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Summer Herb Guide

by Magnolia
Published on May 28, 2024

Seven herbs planted in pots beside a window.

A small flourish, big on flavor. There’s something gratifying about bringing homegrown, fresh herbs to your table. Here we’ll walk you through the best growing practices—and our favorite recipes—for a few go-to potted herbs.

Herb-Growing Basics

When repotting herbs in containers, like we used, it’s important to provide them with high-quality, well-draining potting soil that is loose, rather than packed tightly. Each plant will require its own watering schedule, so if you’re growing multiple at once, we find it helpful to keep a note of how often each one should be given water. Most herbs will require partial sunlight at a minimum, so whether you’re growing outdoors or indoors, a sunny spot will be best. After harvesting, always rinse fresh herbs and pat dry before adding them to your favorite dishes.

Note: Instead of planting from seeds, we re-potted these herbs into roomier containers to help them grow larger. For tips on planting herbs from seeds in your specific zone, we suggest talking to your local nursery or garden center.

After harvesting, always rinse fresh herbs and pat dry before adding to your favorite dishes.

Quick Guide to Potting + Planting

Step 1: Choose a planter you love and fill it halfway with potting soil (larger plants may require more).

Step 2: Remove your plant from its former pot, then gently shake to loosen roots and remove excess soil.

Step 3: Place your plant in its new home.

Note: Most plants prefer indirect sunlight, so consider a spot near a window or on a slightly shaded patio. Exposure to direct sunlight is often too intense—especially during the summer.

Step 4: Pack extra soil in any air pockets or empty spaces.

Step 5: Add water and a little bit of love to watch your plant thrive!

Easy Herbs to Grow at Home

These herbs make a simple starter plant and double as an easy way to spice up your favorite summer meals. All you need is the right recipe for sun and water—and you’ll be harvesting in no time.


Mint prefers partial sun and moist soil. This herb grows fast, whether in a garden or a pot of its own, so be sure to regularly harvest it by gently pulling off fully grown leaves. This encourages the herb to fill out and continue to grow. It is best to use harvested mint leaves immediately for their freshest flavor, but they can also be stored in the refrigerator for several days, air-dried, or frozen in an air-tight bag or container. Add fresh mint to a fruit smoothie, stir into lemonade and iced tea, or add to salads, sandwiches, or your favorite dessert.

Pairs Well With:

Strawberry Sweet Tea, recipe by Joanna Gaines

Mediterranean Salad in a Jar, recipe by Annie Starke

Watermelon Blackberry Skewer Bites, recipe by Joanna Gaines


Full sun and moist soil are ideal growing conditions for basil plants. To harvest, pinch off the leaf with your finger where it meets the stem. Using it while fresh is ideal, but if you need to store excess, freezing basil in an airtight container will best preserve its flavor. Use this herb to make homemade pesto, infuse oils, top a homemade pizza, or add to soups.

Pairs Well With:

Nettle Pesto, recipe by Eduardo Garcia

Pasta with 10-minute Spicy Grated Tomato Sauce, recipe by Carla Lalli Music

Grilled Pizza, recipe by Samantha Seneviratne


A chive plant makes a great windowsill herb because of its ability to grow in sun to partial shade. You’ll want to keep its soil moist, but never wet. To harvest, clip chives with a sharp pair of scissors and then chop on a cutting board. If you have a surplus of growth, you can chop them, store in an airtight container, and freeze until ready to use. Chives have a subtle onion and garlic flavor that’s great for sprinkling on top of omelets, soft cheeses, and potato dishes.

Pairs Well With:

Citrus and Herb Vinaigrette, recipe by Katie Button

Grilled Corn on the Cob with Parmesan Butter, recipe by Annie Starke

Garlic-Chive Compound Butter, recipe by Joanna Gaines


A cilantro plant grows best in full sun and prefers to be watered when its soil is dry to the touch. Harvest weekly by snipping the bottom of the stems, which will promote new growth. Add freshly chopped cilantro to tacos, homemade salsa, guacamole, or salads.

Pairs Well With:

Guacamole, recipe by Eduardo Garcia

Charred Corn Salad, recipe by Joanna Gaines

Fresh Tomato Salsa, recipe by Joanna Gaines

A great way to temporarily store herbs is to fill a glass container with water and place the harvested stems inside. This will prevent them from wilting before use. Herbs can also be stored this way in the refrigerator for a few days, just be sure to cover them loosely with a plastic bag.

More to Savor

After tending to the classics, you may feel inspired to keep on growing. If so, these recipes help make the most of additional herbs that are easy to plant in your garden, like rosemary, thyme, or bay leaf.

Mini Peach Galettes

Mini Peach Galettes

Recipe by Amanda Sudano Ramirez and Abner Ramirez

Flakey puff pastry topped with fresh, subtly sweet peaches + honey.

Herb Focaccia with Edible Flowers.

Herb Focaccia with Edible Flowers

Recipe by Elizabeth Poett

Airy bread bedecked with edible flowers baked into the surface.

Grandma’s Olives

Grandma's Olives (Aceitunas de la Abuela)

Recipe by Katie Button

Colorful, marinated olives sautéd with savory peppers + herbs.

Creamy Chicken Poblano Soup

Creamy Chicken Poblano Soup

Recipe by Joanna Gaines

Shredded chicken simmered in a creamy, blended poblano soup.

Slow-Cooked Carnitas with Homemade Flour Tortillas.

Slow-Cooked Carnitas with Homemade Flour Tortillas

Recipe by Elizabeth Poett

Tender pork shoulder slow-cooked in a flavorful spice + vegetable sauce.

Fries with Feta.

Fries with Feta

Recipe by Amanda Sudano Ramirez and Abner Ramirez

Crisp, snackable fries served with elevated toppings.

Take Good Care

From pots and planters to watering cans and shears, find gardening essentials to ensure your herbs can thrive all season long.

Grey Bergs Pot
Magnolia Green Enamel Watering Can
Garden Stool with Tools