Not only will these durable plants require very little maintenance, but they're also herbs that show up commonly in recipes. Now, rather than buying big bunches of herbs and watching them go bad, you can just snip off your own supply. For the five good beginner herbs,
- Basil differs from many popular herbs in its preference for moist, rich soil conditions. It's a summer-growing annual and is frost-sensitive.
- Cilantro, or coriander, a pungent herb of tropical Asian origin, is related to parsley. It requires warmth and plenty of water in the summer growing season. The plant tends to run to seed, so make sure you buy a nonbolting variety.
- Mint is a flavoring herb with many varieties, tastes, and aromas. Popular varieties include apple, spearmint, and peppermint. Mint spreads profusely, so keep the plants contained.
- Oregano and marjoram are very similar and are often confused: Marjoram is the milder tasting of the two. Use either one in stuffings or in dishes with a Mediterranean flavor. Golden and variegated forms are useful ground covers.
- Sage, particularly common sage, is a major culinary herb, but most other members of the Salvia family have cosmetic uses.