Most of the nearly 100 types of herbs require a decent amount of sunshine. However, those that thrive in most sunlight are Basil, Lavender, Chives, Dill, Oregano, Rosemary, and Thyme. Typically, 4-6 hours of daily sunshine will do just fine, but lavender and basil do best with up to eight hours of sunlight daily.
While the issue of sunlight and shade continues to be the subject of debate among gardeners, most agree that the minimum is four hours of sunshine daily.
The great thing is that herbs like basil grow easily and are quite forgiving, so give or take an hour or two, we’ll still have a flourishing garden. Here’s an in-depth look at herbs and how much sunshine they require.
Types of Herbs that Grow and Thrive in the Sun
As mentioned earlier, most herbs require sunshine. However, those that thrive in sunlight are:
The thing is, many herbs are good at 70°F and some will suffer if the temperature goes higher. They will also wilt during frost times. Those mentioned above will survive extreme heat, especially basil and lavender.
Unfortunately, those two do not serve well as companions, so please do not try it. Basil likes being watered often and the reverse stands for lavender. Let’s look at these herbs in-depth and how to cultivate them.
Herbs that Thrive in Sunlight
Great basil, or basil, is a culinary herb in the family Lamiaceae that is commonly used in Asian cuisine (mints). A delicate plant, it is used in many cuisines around the world.
The Genovese or sweet basil cultivar is regarded as “basil” in Western cuisine. From Central Africa to Southeast Asia, basil is a native of the tropics.
Basil is regarded as an annual in temperate areas; but, in warmer horticultural zones with tropical or Mediterranean temperatures, basil can be cultivated as a short-lived perennial or biennial.
The leaves of the basil plant, an annual or perennial herb, are used in cooking. Plants can grow anywhere from 30 cm to 150 cm tall, depending on the cultivar. Its leaves are oblong and vividly green, but they can vary greatly in size and form depending on the cultivar of the plant.
The width and length of a leaf can vary from 1 to 6 centimeters. The primary taproot of basil is thick and stout. Inflorescences or spikes of small, white flowers appear at the top of the plant’s central stem.
The four stamens and the pistil of this Lamiaceae flower are unusual in that they are not tucked under the corolla’s upper lip, but rather rest on top of its inferior lip. The flower breaks off after entomophilous pollination, and the bilabiate calyx develops four spherical achenes.
Cultivation of Basil
Basil thrives in hot, dry climates and is quite sensitive to cold. In the event of a frost, it behaves as an annual. Basil, on the other hand, is grown all over the world due to its widespread popularity. Countries with Mediterranean climates, temperate climates, and subtropical climates all contribute to production.
Ideal Time to plant Basil
A peat pot and late spring/early summer planting are ideal for basil, but it can also survive in these areas if sown indoors and then transplanted outside in late spring/early summer (when there is little risk of frost). Additionally, it may be sown in soil once the chance of frost is past. It does well in soil that drains properly and is exposed to the sun.
If you’re unable to plant basil in the ground, you can grow it in a pot indoors and keep it away from really cold drafts. If possible, a greenhouse or row cover is preferable. It is, nevertheless, possible to grow it in a basement using fluorescent light.
Supplemental lighting for Basil
Red and blue light, in particular, boost growth and flower bud formation when used in conjunction with supplemental lighting. In O. basilicum essential oil, UV-B increases volatiles, which hasn’t been observed in other plants and may therefore be specific to this genus or even species.
Watering the Basil
Basil plants do not require as much irrigation as other plants in other regions, but they still need to be watered regularly. Watering it well and putting it in a bright spot will help it recover if its leaves have become wilted due to lack of water.
To tell if a plant is under stress, look for yellow leaves at the base of the plant. This indicates that the plant needs less water or more fertilizer. The small stems of basil cuttings can be reliably propagated in water for two weeks or until roots emerge.
There are 47 species of flowering plants in the Lavandula genus (often known as lavender) in the Lamiaceae family. In the Old World, it’s endemic to Cape Verde and the Canary Islands, and it may also be found from Europe to India via northern and eastern Africa and the Mediterranean.
An annual or short-lived perennial herbaceous genus, it includes shrub-like perennials, subshrubs, or tiny shrubs as well.
A wide variety of leaf shapes can be found within the genus. It can be simple or pinnately toothed, occasionally double pinnate, and dissected in other species that are commonly farmed. Leaf hairs or indumentum, which usually contain essential oils, cover the leaves of most species.
Lavandula angustifolia, commonly known as English lavender, is the most widely cultivated variety. There are several varieties to choose from. The Egyptian lavender is another common ornamental plant.
