Flowers are edible and can be used to garnish potato salad, green salads, and pickles. When broken into florets, they can be mixed into cheese spreads or omelets. Harvest seeds when they begin to turn brown. Allow to fully dry before use and storage.


Dark blue-green foliage shorter stature than traditional dill growing about 24 inches tall.


This leafy herb looks just like cilantro but is best added near or at the end of cooking as it does not stand up to heat well. Pungent and perhaps an acquired taste, add to bean dishes as a digestive aid. Do not ingest seeds, oil, flowers, or flowering tips. Pregnant women should not consume epazote.


Bronze Leaf

Leaves and seeds have a licorice-like flavor. Also, a larval host plant for some types of Swallowtail butterflies (don’t worry, they won’t eat too much). Bronze foliage makes a stunning accent. Plant in the back of the garden as it can get tall.

Gotu Kola

A member of the parsley family and commonly known as the herb of longevity, gotu kola or Indian pennywort is often used for its medicinal properties. Some claim it improves cognitive function. Trailing habit is good for gardens, raised beds, or containers. Use in tea, salad, or medicinally.


Known for its calming properties. Used in both aromatherapy and culinary endeavors. Perfumes, sachets, oils.


A large-flowered lavender variety with a strong fragrance that reflects notes of pine. Also known as fringed lavender because of its deeply serrated foliage. Not generally used in cooking, but the flower buds can be used in baking, desserts, with fresh fruit, or to make lavender tea. Use the fresh-cut stems to make lavender wands and braided bouquets.

Goodwin Creek

A lavender hybrid that was discovered at the Goodwin Creek Gardens in Williams, Oregon. Superior silver-grey foliage and bright, violet-blue flowers form a dense mound. Heat tolerant.


A compact, extremely fragrant lavender with rosy, purple flowers and grey foliage. Hardy to Zone 5. Also known as English lavender. Dried springs will deter insects when hung in a room or closet. Gorgeous in borders and container gardens. This lavender is most associated with a traditional lavender scent. Also the most common lavender variety used for culinary purposes such as flavored oil, butter, and sugar.


Different from other lavenders because it produces rich, dark-purple, pine-cone shaped flowers. Strong stems with light grey foliage.

Lemon Balm

Delicious citrus scent and flavor. Goes well with all the same foods lemon does. A member of the mint family, a perennial herb that loves to spread. Hardy to Zone 3. Emotional and spiritual benefits, used in many body care products.

Lemon Grass

Fresh, citrus scent and flavor with sweet but pungent tones. Harvest stalks from outside of main clump after established. Peel grassy part away, mince and use tender core. Often found as a fragrance in body care products. Used to make vitamin A.

Lemon Verbena

Lemon verbena is a versatile herb with many uses in both food and medicine. Offers a sweet and refreshing, lemon flavor and fragrance. Can also be used for digestive disorders, agitation, joint pain, insomnia and much more.


Much easier to grow than celery and about twice as intense tasting with undertones of parsley and anise. Entire plant is edible. High in vitamin C. A wonderful companion plant for tomatoes. Hardy to Zone 4.


Mellow, sweet, and easy to grow, marjoram can be added to anything. A similar flavor to oregano, but sweeter and more balsam-like. However, some may think it tastes like soap! This plant makes an excellent low-growing, annual ground cover.


Cool and refreshing, this easy to grow plant has an abundance of uses. Some varieties are aggressive perennials in Zone 4.

Berries and Cream

The mint has small, dark-green, blunt, ovate-shaped leaves that grow to about 2 to 3 centimeters in length, and it produces tightly clustered spikes of mauve flowers in late summer. The leaves offer a mild, fruity menthol aroma and a minty, sweet yet subtle berry-like flavor.


A cultivar of peppermint that adds extra layers of flavor to drinks like tea, mojitos, sweet deserts, and even salads and savory dishes. Brown stems and shiny succulent leaves.


An interesting culinary variety has an unusual fruity ginger scent and flavor. Good tea mint. Attractive compact variety good in containers and hanging baskets. Small green leaves become variegated with yellow with the change of seasons. Not hardy in Zone 4.

Kentucky Colonel

The best mint for mojitos and mint juleps! Large, leaves, refreshing spearmint flavor. Excellent for tea, jams, jellies, and lamb dishes. Delicious in a watermelon salad topped with feta cheese. Aggressive growth. Hardy to Zone 5.


Lemon mint has a refreshing minty-lemony flavor. Use in place of other mints as a garnish or seasoning especially when you need to add a hint of citrus. Use in curry, Greek dishes, lamb roasts, or as flavoring in james, jellies, or canned fruit recipes.


Orange mint is a hybrid variety of mint grown for its fragrant leaves. Similar to other varieties of mint, Orange mint is a natural attractant of pollinating insects such as bees and butterflies. An oil extracted from Orange mint is commonly utilized for its aromatic properties and adding scent to perfumes and soaps.


A hybrid mint that is a cross between peppermint and water mint. Commonly used to treat ailments such as digestive issues, the common cold, sinus infections, and headaches, muscle aches, and joint pain. The strongest mint flavor of the bunch. Attracts pollinators. An aggressive grower. Can deter deer. Hardy to Zone 3.


The sweetest of all the mints, true spearmint produces scented bright green, serrated leaves all season. Freshly harvested spearmint has a delicious aromatic perfume that accents, but doesn't overpower, many kinds of salads and cooked dishes. Enjoy the leaves whole, chopped, dried, frozen, preserved in salt, sugar, alcohol, or sweet oil. Fresh spearmint tea is a delight and making your own Mint Juleps is a gardener’s treat! Grow only in containers, because mint spreads very quickly in the ground.

