Aromatic herbs – 10 scented herbs to include in your kitchen garden (2023)

Aromatic herbs appeal to many of our senses, and are both decorative and practical. They can enhance any garden with their fragrant, colorful, flavorsome and textural foliage and flowers.

Alongside their visual and culinary appeal, the fragrance of scented herbs can have an impact on our emotional wellbeing, too. For instance, lavender is believed to help relieve stress and promote relaxation, while uplifting, fresh mint is used to improve focus.

Versatile plants, there are aromatic herbs for most growing conditions and so there are many ways to include them in your garden ideas – whether that is among ornamental plants in beds and borders, planted in a dedicated herb garden, lining pathways or filling containers.

How to grow aromatic herbs

Position aromatic herbs where you can fully appreciate their beautiful fragrance. ‘The great thing about scent is it is very evocative,’ explains herb expert Jekka McVicar VMH of Jekka’s Herb Farm (opens in new tab).

Most aromatic herbs like a sunny spot, but some, such as mint, lemon balm or chamomile, will tolerate partial shade. 'Many herbs are native to the Mediterranean and thrive in full sun and well-drained soil,' advises gardening expert Melinda Myers (opens in new tab).

For the best way to enjoy fragrance from scented herbs in your backyard, ‘plant them close to paths, or in elevated positions where you catch their scent as you brush past; in a sunny, sheltered courtyard to fill the air with their aroma; in a pot by the back door, or on a windowsill,’ advises Heather Birkett, senior gardener at the National Trust’s Acorn Bank (opens in new tab) in Cumbria.

Aromatic herbs generally prefer free-draining soil, although the likes of mint will survive in damp soil. ‘The soil can be ameliorated to create more or less free-draining conditions,’ says Heather, for example either by digging in horticultural grit if it’s heavy clay soil, or adding in organic matter to sandy soil.

There are many herb garden ideas to try, and you can also grow tender plants in pots to bring undercover over winter. For potted scented herbs ‘use a soil-based compost, which holds water better in summer,’ adds Jekka.

10 of the best aromatic herbs to grow

'Scented herbs are particularly engaging and accessible for anyone to have a go at growing and therefore provide a brilliant way into gardening,' explains Heather Birkett.

There is more choice among aromatic herbs that like a position in full sun, but there are those that will thrive in light shade, too. 'Plus half the fun of gardening is trying things out and learning about what works in your own garden,' says Heather.

1. Lemon verbena – Aloysia citrodora

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(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

Lemon verbena forms an elegant shrub that can grow up to 6 feet tall and wide. Its leaves release their refreshing fragrance each time they are touched, so beside a pathway is a good spot for planting.

This herb likes full sun and fertile soil with excellent drainage, and is good for container growing, too, so one to add to the list of herb planter ideas.

'Lemon verbena is one of my favorite aromatic herbs,' says Jekka McVicar. 'It smells of lemon sherbet candy, and you can have a leaf in your pocket all day and it will lift your spirits. It is exceptionally good and makes the most extraordinary tea,' she adds.

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2. Mint – mentha sp

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(Image credit: National Trust Images / Robert Morris)

Mint plants cope well in sun or light shade and can tolerate moist soil. They have a characteristic strong fragrance in the leaves and stems and can produce beautiful flowers of purple spikes, although regular harvesting may reduce flowering.

'There are many varieties of this aromatic herb to choose from – chocolate mint, orange mint, eau de cologne mint, apple mint, grapefruit mint, Moroccan mint, ginger mint, spearmint, and so on, and each has a subtlety different fragrance,' says Heather.

'Mint can be invasive and should be contained to prevent it from tasking over your garden,' she adds, so make sure you know all the ins and outs of how to grow mint before adding it to your garden.

3. Rosemary – Salvia rosmarinus

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(Image credit: Jekka McVicar)

If you have a small garden, the upright, arching habits of Salvia rosmarinus, a small to medium woody shrub, are much easier to grow.