In gardens around the world, the cultivated versions are often found as garden escapes, well outside of their natural habitat. Lavandula species can become invasive if they are allowed to grow unchecked.
Lavender labeled as Noxious
For example, in Australia, Lavandula stoechas, a widespread weed that has been labeled a noxious species in the state of Victoria since 1920, has become a source of concern. Parts of Spain view it as a nuisance.
Where to Plant Lavender
Dry, well-drained, sandy, or gravelly soils in full sun are ideal for lavenders. The germination period for English lavender is 14–28 days, while the flowering period is 100–110 days. Fertilizer isn’t necessary for any of them, and they all benefit from proper air circulation. Root rot caused by fungus infection can occur in locations with excessive humidity.
Root rot can be encouraged by organic mulch that traps water around the plant’s base. Crushed rock and other gravelly materials perform better. Soils with a pH of 6 to 8 are ideal for growing it. The majority of lavender is gathered by hand, and the time required for harvesting varies according to the intended application.
A flowering plant, Fennel belongs to the carrot group that goes by the common name “fennel.” Perennial plants with flowers that bloom yellow with feathery leaves are hardy and perennial.
Native to the Mediterranean coasts, it has spread far around the world, especially on dry soils near the sea and along rivers.
Cultivation of Fennel
Throughout its native habitat and around the world, fennel is grown for its flavorful leaves and fruits. Anethole, an aromatic molecule found in anise and star anise, is responsible for its licorice or anise flavor and scent, albeit it is usually not as powerful as anise or star anise.
Inflated leaf bases form the bulb-like structure of Florence fennel cultivars. Although it has an anise-like flavor, it is sweeter and more aromatic. It is cultivated and has a mild anise flavor.
Wild vs Garden Fennel
Fennel plants in Florence tend to be smaller than those found in the wild. In addition to Florence fennel, the Italian word finocchio is used for various varieties of plants. It is common for it to be mislabeled as “anise” in North American supermarkets.
The “bronze-leaved” fennel, Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpureum’ or ‘Nigra,’ is a widely available ornamental garden plant.
Where You’ll Find Fennel
Although it is native to numerous regions, fennel may be found in a wide range of locations including the United States, Canada, and much of Asia, as well as much of Australia.
In both Australia and the United States, it is regarded as an invasive species and a weed because of its ability to spread via root crown and seed.
An edible plant in the family of Amaryllidaceae, Allium schoenoprasum, produces both leaves and flowers. Onions, garlic, shallots, leeks, scallions, and Chinese onions are all close relatives.
Chives are a bulb-forming herbaceous perennial plant, growing to 30–50 cm tall. Slender, conical, 2–3 centimeters long, and 1 centimeter wide, the bulbs form dense clusters from the roots.
Its scapes (or stems) are hollow and tubular, up to 50 cm (20 in) long, and 2–3 mm broad, with a delicate feel, but they may appear stiffer than typical before the emergence of a flower.
How to Distinguish Chive
To distinguish it from garlic chives, the grass-like leaves are shorter than the scapes but are hollow and tubular or terete, (spherical in cross-section). Star-shaped with six petals, the flowers are a faint purple.
There are many uses for chives, both culinary and aesthetic, including dried bouquets of violet flowers. Blossom vinegar and salads both use blooms, which can also be eaten.
To grow, chives need a pH of 6-7, organic matter-rich soil, and full-sun exposure. They can be cultivated from seed and mature in the summer or early in the following spring, depending on the year. Cultivated at 60 to 70°F, chives should be maintained wet when germinating.
Chives in Colder Areas
If you live in a colder area, you may also germinate them indoors and then transplant them to the garden later. The young shoots should be ready to be planted after at least four weeks. They can be multiplied through division as well.
How Chives Regenerate
Chives die back to their roots in the winter and reappear in early April in colder climates. Chives that are beginning to show their age can be pruned to a height of 2–5 cm. Stalks should be trimmed to the base when harvesting.
The plant’s leaves regenerate continuously throughout the growing season, allowing for ongoing harvesting. Leek moth larvae, which penetrate the plant’s leaves or bulbs, can harm chives.
The mint family Lamiaceae includes the herb oregano, which is a flowering plant. It originated originally from the Mediterranean region but has since spread throughout the Northern Hemisphere’s temperate regions.
Woody perennial oregano plants grow 20–80 cm tall and have leaves that measure 1–4 cm long. Erect spikes of 3–4 mm long purple blooms are produced during the summer months. Wild marjoram and sweet marjoram are both common names for O. Majorana, a close relative.
