We are keen to find the best herbs for your garden and today more than ever it seems important to know which will be the fastest growing herbs from seeds. When you grow herbs you are looking for maximum flavour for investment. So we wanted to share some of the most rewarding herbs you can grow at home.
The fastest herbs can be great for planting with kids and encouraging them to eat more nutrient dense tasty food. Hopefully they will come out with a lifelong love of growing their own food as well. You can decide whether you have a windowsill ready to grow on or if you have a larger outdoor space. Your herb garden will be beneficial to your whole family.
The fastest herbs to grow indoors
- Parsley – ideal for a garnish or added extra in a salad.
- Basil – grow enough to make homemade pesto
- Cress – perfect for kids to try
- Chives – lovely flowers if you leave them a little longer
- Coriander – great way to add colour and flavour, but not the ideal herb for everyone
- Mint – be careful as this is much more of a weed than you may think!
- Micro Herbs are amazing for timescales. From sowing to harvest is around 2-3 weeks and all of the above herbs can be grown this way.
Now you just need to learn all of the tricks and tips for getting the most out your planting! All of these tricks we are about to share are kid and beginner proof too! I promise.
Also we have factored in the British weather!
Growing Parsley Indoors
Step One Soaking the Seeds
Several types of herbs need their seeds to be soaked overnight first. It awakens the germ inside and acts to replicate the natural seasons. By soaking them overnight in warm water it gives the kids a chance to watch and monitor.
We find that although they will germinate and grow quickly, you must still take the time to prepare the seeds first.
Step Two Sowing the Seeds
After a few hours of soaking sprinkle the seeds across moist soil in pots or thinly on the ground where they are to grow. Then cover with a thin layer of compost. Keep moist and warm. Moist is not wet!
If you drown your seeds then they will rot and become mushy. They will not germinate, or if they do then their roots will rot too. Rotten roots means a big no no for healthy plant growth.
Think of the roots as the foundation to any happy herb plant. So for all of these seedlings a top tip is coming!
TOP TIP – Water the soil before sowing the seeds. Then once covered mist them rather than water them.
Step Three Keep a Constant Temperature
A heated propagator is the ideal way to ensure a constant temperature is maintained. For Parsley you want around 21 degrees. For some of the other seeds we are looking at below just being covered with glass should be enough.
If the temperature drops or the moisture levels are reduced it can be enough to kill the seeds immediately.
To be fair Parsley is ideal for kids because of the flavour, but it can be a tricky one to get right. Do not expect a high germination rate.
Step Four Thinning Out The Seedlings
Once the seedlings hace their true leaves you can thin them out. This will mean that the plant has space to grow fully.
Really perfect for younger family members as you will find they will eat the parsley afterwards as well!!
Parsley benefits from transplanting outside. So if you can manage it take them outside to space them and start harvesting.
Parsley is a fast herb to be able to harvest but it also benefits from being a crop you can keep taking from. In fact by not taking regularly you are sort of diminishing the plants ability to keep growing.
The Fastest Way to Grow Basil
You see basil comes from the mint family. It is renown for being a prolific herb, that will grow in most locations. However the best way to get a good harvest would be under these conditions.
The seeds will germinate after 7-10 days and the first leaves will appear then. The true leaves take less than 2 weeks more and you can transplant them out at that point. If you keep them in a Heated Propagator at around 21 degrees they will develop more quickly and you can therefore plant them out sooner.
Word of warning on this one, if you intend to plant them outside, wait until the risk of frost has ended and make sure to acclimatize them fully.
If you are planning on growing basil on your windowsill then you will find this herb is very accommodating. Make sure to optimise the conditions by giving your basil access to around 8 hours of daylight. So that may mean that you end up growing herbs in your bathroom, but who cares really?
Cress is the fastest herb to grow!
A classic herb for kids, but try to love it as an adult as well! Versatile for a garnish and easy to use in basic egg mayo sandwiches.
Cress is a very good herb for a fast fix of nutrient rich greens. They will take around 24 hours to germinate and then to grow to 1-2 inches will be less than a week! So they are the ultimate in fast fix food!
The other benefits to cress is that as far as microgreens go this is low maintenance. Just need to keep the paper towel moist and not wet. No need to monitor it every minute before school just check that it needs a little spritz of water and off you can go.
You can also cut and come again with this herb and it will regrow on average about 4 times.
Chives in pots or grown outside
If you sow chives and keep them moist and at a regular warm temperature they will germinate in around 2-3 weeks. You can harvest them around 3 months later than this.
Ideally the stems will be around 6 inches tall. But you can leave them to flower and then eat the flowers in salads or even in a posh cocktail!
As chives are a member of the allium family you can use them in place of onions for added flavour. So, although not the fastest growing herb they are still a lot faster than onions.
TOP TIP – A lot of younger children who want to try cooking will enjoy using chives rather than onions. Basically because you don’t tend to cry when chopping them!
Growing Coriander Indoors
Coriander is very similar to parsley with regards to how easy it is to grow. You can use it in dishes with lots of spice to cut through the flavours. I hate the taste though! Apparently so do many people, it is a weird taste bud thing.
You will need a warm windowsill and some moist soil. Once the seeds have sprouted ensure they get as much sunshine as possible and remain moist. You will be able to harvest the leaves a few weeks after the first leaves have shown.
Not a perfect herb for kids as the taste can be likened to soap, depending on your tastebuds!