Jekka McVicar recommends 'Rampant Boule', while Heather also champions Salvia rosmarinus ‘Foxtail’, 'which will gracefully drape itself over the sides of a round pot. It produces silvered fragrant leaves, with each stem clothed with white, pink or purple flowers in May to June.'

Choose a sunny spot for growing rosemary , and it is fairly drought tolerant once established, although it can be vulnerable in very cold winters.

'This scented herb is only perennial in zones 8 to 10, but potted rosemary can be taken indoors in the winter in colder regions, then brought back outside when the weather warms,' say the experts at Bonnie Plants (opens in new tab).

'The lovely thing about rosemary is it can also have a second flowering in fall, so is not just beneficial to our sense of wellbeing, but also to bees, especially bumblebees, as it is a late nectar plant,' adds Jekka.

4. Chamomile – Chamaemelum nobile

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(Image credit: National Trust Images/ James Dobson)

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With its low-growing, spreading habit, chamomile forms a mat of pretty yellow and white daisy-like flowers, so is good for pavement cracks. 'The fragrant leaves release the scent when rubbed or trodden on, and cope with occasional foot traffic,' says Heather.

Believed to have calming and soothing properties, chamomile is widely known for use in tea. These aromatic herb plants like sun or light shade and make a great addition to small vegetable garden 'to attract beneficial insects and pollinators to boost harvests and keep veggies healthy,' say the experts at Bonnie Plants.

5. Lavender – Lavandula

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(Image credit: Jekka McVicar)

Lavender is one of the most quintessential aromatic herbs for the garden, and fantastic for bees and butterflies.

There are many varieties to choose from, but if you have a smaller garden, Jekka McVicar advises angustifolia and intermedia varieties. Lavandula angustifolia grows to about 23 - 27 inches (60-75 cm) in diameter, whereas intermedias grow to about 40 inches (1 meter).

For success in growing lavender it need the correct conditions. 'It is best grown in light soil which is well drained and free from damp soggy winters. Adding sand or gravel can help improve the soil . Pick a dry, sunny and open position. The shrub can be grown from seed sown in spring but is also a great herb to grow from cuttings and layering as well as root division,' explains Flora Scott, head gardener and trainee herbalist at Herbs for Healing (opens in new tab).

Lavender also needs careful pruning. 'Cut it back by an ⅛ in the 8th month,' advises Jekka McVicar. 'Stay within the green and don’t go into old wood. This is so important to do, as now we often have deluges of rain and if you have left the old flower heads on the plant, the heavy rain will split the plant in half. By pruning it, you make the plant into a dome shape, which helps to protect it.'

6. Fennel – Foeniculum vulgare

(Image credit: National Trust Images / Stephen Robson)

Fennel is a short-lived, herbaceous scented herb.

'Each year it will produce statuesque stems about 6ft (180cm) tall carrying large umbels of small soft yellow flowers, and the stem, leaf and seed all smell strongly of aniseed,'' says Heather Birkett.

Grow fennel in a sunny position, in fertile but well drained soil. 'If planted in a spot where it is happy, it will self seed – providing new plants to continue forward with,' says Heather.

Although many gardeners enjoy growing fennel as a tender perennial in zones 6 to 10, it is usually grown as an annual, says the experts at Bonnie Plants.

7. Lemon balm – Melissa officinalis

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(Image credit: National Trust Images / Robert Morris)

Lemon Balm has a highly fragrant leaf and produces small white or pale purple flowers.

'This herbaceous perennial copes well with regular harvesting thanks to its vigorous growth habit, and there are golden-leafed and variegated forms available which light up a garden border,' says Heather.

This aromatic herb does well in sun or partial shade, in fertile, well-drained soil. It is particularly good for flavoring teas, lemonades and syrups.

'Lemon balm can be propagated from seeds, cuttings or by dividing in the spring. Seeds can be sown indoors from early spring into plug trays, and covered with perlite and then potted on,' says Flora Scott.

