9 Favorite Herbs to Grow for a Delicious Thanksgiving Feast

Stock up on your favorite fresh herbs before it's time to cook the turkey.



Many favorite recipes for a Thanksgiving dinner call for fresh herbs. But instead of rushing to market to find what you need, wouldn’t it be nice to just step outside your door? Fresh herbs not only pack a more flavorful punch than their dry counterparts, but they are easy to grow in containers. Stock up on your favorite Thanksgiving herbs now to have a fresh supply when it's time to cook your turkey. Many nurseries and even grocery stores have good-sized herb plants in 4-inch pots to put on your patio or a sunny windowsill.

Inspired to start a long-term herb patch? You'll also find planting info below to create an outdoor kitchen garden with fall's favorite flavors when the weather warms back up.

If your recipe calls for dried herbs, you can replace them with fresh at a substitution ratio of 3:1. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of dried parsley, substitute 3 teaspoons of fresh.

If your climate has mild winters, you can keep pots outside. If not, bring herbs indoors for the fall and winter. Most herbs require six hours of sunlight, so keep them in a sunny spot, preferably one with direct southern or eastern exposure. Once the containers are prepped and ready, choose which herbs to plant based on your favorite recipes. I’ve grouped suggested herbs by their soil and light requirements in case you choose to place them in the same pot.

Jocelyn H. Chilvers, original photo on Houzz

Sun-Loving, Low-Water Herbs

If I had to pick only one herb to be used for the Thanksgiving meal, it would be sage. This potent herb works for poultry, stuffing and roasted vegetables. There’s little difference in flavors between the varieties, so why not choose ones that are pretty to look at — like a purple or variegated variety?

Sage (Salvia officinalis)
USDA zones: 4 to 8
Water requirement: Medium to dry, well-drained soil
Light requirement: Full sun
Mature size: 2 to 2 1/2 feet tall and wide Rosemary is another herb common in Thanksgiving dishes. It grows easily in pots, either upright or as a trailer. It makes a good companion to sage in a pot.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
USDA zones: 8 to 10
Water requirement: Medium to dry, well-drained soil
Light requirement: Full sun
Mature size: Where winter is hardy, it may reach 3 to 6 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide

Kim Gamel, original photo on Houzz

Thyme seasons meats, soups and vegetables wonderfully. While there are many varieties, lemon thyme, with its strong citrus notes, is a personal favorite.

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
USDA zones: 5 to 9
Water requirement: Medium to dry, well-drained soil
Light requirement: Full sun
Mature size: 6 inches to 1 foot tall and wide Similar to oregano, marjoram tastes slightly sweeter and is less pungent. It’s commonly found in the dried herb mixture herbes de Provence and frequently used in sauces, salad dressings and soups.

Marjoram (Origanum majorana)
USDA zones: N/A; treat as an annual
Water requirement: Medium to dry, well-drained soil
Light requirement: Full sun
Mature size: 1 foot to 2 feet tall and wide

Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design LLC, original photo on Houzz

Not just for topping potato skins, chives are a very versatile and easy-growing herb. As a perennial in most areas of North America, it will come back each year, spreading into a larger clump. For this reason you may want to keep it in its own pot so it doesn’t crowd out other plants.

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)
USDA zones: 4 to 8
Water requirement: Medium moisture, well-drained soil
Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade
Mature size: 1 foot to 1 1/2 feet tall and wide Tarragon's strong anise-like flavor is the main flavor associated with Béarnaise sauce. Its uses are nearly limitless — it works well with fish, meats, vegetables, eggs, salads, sauces and vinegars.

Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus 'Sativa')
USDA zones: 5 to 8
Water requirement: Medium to dry, well-drained soil
Light requirement: Full sun
Mature size: 1 1/2 to 3 feet tall and wide

Kim Gamel, original photo on Houzz

Moisture-Loving, Partial-Sun Herbs Parsley isn’t just for garnishing your plate. It's rich in vitamins A and C and adds a nice mild flavor to dishes. It finishes dishes nicely when it's chopped finely and sprinkled over the top.

Italian (flat-leaf) parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
USDA zones: N/A; treat as an annual
Water requirement: Medium to moist, well-drained soil
Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade
Mature size: 9 inches to 1 foot tall and wide Basil, though found mostly in Italian food, works in many dishes. Its leaves are the primary ingredient in pesto. You can also add the leaves directly to salads for a fresh, spicy note. And, like sage, it comes in a number of ornamental varieties, so it’s both useful and attractive. (Basil needs warm weather to grow, so plants may be harder to find in fall.)

Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
USDA zones: N/A; treat as an annual
Water requirement: Medium to moist, well-drained soil
Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade
Mature size: 1 1/2 to 2 feet tall and wide

Kim Gamel, original photo on Houzz

Because mint can be invasive, it’s ideally suited for pot planting. Mint is very versatile in that it can flavor fruit and dessert dishes as well as savory dishes, like lamb chops.

Mint (Mentha)
USDA zones: 5 to 9
Water requirement: Medium to moist, well-drained soil
Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade
Mature size: 1 foot to 2 feet tall and wide

This article published originally on Houzz.

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