Oregano in Many Cuisines
Both are commonly used in French, Mexican, Italian, Spanish, and Greek cuisines as culinary herbs. It’s also possible to grow oregano as an ornamental, and there are various cultivars available that include different leaf and flower colors and growth habits.
Sow your seeds in a warm, sunny location. Plants should be spaced at least 25cm apart. To keep plants from becoming straggly, cut them back once they’ve finished flowering.
As autumn approaches, divide some to keep at home for the upcoming winter months. ‘ Remove roughly 6cm of the year’s growth.
You can pick the leaves whenever you need to. Dried or frozen oregano leaves are an option. Airtight containers are best for storing dried leaves or complete stalks, away from harsh light.
Oregano as a Companion Plant
If you want to keep cabbage moths at bay, you can plant oregano between rows of Brassicas. Asparagus and basil are also excellent companions. Pollinators are drawn to oregano while it is in flower.
A perennial herb of the celery family Apiaceae, dill is used in cooking. The genus Anethum has only one species. When it comes to food, dill is a common ingredient in many cuisines across Eurasia.
Slender, hollow stems, and finely divided, gently delicate leaves 10–20 cm long make dill a versatile ingredient.
The final leaf divisions are 1–2 mm wide, which is slightly larger than the threadlike, less than 1 mm wide, and tougher texture of fennel’s comparable leaves.
In little umbels with a diameter of 2–9 cm, the flowers range from white to yellow. The seeds have a longitudinally ridged surface and are 4–5 mm long and 1 mm thick.
There must be warm to hot summers and strong quantities of sunshine for a successful production; even partial shade can lower yields significantly. Rich, well-drained soil is also a must for this plant.
Three to ten years after planting, the seeds are still viable. After “bolting,” the plants immediately perish due to their monocarpic nature (producing seeds). Bolting can be accelerated by high temperatures.
Collecting Dill Seeds
When the seed is just about to ripen, cut the blossom heads from the stalks and collect the seeds within them.
A week in a warm, dry environment with the seed heads upside down in a paper bag is all that’s needed to germinate them.
If you want to store the seeds, you can do so by pulling them apart and placing them in an airtight container.
Dill Attracts Useful Bugs
Caterpillars of the black swallowtail species frequently prey on these plants, as well as their relatives, the fennel and parsley. Because of this, certain butterfly gardens may incorporate them.
Thyme is a perennial evergreen herb in the mint family Lamiaceae that belongs to the genus Thymus.
As with oregano, thymes are a close relative of Origanum, another Mediterranean native.
One of the most commonly grown and used thymes for culinary and medicinal purposes is Thymus vulgaris.
Cultivation of Thyme
Thyme thrives in a hot, sunny area with well-drained soil, where it can thrive. Perennial plants are usually planted in the spring and continue to grow throughout the year.
Seeds, cuttings, or rooted parts of the plant can all be used in the propagation process. Drought is not a problem.
Thyme and Cold Temps
The plant can withstand freezing temperatures and grows wild in the mountains. Cuttings are used to cultivate this plant, which thrives on dry hillsides. After flowering, you can prune it to keep it from becoming woody.
Aromatic, needle-like leaves and white, pink, purple, or blue blooms make Salvia Rosmarinus (commonly known as rosemary) a shrub endemic to the Mediterranean region. The scientific term Rosmarinus officinalis was used until 2017 when it was changed to a synonym.
It is possible to grow vegetables in the winter in temperatures as low as 20 degrees Celsius using certain cultivars, such as the “Arp” variety of carrots.
It can tolerate prolonged durations of water deprivation. It is regarded as a potentially invasive species in several parts of the world.
Rosemary Long Life
Although the seeds are difficult to germinate and the plant grows slowly, the plant can live for up to 30 years.
Forms can be erect or trailing, and the former can grow to a height of 1.5 m or even 2 m on rare occasions. Green top and white underneath with dense, short, woolly hair, the evergreen leaves are 2–4 cm long and 2–5 mm wide.
When Rosemary Blooms
White, pink, purple, or deep blue flowers bloom during the spring and summer months in temperate areas, but the plants can bloom all year round in hot climates.
Early December and mid-February are both times when Rosemary has exhibited unusual blossoming patterns (in the northern hemisphere).
How Much Sunlight Do Herbs Need?
Herbs, in general, require a good deal of direct sunlight. Most herbs will thrive if they have at least four hours of sunshine a day to grow.
However, herbs such as rosemary, lavender, and basil thrive in total sunlight (between 6 and 8 hours each day) and can handle more sunlight.