8. Garlic chives – Allium tuberosum

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(Image credit: Getty Images)

A rarity among the family of scented herbs, garlic chives grow from a bulb as opposed to seeds.

'The herb has distinctive flat leaves instead of round, and beautiful white spherical flowerheads in late summer to fall – later than most alliums,' says Heather.

Garlic chives need moist but well drained soil in full sun.

9. Dill – Anethum graveolens

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(Image credit: National Trust Images / Stephen Robson)

An annual aromatic herb, dill is easily grown from seed each year.

'It has aromatic grey green leaves with umbels of small yellow flowers and a wonderful strong aniseed scent,' says Heather.

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Make sure you do your research beforehand so you know how to grow dill. It likes to be grown in well-drained soil in a sunny position and should be planted in spring, or fall in frost-free climates, say the experts at Bonnie Plants.

10. Lemon thyme – Thymus 'culinary lemon'

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(Image credit: Jekka McVicar)

With its faintly lemon scented aroma and attractive foliage, lemon thyme makes a lovely addition to the garden.

It is easy to get to grips with how to grow thyme , and this variety in particular is 'fantastic to cook with and use with fish, chicken and vegetables,' says Jekka McVicar.

Not only is this aromatic herb attractive to us, but lemon thyme is also wonderful for bees and butterflies, who are drawn to its tiny flowers.

It is ideal for forming a groundcover, or planted along the edges of a path or patio.

What are the most aromatic herbs?

Some of the most aromatic herbs are included in the list above, including rosemary, thyme, mint, lavender and fennel.

The trick with getting the most from scented herbs is to position them carefully in your backyard so that you can enjoy their aroma as you walk past, or when you are sitting out and enjoying the sunshine on a patio or terrace.

Consider, too, using scented herbs to line pathways leading to your front door, or position them in pots either side of your door so that visitors can enjoy their fragrance as well.

Which scented herbs also produce beautiful flowers?

There are some aromatic herbs that are also admired for their beautiful flowers. The following are suggested inclusions from Flora Scott.

Red Bergamot (Monarda didyma) – large red flowers grow in whorls with a spicy aroma. The flowers dry a beautiful maroon color and make a good edition to potpourri.

Fennel Flowers (Foeniculum vulgare) – large flat umbels of small bright yellow flowers that smell like aniseed. The aromatic seeds can be saved and dried to use in the kitchen.

Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) frothy clusters of creamy white flowers that smell strongly of sweet almonds and honey.

Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium) – tall spikes of strongly peppermint scented mauve flowers growing in clusters around stem.

How do I dry scented herbs?

Perennial and shrubby herbs can be dried for use through the year.

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Harvest sprigs in bunches, in the morning, lie them down in a dry, well-ventilated space for a few days, such as a greenhouse, then tie together in bunches and hang them upside down to completely dry out. Store the dried herbs in clearly labelled glass jars.

'If want to dry lavender, do so just before the flowers open, not when they are open, as if you pick them when they are open the flowers will fall off,' advises Jekka McVicar.

FAQs

What are some aromatic herbs? ›

Aromatic Herbs
  • Peppermint.
  • Chamomile.
  • Lemon verbena.
  • Rooibos.
  • Lemon balm.
  • Rosemary.
  • Echinacea.
  • Hibiscus.

What is a nice smelling herbs? ›

Scented herbs include the popular fragrances of lavender, sage and lemon balm. Besides cooking, fragrant herbs plants can be used for potpourri, oils, and lotions, or just to enjoy a heady whiff as you work in the garden.

