Top 5 Herbs You Should Grow at Home in Houston

Categories: Garden Fresh

Kelly Sue
Grow any of these five herbs to add outstanding flavor to any spring or summer dish.
One of my favorite things about spring and summer is getting to eat fresh fruits and vegetables at just about every meal. Herbs are a great addition to any dish and during the spring and summer seasons, they bring out the wonderful flavors of freshly picked produce.

Sherri Harrah of Plants for All Seasons on 249 says that several different herbs can grow in one container together, making it easier for you to maintain them, but you need to maintain other environmental factors to keep them alive.

"Houston is the land of the air conditioner," Harrah says, "and they need the difference between day and night. They need the humidity, and it is too controlled inside."

Herbs also grow quickly outside. Harrah says they're like a haircut: The more you pick the herbs, the faster they grow.

Here are five herbs you can easily plant and take care of all on your own. No need to buy bottles of herbs to season your food.

5. Lemon Garden

Sandra Killough, owner of Bonnie's Greenhouse in Waco, says that she loves to make a lemon garden filled with lemongrass and lemon balm. Not only will these herbs keep mosquitoes off of your garden, but lemon balm is a wonderful lemony green herb that adds a fresh flavor to fish, chicken and vegetables. Lemongrass is a great addition in Thai cuisine or other Asian dishes.

Just a little bit of rosemary goes a long way in a dish.
4. Rosemary

Rosemary is one of my favorite herbs to use in cooking. Just add a little bit of it to a chicken dish and you can transform it from plain to outstanding. Killough advises against over-loving your rosemary, though. "It will thrive on the grass," Killough says. "I kill my rosemary by loving it too much with water. It is a good herb for cooking -- use it for skewers."

3. Thyme

Killough recommends growing thyme by itself and says that a strawberry jar is best for growing the herb. Just like other herbs, thyme needs at least five hours of sun a day and it shouldn't be overwatered. If you stick your finger into the soil and notice that it's wet, then don't water the pot.

Photo courtesy of Sherri Harrah
Mint is one of the easiest herbs to grow.
2. Mint

Harrah says that mint is one of the easiest herbs to grow. You can definitely have a variety of mints grow together in one location or pot. Harrah notes that some will grow well in a shady environment rather than in the sunniest spot. So make sure that your pot of mint gets more shade than other herbs, otherwise it will shrivel in the sun.

1. Basil

There's nothing better than a fresh chiffonade of basil added to a beautiful caprese salad, which is one of my all-time favorite summer dishes. Harrah says that basil is a must in an herb garden.

"It grows through the summer like a weed," Harrah says.

Basil is an essential component in an herb garden and can grow with other herbs. Everyone should definitely plant basil in his or her herb garden for a fresh touch to any spring or summer dish.

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Rose Marie DeAngelis
Rose Marie DeAngelis

Yea well down here it's harder, can't put it out side. Tride that and they died in days. Too hot here. And we have cats so can't keep them inside. Ugghh.

Matt Burns
Matt Burns

Lemon thyme, oregano, cilantro, basil and parsley


I bought sage over a year ago and it has been thriving in Houston, which is amazing because I am an expert at killing plants. My basil and mint plants have also been doing very well, but require a little more TLC than the sage does. 

Phillip Byron
Phillip Byron

Currently growing sweet basil, lemon basil, oregano and thyme.

Elizabeth Winkelmeyer Payne
Elizabeth Winkelmeyer Payne

Interesting advice on AC and the herbs' need for a natural temperature cycle! And I greatly appreciated the interview with Bonnie's Greenhouse since I *loved* that place when I lived in Waco. :)

gossamersixteen topcommenter

Basil, Rosemary both like heat, you can train thyme to be indifferent to heat too. Mint find a shady spot, with a drip from your AC unit and it will thrive, mint loves water.

Kylejack topcommenter

I love how much basil loves the heat. I'm not too diligent about caring for plants, but basil doesn't mind if you forget to water it now and then.


So, about that "five hours of sun a day" thing. I live in an apartment and I have a (covered) patio with space to grow herbs, but the 5 hours of sun isn't going to happen. A couple of hours in the morning is about it. Would basil still grow?


@jimbo1126 My garden is in the sunniest spot in my yard, which gets only about 2-3 hours of direct unimpeded sunlight per day. But I have two tomato plants, a zucchini, cucumber, watercress, bell pepper and leeks all going like gangbusters there. I have thyme and sage growing well in a much shadier area. I'm not saying sun isn't important, but the upside to having the garden shaded for part of the day is that the intense heat of summer has less of an impact. And with pots, you have to remember that a pot in direct sunlight is like an oven, and those roots are getting baked. A little shade can be a good thing.


@jimbo1126 Basil will grow slower, but it will still happily grow.  Basil's a hard herb to kill.  I find that lemon balm will do alright in part-shade conditions like yours. 


@Anse @jimbo1126  - Yeah, Anse is right.  This is Houston.  Our growing time is actually interrupted in the summer, and our "direct sunlight" has to be a little less direct.  Try lots of stuff.  It's fun.  Throw out whatever dies, and plant more of whatever doesn't.

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