Herb Garden Maintenance

“There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray you, love, remember” — Shakespeare, Hamlet

Herbs, whether perennial or annual, play a large part in Learning Gardens. Most Garden Plans have an herb or “sensory garden” section to help showcase the hardworking flavor boosters we love. Use this guide to help you get the most of your herb garden!

Herb Types

Perennial plants come back year after year. Annuals only live for a few months to a year. Biennials live for two years.

  • Annuals: basil, borage, caraway, chervil, cilantro (coriander), dill, cumin
  • Biennial: parsley
  • Perennial: rosemary, tarragon, thyme, fennel, lemon verbena, sorrel, mint, lavender, chives, anise hyssop, lovage, marjoram, summer savory

NOTE: The parsley family (Apiaceae) includes cilantro (coriander), fennel, anise, parsnips, carrots, celery, dill, caraway, and other plants. If you notice one of these crops has signs of pest or disease, avoid planting a family member in the same location the following season.

Seasonal Calendar


Trim and harvest woody-stemmed perennials like rosemary, lavender, thyme, oregano, sage, marjoram, Mexican mint marigold, lemon verbena, etc. This will encourage new, fuller growth.

>> Introducing Your Perennial Herb Garden

Plant cool-weather herbs like cilantro and chives. These plants dislike heat. Also, plant parsley which grows year-round (biennial).

Transplant almost all herbs (except basil, anise, fennel). Fall is the best time to transplant as you’ll have many months to harvest!


Trim and harvest cilantro, chives, and parsley. Parsley will continue growing into the spring but pinch off blossoms to extend the harvest window. Do the same for basil late into the semester to extend harvest.

>> Trim and Top Your Basil

blossoms to extendd

Plant annual herbs like basil, dill, anise, chives, and fennel early in the semester (late Feb/March). Plant perennials like Mexican mint marigold (aka Mexican tarragon) in February.

Transplant parsley, sage, tarragon, mint, rosemary, and thyme early in the semester.


Keep perennial plants watered. Water deeply 1-3 a week to ensure plants survive. Alter watering according to weather and plant response.


Introducing Your Perennial Herb Garden [YouTube | 4:22] Watch as Big Green’s Josh explains how to harvest a few common herbs to share with your students.

Trimming and Topping Basil [YouTube | 2:19] Farmer Tim teaches you how to trim and maintain your basil.

Harvesting Fennel [YouTube | 1:22] Big Green Chicago’s Sam shows you how to harvest fennel bulbs and fronds.

Big Green Tasting Activities has many recipes that use Learning Garden herbs!

Herbs in Southern Gardens [University of Georgia Cooperative Extension]