What are the 20 herbs? ›

20 Essential Herbs and Spices
  • Thyme.
  • Basil.
  • Oregano.
  • Rosemary.
  • Fennel Seed.
  • Bay Leaves.
  • Chili Powder.
  • Smoked Paprika.
7 Jul 2020

What are the 13 herbs? ›

He loved nature and intensively studied the curative powers of herbs, so much so that by 1940 he had found the ideal recipe for a lozenge made up of 13 herbs. They are ribwort-plantain, lady's mantle, elder, marsh mallow, peppermint, thyme, sage, cowslip, horehound, burnet, speedwell, mallow and yarrow.

What are good aromatics? ›

Commonly-used aromatics include leeks, onions, carrots and celery, but the list goes on. Fennel, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, scallions, spicy chili peppers or bell peppers, bay leaves, thyme, parsley and peppercorns are all aromatic ingredients.

What are three common aromatics? ›

The main aromatics are benzene, toluene and the xylenes; they are used as starting materials for a wide range of consumer products.

What is the number 1 herb in the world? ›

Turmeric is certainly the most powerful herb on the planet. It is from the ginger family that is primarily grown in India, China and Indonesia. It contains various compounds with medicinal properties. For example, turmeric contains Curcumin which is a powerful antioxidant that boosts the body's own antioxidant enzymes.

What 3 herbs grow well together? ›

Moisture loving herbs such as tarragon, cilantro, and basil should be grouped together. Parsley should be included as well, but be aware that parsley is a biennial and will die back after two years.

What are the 7 smells? ›

Scientists have classified odors into 10 basic categories: fragrant, woody/resinous, minty/peppermint, sweet, chemical, popcorn, lemon, fruity (non-citrus), pungent and decayed.

What are the 27 herbs and spices? ›

The recipe of Bénédictine is a commercial secret, but it is known to contain 27 herbs and spices, of which the following 21 are publicly known: angelica, hyssop, juniper, myrrh, saffron, mace, fir cones, aloe, arnica, lemon balm, tea, thyme, coriander, clove, lemon, vanilla, orange peel, honey, red berries, cinnamon, ...

What are herbs give 10 examples? ›

Herbs are those plants whose stems are soft green and perishable. They have a very short life span of one or two seasons. Herbs are Wheat, Paddy (Rice), Cabbage, Tomato, Mustard, Radish, Sunflower, Carrot, Ginger, and Turnip.

What are the 15 herbs and spices? ›

Top 15 Herbs and Spices for Your Kitchen:
  • Coarse Unrefined Sea Salt.
  • Black peppercorns and grinder- fresh pepper is a must when finishing a dish.
  • Rosemary.
  • The 3 C's: Cumin, Chili powder, Cayenne.
  • Smoked Paprika- smell it and thank me later.
  • Oregano.
  • Garlic.
  • Red chili pepper flakes.

What is the king of all herbs? ›

Basil - the king of herbs, the all-purpose plant. Bursting with flavor, a staple of Mediterranean cuisine and a trusted cure for many ailments. Worshipped as a saint in India, venerated as guardian of the dead in ancient Egypt. Here, hidden deep inside its leaf cells, lies the key to its flavor and healing qualities.

What are the 3 sacred herbs? ›

Cedar, sage, sweetgrass, and tobacco are sacred to Indigenous people across North America. These herbs are used to treat many illnesses and are crucial in many ceremonies.

What herbs should not be planted together? ›

Which herbs do not go together?
HerbNot compatible with
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)Coriander (Coriandrum sativum), dill (Anethum graveolens), cress (Lepidium sativum), marjoram (Origanum majorana), caraway (Carum carvi)
Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)Camomile (Matricaria chamomilla)
7 more rows

What smells last the longest? ›

Musk and woody families frequently feature among the fragrance notes that last the longest. Particularly if they're present in the base of a perfume. This is because the oils tend to evaporate at a slower rate than those with a fruity or floral base, meaning they're noticeable for longer.

What is the most valuable herb? ›

Sargol Saffron

Saffron is the world's most expensive herb and spice, depending on the form in which it's used.

