We are all pressed for time and not everyone has the capacity for a garden that needs regular watering or feeding. No or low maintenance gardening is the way forward!
Low maintenance herbs like Rosemary, Mint, Oregano, Sorrel, Fennel, Tarragon, Parsley and Chives all need very little in terms of ongoing care. Get the soil conditions right initially and the amount of sunlight then leave them to it. Making sure to harvest for cooking as and when you need them!
There is a little bit more to it than this, but you get the idea, herbs you can leave for weeks at a time!
Low Maintenance Herbs
Low maintenance herbs are not just for the beginner gardener. They are tasty, attractive and have earned their place in our herb garden for many reasons.
A low maintenance herb is one that can be planted and left. This may involve a little bit of preparation work for the soil or even a little bit of careful planning with regards to where to grow. Once established your herb garden should be a source of tasty goodness and not one to worry you forever more.
No more worrying about over watering or fertilizers needed!
1. Rosemary Top Low Maintenance Herb
Perfect for those who have time to prepare the soil first but then walk away and leave your herb to get on.
Rosemary is a hardy evergreen perennial and as such is pretty much set for life, but only once established. It will need work initially to get a site that has good drainage and adequate hours of sunlight each day, 6-8 for preference. Drought tolerant and able to cope with rainy season and Winter equally well.
Flowering in early Spring rosemary can become a real focal point to your garden and provide an early source of food for bees and pollinators. Rosemary can grow to be taller than you think at around 6 feet in height, so check out our full guide on growing and propagating rosemary here.
2. Mint – Low Maintenance With Invasive Tendencies
The name mint is a real capture-all term and we really mean the menthol varieties here, or those in the mentha genus.
Mint is low maintenance but will become an invasive herb so always plant in it’s own pot or container and then you are pretty much set. Once planted mint will not need much in terms of feed or regular watering, only in the most driest of conditions. Make sure to keep harvesting leave to keep a bushier plant.
Mint will offer flowers in Summer and this does not affect the flavor of the leaves but is quite striking. Make sure to enjoy your mint, by using it in many recipes and look at the many different species available!
3. Chives Low Maintenance But Seasonal
Chives are great as they top our list of cut and come again herbs, but bear in mind that they are only seasonal and will not grow forever. Edible stems and edible flowers also make them a great addition to your herb garden. We use the flowers in salads and cocktails.
They will need good drainage to begin with and perhaps a light watering, but make sure to plant them in a partially shaded spot to save too much worry.
4. Parsley – A Handy Biennial To Grow In A Low Maintenance Garden
Parsley is one of those herbs that thrive from being harvested. The perfect herb in many ways as you can use to flavor dishes or as a refreshing garnish. It has earned it’s place as it is a tender biennial that will need very little in terms of maintenance and will flourish from being eaten!
Great for ground cover and as long as you are not sowing in direct sunlight it will not bolt and go to seed too early. If you sow seeds two years in a row then you are set for life as a biennial will self-sow in the second year.
5. Oregano – Drought Tolerant & Low Maintenance
Oregano is low maintenance as once you have planted it you can go on holiday and not need to worry about watering. Drought tolerant and relatively hardy to cold weather. Persistent frosts will need you to provide a fleece or some sort of protection. A perennial that can be harvested and dried pretty easily.
The other great thing about oregano is the flowers, they are tiny and form clusters that sort of look like hazy clouds of color in light pinks and gentle purples. As an added bonus the leaves are still tasty during and after flowering and the bees love to buzz around collecting nectar. Also when it is really warm there is a gentle herbaceous aroma that wafts from the leaves.
6. Sorrel A Little Bit Invasive But Low Maintenance
Sorrel is a leafy herb that is tender leaf and therefore looks like it shouldn’t be such a hardy perennial. We have harvested leaves that were under snow before! Perfect in Spring and through Summer just make sure to plant in partial sunlight as otherwise it will bolt and go to seed very quickly.
Once sorrel has gone to seed it is no longer so low maintenance! You will find it springing up all over your garden. So we grow ours in a raised bed and keep on top of the flower stems.
7. Tarragon Can Be Hardy
Now if you plant Russian tarragon it can be a hardy perennial and withstand any but the coldest of Arctic Winters. The one catch being that French tarragon is slightly more palatable than the bitter Russian variety. So it is a pay off between no maintenance and low maintenance and for my money French comes out on top.
Fennel is low maintenance as long as you plant it out of direct sunlight and towards the back of a flower bed. It can grow to be quite a structural piece in your garden and will fill a space towards the back of a border as well. Unusual foliage is followed by umbelliferous flowers in yellow to cream colors. The tiny flowers turn to seeds will self sow for the next year.
The herb fennel is a lovely addition to any garden but especially a kitchen garden or country cottage style garden.
9. Bay Laurel Can Be High Or Low Maintenance
You have two options with your bay trees. Firstly grow in pots or containers and keep them well trimmed and formal. Secondly plant them directly and leave them to grow to become a full tree. The second option is what makes them ultimately low maintenance, you will have no worries with watering or trimming this way.
If you have bay in pots then you need to focus on getting the right amount of water and too little or too much can lead to damaged leaves. Once you have dug a good sized hole for your tree and perhaps added some Epsom salts to help keep it fertilized you can done all you need to really. Dig through a little organic manure to really help aid drainage but really not a great deal as it will put out roots.
Bay is super useful in cooking as well!
There are many herbs that are low maintenance and therefore should be considered by the beginner gardener. All of these herbs have earned a place in the kitchen garden. Hopefully you will take the plunge and grow some low maintenance herbs that you can plant and forget about. Until you want some tasty leaves or flowers for dinner!