Mint Can Be The Easiest Herb To Grow
The wonderful thing about mint is how prolific it is. This is also a real nightmare if you plant it outside in the ground. Therefore mint is a perfect herb to grow indoors or in a pot.
Sow the seeds in the warmer months if you want an outdoor crop, but you can grow indoors in a sunny spot.
Keep the soil moist and warm and within a few weeks you will be rewarded with germinated seeds. Thinning can take place once the seedlings are large enough to handle.
TOP TIP – To thin seedlings out you will need to wait until the true leaves have shown. That way you limit the amount of damage you may accidentally do to the younger plants.
Wait until the stems are around 3-4 inches high and take the fresh leaves by pinching them out.
By pinching the fresh leaves out you will be encouraging new growth as well. Each section you pinch off will then branch in different stalks.
Mint will survive being outside for the Winter months and even benefits from being potted out.
Word of warning though, no matter how tempted you are do not plant into the ground. Mint will run rampant over any other crop! Mint tends to be the kind of herb that could otherwise be called a weed.
However mint is also the most considerate of companion plants and is known to deter many bugs and pests in the garden. A kind of natural bug deterrent that you can also enjoy in a cocktail!
If You Don’t Want to Grow By Seed, What About Propagation By Cuttings?
Some herbs are the devil to grow from seed. Having seeds that need to be frozen and then soaked to sort of rough up the outer husk and crack them. That can be fine for those of us with a lot of patience, time and experience. This is an article about the fastest herbs to grow from seed, but let’s just look a bit more at cuttings.
Propagating rosemary from cuttings can be a seriously affordable way of getting some crops ready to swap with neighbours. So in that sense it can be a very quick turnaround.
You can easily just cut a branch off with a sharp pair of secateurs and then pull away the lower leaves. Putting the stalks into water or compost is great and that can give you a 4 week window. In that time you will need to keep the soil moist or, if in the water keep it fresh and clear.
Once you have roots established it is pretty easy to get a quick result. Then you can harvest fresh leaves for flavouring dishes.
Perennial Herbs Can Be The Solution
Honestly we all understand the desire to have fast growing herbs. The speedier the turnaround the quicker you can be enjoying those great intense tastes and aromas.
However it is much easier and more cost effective to have perennial herbs growing all year round.
Perennial herbs can be just as fresh and tasty. Do not be fooled into thinking that a perennial can always have its leaves harvested all year round though. There will still be an argument for storing and drying the herbs you grow.
- Rosemary – pinch out fresh leaves as you need them
- Mint – be careful where to plant your mint as this herb will spread
- Lemon Balm – a great all rounder for adding fresh flavours to your diet
- Oregano – a real classic and great for so many pasta dishes
Best Perennial Herbs for your Garden
If you want herbs that are quick to grow then perennials are sort of ticking that box by being ready when you are!
- Lovage – nice and easy to grow, just watch as it self-seeds
- Sorrel is a perfect cut and come again plant with a zesty spinach like quality
- Rosemary – simple to grow from cuttings and easy to harvest
- Thyme – a little bit temperamental at times but so useful in so many dishes
So whatever your needs are I hope you have some inspiration for getting started today and growing your own herb garden.
Cut and Come Again Vs Successional Planting
There is a place in your garden for both of these types of planting. The main thing is you are planning for the future harvest.
Having soft herbs like parsley, basil and mint allows for you to pinch out the leaves required. By doing this where the nodes are it actually encourages future growth.
Certain soft herbs like chives do not have that ability. So you must plant with a few weeks gap in between. This succession of planting will allow for a longer harvest period. However it will require larger areas to grow.
By growing your perennial herbs in pots you can contain their overall size and still allow for regular harvesting. Using the pinch out method you can gain a larger crop that again encourages further growth from the main plant. It is healthy with the woodier herbs like Rosemary to do this and it will increase the bushiness of the plant.
TOP TIP – If you have started the plant inside and then brought outdoors, keep on top of pinching it out. If you want flowers it will focus the herb on that and it will not produce as many new leaves!
However when you do decide to plant out and let your herbs grow more naturally, be aware that flowers will bring extra food to your pollinators! Plus by the time you get a rosemary shrub as big as our neighbours one below, then you are getting more than enough leaves every day!
Growing Herbs From Seeds All Year Round
Why wouldn’t we all want to have fresh herbs all year round? We love those tastes and aromas so why not try to bring a little sunshine into our cooking even in Winter?
By having an indoor herb garden we can continue to eat fresh, healthy food. The feeling of growing our own food is like no other and the Winter months need not diminish that.
Will I Need a Sun Lamp?
You can still germinate seeds in the same ways as above but you may find that the number of hours of daylight on the windowsill is inadequate for most herbs.
By using an LED Grow Light you will find that you do not need as much space and can easily find a spot on the work top. This will also increase your likelihood to actually remember to add the herbs!
Often as they are not the main ingredient it can be a ‘nice to have’ that you forget about. By growing the herbs next to the back door or inside you will increase your chances of using them.
Herbs will not grow to give you depth of flavour without sufficient sunlight. So the lamp works well to get around that. This will mean that you have the chance to grow all year round!
I hope that we have shown you that growing herbs doesn’t need to be the fastest process with a good mixture of perennials and soft herbs grown indoors you can eat fresh all year round. So please do give it a try and let us know how you get on!
I would love to think that we have helped just one of you to grow a healthier herb garden!
What Next & Further Reading
- Hardest Vegetables To Grow – Gardener’s Challenge
- Herbs That Like Shade
- What Herbs Regrow After Cutting – Cut & Come Again