Herbs for Every Kitchen

Choose the right herbs for your kitchen.


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Southern or full sun

A south-facing window can support the widest herb selection. It has bright light all day with intense sunshine around midday. The one drawback is that all this light can make the window area hot. Plants dry out, and leaves can burn if the heat becomes too intense. Monitor the herbs closely in summer and move them back from the window if they show signs of heat stress (wilting or burnt leaves). The farther away from the window they’re placed, the less intense the light and heat.

Grow any of these sun-loving herbs: aloe, chives, dill, lavender, nasturtium, sweet marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage, savory, scented geraniums, tarragon and thyme.

You also can grow shade-tolerant herbs several feet away from the windowpane or on the kitchen counter. Try chervil, lemon balm, mint and sweet woodruff.

Eastern or full/partial sun

An east-facing window receives full sun for a few hours in the morning and bright light the rest of the day. You generally don’t have to worry about heat, so you can place the herbs right up against the windowpane.

Try basil, bay, burnet, parsley, lemon balm, mint and pineapple sage.

Western or full/partial sun

A west-facing window receives bright light in the morning and a few hours of full sun in the afternoon. Intense afternoon sunlight can make the window area hot in summer. Move the herbs back from the glass if they look stressed.

Try aloe, basil, parsley, rosemary, scented geraniums, tarragon and thyme.

Northern or low light

Planting an herb garden in a north-facing window can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible. Most herbs prefer full sun and, unfortunately, you have little direct light in a northern window. The trick is to stick with herbs that prefer partial sun but can tolerate shade.

Try bay, chervil, lemon balm, mint, lovage, parsley and sweet woodruff.