Have a spot in your garden where you want to grow herbs, but you don’t want to completely block out the sun? Put in some chervil or parsley in your garden.
In What Type of Soil Do Herbs Grow Best?
Grouping plants with comparable soil requirements are simple once you grasp what those requirements are. Most herbs require well-drained, wet soil that is relatively fertile.
No matter what kind of herb you plan to produce, quality soil is a necessity. Typically, herbs require a pH level between 6 and 7 to thrive, hence pH testing is essential when cultivating them.
Herbs thrive in soil that is loose enough for roots to penetrate. Mineral-deficient plants may benefit from the addition of a liquid micronutrient fertilizer.
Watering Herbs: How often Should we do it?
Every plant has to be watered regularly, however certain herbs require more than others. It is a good idea to give most herbs a drink when the soil feels dry.
It’s important to know how much water each herb requires and to combine plants that have similar demands together when planting.
Basil, on the other hand, prefers wet soil, therefore don’t plant it with lavender, which prefers dry dirt between waterings. Once a week is a decent guideline for most herbs.
In times of high heat or drought, it may be necessary to water twice weekly. To prevent evaporation and let the roots absorb the water fully, water during the colder hours of the morning, from 6 to 10 a.m.
Is Indoor or Outdoor Better for Growing Herbs?
Herbs can be grown both indoors and outdoors, and each has its own set of advantages. Planting them in a wider area outside, where they will generate a greater harvest, can be useful for growing the herbs indoors.
Choose an area that has the best drainage and lighting. Growing them indoors, on the other hand, means less work in the garden all around and the potential for year-round use of herbs.
Can you dry herbs in the oven?
Yes, you can. To dry herbs in the oven, you’ll need to cut them up and spread them out on baking sheets.
If you’re drying more than a couple of sprigs at once, try using a food dehydrator instead. If you use an oven, ensure it is not too hot or the herbs may burn before they are completely dried out.
Can you dry herbs in an air fryer?
Yes, you can dry herbs in an air fryer. It’s easy to do, but it requires a little patience. If you have herbs that are past their prime, or you have some herbs that you want to dry for future use, then this is a great way to do it.
Which herbs are annuals?
Annual herbs are herbs that only live one year. If you want to grow annual herbs from seed, you need to sow them indoors and transplant them outside after all danger of frost has passed. Annual herbs include basil, chervil, cilantro, dill, and parsley.
Can you eat the herbs in a tea bag?
The herbs found in most tea bags are edible, however, once the tea is brewed, these herbs most likely have lost their nutrients.
So there is no point in consuming the herbs after drinking the tea. However, if your tea bag breaks and you find yourself with loose tea in your drink, you will be fine if you consume the herbs.
Can you use dried herbs instead of fresh ones?
Dried herbs are often used as a substitute for fresh herbs. However, dried herbs are not as flavorful or aromatic as fresh herbs. To get the most out of a recipe that calls for dried herbs, it’s best to add them at the end of cooking or just before serving.
Which herbs are like coffee grounds?
Here are some other herbs that work well as alternatives to coffee grounds: chicory, chamomile, dandelion root, and green tea.
Which herbs are invasive?
Mint spreads by seed as well as stolons (above-ground stems) that can grow up to 2 feet long. These stolons root at the nodes and form new plants when they touch the soil or moist media. Mint is also capable of growing through its roots if planted too deeply.
Oregano is not invasive when planted in its native environment, but it can become invasive when introduced into new areas where it doesn’t belong.
Can herbs withstand frost?
Yes, some herbs are cold-hardy and can withstand the cold. These cold-hardy herbs are oregano, parsley, chives, mint, thyme, and sage. The plant will survive the frost, but the leafy parts may turn brown or black if they get too cold. This is not usually a problem for home gardeners who have properly set up their herb garden.
Can you juice herbs?
Yes, but they are more difficult to juice than vegetables. It is recommended to use a blender to make herbal juices because it is easier to blend the leaves and stems into a smoothie than it is to juice them. Herbs are a great addition to green juices as they have a lot of health benefits and most of them taste pretty good.
Do herbs have vitamins?
Yes, herbs have vitamins. In fact, some are considered to be better sources of certain nutrients than others. However, since most herbs aren’t fortified with vitamins or added to packaged foods, it’s important to eat them in combination with other foods that contain vitamins and minerals.
Can you eat raw herbs?
It is very nutritious and edible to eat the leaves and stems of most herbs. In addition to vitamins A, C, and K, they contain calcium, iron, and magnesium. They also contain antioxidants that help fight disease. You may need to cook the herbs before consuming them if you have a compromised immune system or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.