What are the big 5 aromatics? ›

If you've been cooking for some time, you've probably noticed that most recipes – whether it's a sauce, soup, or saute – starts with some combination of garlic, onions, ginger, celery, or carrots. These are some of the most common aromatics in the food world and are used across many types of ethnic cuisines.

What is the most aromatic spice? ›

Cumin: Cumin or Jeera is used whole or in powder form. It is an essential spice with a bitter taste and a very overpowering aroma. One of the main flavouring agents in Indian food, it is used in low quantities due to its powerful taste that enhances the dish.

What is the most versatile herb? ›

10 Versatile Culinary Herbs to Include in Your Garden
  • BASIL.
  • ROSEMARY.
  • THYME.
  • PARSLEY.
  • MINT.
  • CILANTRO.
  • SAGE.
  • OREGANO.

What vegetables are considered aromatic? ›

Popular aromatic vegetables include onions, shallots, scallions, celery, garlic, carrots, leeks, and bell peppers. For fast-cooking recipes, dice the veggies, and for slow-cooking recipes, like stock, you can use large cuts.

What are aromatic plants? ›

Aromatic plants are those that contain aromatic compounds – basically essential oils that are volatile at room temperature. These essential oils are odorous, volatile, hydrophobic and highly concentrated compounds. They can be obtained from flowers, buds, seeds, leaves, twigs, bark, wood, fruits and roots [2].

What is aromatic and examples? ›

Aromatic compounds are chemical compounds that consist of conjugated planar ring systems accompanied by delocalized pi-electron clouds in place of individual alternating double and single bonds. They are also called aromatics or arenes. The best examples are toluene and benzene.

What is the mother of all herbs? ›

Mother Of Herbs plant, Coleus amboinicus, is also known as All Purpose Herb, Cuban Oregano and Fruit Salad Herb. A succulent herb with very attractive white/green leaves and lavender flowers. The aromatic leaves are a flavouring for meat, vegetables or chopped and toasted on bread and butter.

What are the top 10 herbs and spices? ›

The following 10 culinary herbs and spices show particular promise for promoting good health.
  • Sweet, Sweet Cinnamon. ...
  • Hot Pepper. ...
  • Fields of Garlic. ...
  • Oh, Oregano. ...
  • La Vie en Rosemary. ...
  • Exotic Ginger. ...
  • Cool Mint. ...
  • Verdant Basil.

What can you not plant with lavender? ›

What plants should you avoid pairing with lavender? Because lavender loves full sun and dry conditions, it doesn't do well with perennials or annuals that prefer shade. Plants such as some types of impatiens, hosta, camellias and fuschia are not as drought-resistant, so their need for water may drown out lavender.

What are good herb combinations? ›

Herb combinations
  • basil - with chives, chilli, garlic, oregano.
  • bay - with parsley, thyme, garlic, oregano, marjoram.
  • chilli - with coriander, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, mint, oregano.
  • chives - with basil, garlic, tarragon.
  • dill - with chives, garlic, parsley, tarragon.

What is the nicest smell in the world? ›

But vanilla has now been crowned the world's favourite smell by a team of international experts. Scientists from the University of Oxford and the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm presented 10 scents to 235 people from nine different cultures around the world.

What is the most delicious smell? ›

The World's Favorite Scent Is Vanilla, According to Science.

Which flower has the strongest fragrance? ›

Lily. Lilies are known for being one of the strongest-smelling flowers around. These large, dramatic flowers come in a range of colors and are perfect for any occasion.

What is the cleanest smell? ›

More than 90 years after he created Pine Sol, the scent of pine is still the number one ranked scent for Americans when it comes to “disinfecting, germ-killing, & deep cleaning/de-greasing,” according to a 2020 survey by the world's largest private fragrance and flavor house, Firmenich.

What smell do mice hate? ›

Peppermint oil, cayenne pepper, pepper and cloves.

Mice are said to hate the smell of these. Lightly soak some cotton balls in oils from one or more of these foods and leave the cotton balls in places where you've had problems with mice.