Variegated Peppermint

Highly ornamental with the same amazing peppermint flavor and pungency. Low growing. Great choice for containers or garden borders.

Variegated Pineapple

Variegated Pineapple Mint is an annual in our area that is typically grown for its edible qualities, and beautiful white and green variegation. Fragrant, pointy green leaves have minty, yet fruity flavor and can be harvested from late spring to early fall.


A little spicy, a little bitter. Grows quickly and easily and is great as a groundcover or garden border. Greek oregano tends to be the most savory and earthy. Golden Oregano is slower growing, but highly ornamental. Italian oregano is the heart of pasta sauce. Harvest the leaves any time once plant is established. Avoid eating woody stems. Hardy to Zone 4.



With a slightly stronger taste than flat leaf parsley, this is the quintessential garnish; yet parsley has so much more to offer. Mild and fresh, goes with everything, or just eat a sprig after a meal to cleanse the palate and freshen breath. High in iron, A, C, and E vitamins. Frost tolerant.

Italian/Flat Leaf

Also known as flat leaf parsley, this is the quintessential garnish; yet parsley has so much more to offer. Mild and fresh, goes with everything, or just eat a sprig after a meal to cleanse the palate. High in iron, A, C, and E vitamins. Frost tolerant.



A bushy growing cultivar with upright, stiff stems and light-blue flowers. Aromatic, piney, and resinous, a bold addition and stands up to strong flavors, yet pairs well with milder ones. Frost tolerant.


Strong straight stems make perfect barbeque skewers. Remarkable flavor and aroma.


A vigorously growing, creeping cultivar with trailing stems and light-purple flowers. Delicate flowers are as tasty as the leaves. Pungent flavor with notes of pine, lemon, pepper, and evergreen. Frost tolerant.


An important herb for Thanksgiving, but its use goes far beyond one holiday. Be sure not to over-fertilize as this will reduce the flavor.


Common garden sage, silvery foliage. More compact than other species, large oval leaves are unlike that of typical garden sage. The foliage takes on a purplish cast in full sun. Attractive and useful in herb gardens, mixed borders, and containers. Hardy to Zone 5.


Primarily ornamental, also edible. Green leaves are decorated with an almost lime green patch in the center, which is irregular and varied on each leaf. The overall effect is striking, especially when combined with other herbs.


Pineapple smell when crushed, attracts hummingbirds. Amazing aroma when added to cut flower arrangements. Red, tubular flowers bloom under short day conditions. Dry leaves to make tea, which is said to calm your nerves, and like many of its mint cousins it aids in digestion and is good for settling an upset stomach.


Highly pungent and aromatic, ornamental purple leaves. Purple Sage is the most effective medicinal variety of Sage. It can be made into teas to aide in digestion, used as an anti-inflammatory agent for insect bites and can relive chest colds and congestion. Purple sage can be used for smudging as it has purifying properties that clears out negative energy. Combine with lavender to create harmony and positivity.


Colorful grayish-green leaves are marbled with white, pink, and purple. Lavender blue flower spikes appear in late summer. Strongly aromatic foliage may be used fresh or dried in cooking. Attractive to bees and butterflies. Ornamental use in garden borders, containers, and window boxes.


Smooth, white leaves. Medicinal use, the one used for smudging. edible fresh or dried. Used to cleanse spaces and prepare for fresh intent where subtle, old energies linger. Also used to cleanse the aura of a person from stuck old energies to prepare for ceremony or spiritual work.



Sometimes used as a substitute, or in conjunction with rosemary, thyme, or sage. With a peppery flavoring, it's less bitter than its winter savory relative. Harvest throughout the summer. Leaves are at their most flavorsome prior to the plant flowering. Upon flowering, much of the aroma and flavor will be lost. Ideally stems should be around 6 to 8 inches before harvesting. Use fresh or dried.


With a robust, peppery flavor, leaves can be used fresh or dried to season wild game, fish, meat, and poultry. A delicious addition to cheese boards and cheese bread. Use in savory baked goods as well. Also known as the herb of love. Ancient Romans believed this herb to be a natural aphrodisiac. A key ingredient in love potions (wink!).


Eye-catching, serrated green leaves with red undersides. Highly ornamental. Also known as perilla. Edible flowers. minty, basil-like flavor has hints of clove and cumin. Deer Resistant.


An edible green in the buckwheat and rhubarb family. In French, sorrel means sour. Leaves have an intense lemony tang. Pairs nicely with dairy - sour cream, or yogurt. Sorrel can also be used for treating inflammation, certain bacterial infections, and as a diuretic.


Also known as candy plant. Sweeter than sugar, zero calories, and no impact on blood sugar. Harvest before flowers appear. Dried leaves will keep for several years. Use the leaves whole, chopped fresh, or dried and ground into powder.



Finely textured foliage is pretty when planted among perennials and annuals. Cut back mid-summer to encourage new, tasty growth. Has a pungent, licorice-like taste due to the presence of estragole, an organic compound that gives fennel and anise their distinct flavors too.


Harvest leaves any time once plant is established. Use fresh or dried. Avoid eating woody stems. Hardy to Zone 4. Also, an aromatic ground cover or garden border. Tiny flowers are attractive to pollinators.


Low growing plant with highly fragrant leaves. Fresh or dried, English thyme goes well with just about everything. Add to blended herb mixtures, soups, sauce, beans, meat dishes, and more. Also, a wonderfully aromatic ground cover in a garden bed or border. Hardy to Zone 5.

Golden Lemon

Tiny, fragrant leaves have distinctive gold edges. A gorgeous addition to herb gardens both in containers and in the ground. Livens up salad, soup, fish. A great choice for tea.