How do I harvest herbs?


How do I harvest herbs?


Most herbs can be cut and used fresh throughout the growing season. They can also be harvested, dried and stored for use during the winter months.

Many herbs, such as sage, rosemary and basil, are grown for their leaves. These herbs should be harvested when their flower buds are just beginning to open. The oils in the leaves which give each herb its distinctive flavor and aroma are at their maximum levels at this stage of growth. Remove approximately one-third of the current year's growth on perennial herbs. Annual herbs can be cut back more severely. Make the cuts on annuals approximately 4 to 6 inches above the soil surface. The annuals can be cut at ground level when harvesting in the fall before the first frost. Most annual and perennial herbs can be harvested in mid-summer and again in the fall.

Herbs should be harvested in the early morning, after the dew has evaporated but before the sun becomes hot. After harvesting, rinse the herbs in cool water. Shake off excess water and place them on paper towels to dry for a few minutes.

Answered by
  • Specialist
  • Consumer Horticulture Extension
Last updated on
March 19, 2024