What growing conditions do herbs need?


What growing conditions do herbs need?


Herbs grow best in the same conditions as most vegetables. Plant in full sun with at least six hours of sunlight a day. While not ideal, some species will grow in part-sun, receiving two to four hours of direct sunlight each day. Herbs will grow well under a wide range of soil conditions, with the exception of extremely wet, poorly drained soils. Provide well-drained conditions where soils are allowed to dry out slightly between waterings. In general, herbs do better in soils with low to medium fertility, so additional fertilizer applications are not typically needed. Too much fertilizer produces lots of foliage that is low in flavor. 

Perennial herbs should be grown in an area where they will not be disturbed year to year. They overwinter best when soils are well-drained and do not stay wet over the winter months. Some marginally hardy species in Iowa, like sage and lavender, sometimes benefit from an extra mulch layer applied just after the soil freezes in November and removed by mid-March. Annual herbs can be grown in a vegetable garden or any full-sun, well-drained location that allows for easy harvest and use.

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