What herb make you happy? ›

7 Herbs That Will Boost Your Mood
  • Rhodiola. You might know Rhodiola by its other names; arctic or golden root. ...
  • St John's Wort. Dubbed “the sunshine herb,” by holistic health gurus, St John's Wort is often used to combat symptoms of depression. ...
  • Mucuna Pruriens. ...
  • Holy Basil. ...
  • Licorice. ...
  • Ginseng. ...
  • Lemon Balm.
2 Aug 2018

What are the four fine herbs? ›

Fines herbes (French: [fin. z‿ɛʁb]) designates an important combination of herbs that forms a mainstay of French cuisine. The canonical fines herbes of French haute cuisine comprise finely chopped parsley, chives, tarragon, and chervil.

What is the healthiest herb to grow? ›

9 Healthy Seasoning Herbs You Can Grow in Your Garden
  1. Rosemary. Rosemary is a great addition to barbecue, or any other meats cooked at high heat, because of its anti-carcinogenic effects. ...
  2. Mint. Swap your coffee for mint tea. ...
  3. Basil. This must-have in Italian dishes provides immune support. ...
  4. Cilantro. ...
  5. Sage. ...
  6. Dill. ...
  7. Thyme. ...
  8. Oregano.
21 May 2021

What is the happiest smell? ›

Citrus scents are often cited as some of the most pleasant smells and have been shown to boost energy and reduce stress. This is excellent news for perfume lovers, as citrus scents are frequently used in the top notes of your favourite fragrances.

What is a smell that everyone likes? ›

The odours were chosen to be representative of stuff that is found all over the world, from sweaty feet to ripe fruits, and the results were published in the journal Current Biology. And the most popular smell was… vanilla! That's right.

What are 10 of the most common herbs used in cooking? ›

Here are some common cooking herbs you can find in many kitchens
  • Basil.
  • Bay leaf.
  • Cilantro.
  • Dill.
  • Lemongrass.
  • Marjoram.
  • Oregano.
  • Parsley.
13 Jun 2018

Which herb is called the king of herbs? ›

Basil - the king of herbs, the all-purpose plant. Bursting with flavor, a staple of Mediterranean cuisine and a trusted cure for many ailments. Worshipped as a saint in India, venerated as guardian of the dead in ancient Egypt. Here, hidden deep inside its leaf cells, lies the key to its flavor and healing qualities.

What are 10 herbs for? ›

Ten Herbs is a line of natural supplements that help fight constipation. Its original effective formula dates back to 1975. These 100% natural origin products are made up of a mixture of powdered herbs pressed into tablets that help promote bowel function.

What are the 10 herbs that heal? ›

A Guide to Common Medicinal Herbs
  • Chamomile. (Flower) Considered by some to be a cure-all, chamomile is commonly used in the U.S. for anxiety and relaxation. ...
  • Echinacea. (Leaf, stalk, root) ...
  • Feverfew. (Leaf) ...
  • Garlic. (Cloves, root) ...
  • Ginger. (Root) ...
  • Gingko. (Leaf) ...
  • Ginseng. (Root) ...
  • Goldenseal. (Root, rhizome)

What is the magic golden herb? ›

Turmeric, also known as the “Golden Spice of India” is a root that is easily identified by its golden colour. It is a warm and slightly bitter spice that belongs to the ginger family.

What herb makes you happy? ›

Many adaptogenic herbs can help us feel happier, less stressed, and less anxious. The top herbs for happiness include holy basil, St. John's wort, chamomile, ashwagandha, ginseng, Rhodiola, lemon balm, Mucuna, saffron, and maca.

Which is queen of herbs? ›

History of Tulsi

Known as “The Incomparable One,” “Mother Medicine of Nature” and “The Queen of Herbs,” holy basil is revered as an “elixir of life.”

What is a royal herb? ›

Basil, the royal herb.

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