Written By
Published Sep. 13, 2021

Herbs are easy to grow, and can be added to food, made into tea, or used for medicinal purposes. Their varied foliage means they provide lots of visual interest too. Many smell delightful when rubbed with your hands. There’s also something about nurturing plants from seed that is good for the spirit.

There are herb gardens to suit every budget, and any kind of space. The smallest provide a few pots that can sit on a window ledge. Larger models offer high productivity while remaining relatively compact. Here are the important features in selecting the best herb garden for your home and our recommendations for your home. 

How We Picked the Best Herb Gardens

Methodology

As a keen gardener myself I tried to ensure a broad range of choice. The following were the key criteria I used in making these selections.

  • Contents: Often people buying a herb garden are trying to grow things for the first time, or have little experience. It was important for me that the kit included everything necessary, so that all the new herb gardener had to do was follow the instructions, and add water.
  • Range of herbs: The first-time herb gardener probably falls into one of two camps: those who want to try everything, or those who are a little intimidated by the thought of managing lots of different plants. As a result, I’ve included starter kits with just a few herbs, and some with a wider range.
  • Appearance: The appearance of pots or planters can have an impact if the herb garden will be displayed in a prominent position. I’ve tried to offer a representative selection of the different types available.
  • Value: Value is a difficult thing to assess. Low-cost herb garden kits may only last a single growth. Others can be replanted over and over again. Including different types allows the buyer to pick the one best suited to their budget.

The Best Herb Gardens: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Overall: Garden Republic Indoor Herb Garden Starter Kit

Ideal For Beginners

Everything the beginner needs to start growing fresh herbs for cooking. GARDEN REPUBLIC ·

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Why It Made The Cut: For those who are new to growing herbs, this is an ideal kit size. The four varieties offer interest without being overwhelming, and are herbs that cooks use all the time.

Specs: 

  • Growing Type: Soil-based
  • Herbs Included: Basil, Thyme, Parsley, Cilantro
  • Seed Type: Non-GMO, Heirloom
Pros:Cons:
  • 4 popular and versatile herbs
  • Some seeds have failed, but there can be several reasons (see note below).
  • Attractive burlap planters
  • Useful support via Messenger and growers forum
  • It’s almost impossible to choose the “best” herb garden kit because different things suit different people. We’ve chosen Garden Republic’s collection because it is a well thought-out approach for those who have no previous gardening experience.

    The burlap sacks are a nice alternative to fiber pots often found in low-cost kits, and make an attractive display. They can be placed on a convenient window ledge, or the  box can double as a tray. Bamboo plant markers are included, and a small pair of shears to harvest herbs when ready.

    Planting is simple. Seeds need to be pre-soaked. Then each soil disk is dunked in water so it expands, is then squeezed out and popped in a sack. A little is kept back. 8 or 10 seeds are sprinkled on to each, then covered with the remaining soil. Garden Republic says there are sufficient seeds for at least three rounds of planting.
    Note: A common complaint with soil-based herb garden kits is that the seeds don’t grow, or mold forms. This may be the fault of the producer, but can also be caused by storage in humid conditions. Some new gardeners water too often, causing the seeds to rot. It is vital to follow the supplier’s instructions carefully.

    Best Value: Grow Buddha Grow Your Own Gardening Kit

    Great Low-Cost Collection

    The enthusiastic cook will love this comprehensive herb collection. Grow Buddha

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    Specs: 

    • Growing Type: Soil-based
    • Herbs Included: Coriander, Basil, Parsley, Thyme, Sage, Fennel, Mint, Chives
    • Seed Type: Non-GMO, Organic

    Why It Made The Cut: More experienced growers, or beginners who are feeling adventurous, will appreciate the Grow Buddha kit which provides an excellent selection of herbs for a very modest outlay.

    Pros:Cons:
  • A wide range of popular culinary herbs
  • Pots could be more attractive
  • Biodegradable pots
  • Germination rate can disappoint
  • Very competitive price
  • The Grow Buddha herb garden kit follows the same process as the Garden Republic, but this time with eight herbs, biodegradable pots, and associated pre-fertilized soil disks. Tags and miniature shears are also included. The herbs chosen should appeal to culinary enthusiasts as they can be used with a wide range of dishes.

    Pots are basic in appearance, and don’t make a great display. Many growers won’t mind, but some competitors make more of the presentation. The growing process is the same as Garden Republic, with seeds needing to be pre-soaked before planting.

    Grow Buddha has sourced seeds from organic growers in the United Kingdom. They claim high germination rates, and most herbs have many more seeds than the pots can accommodate. A second growth would certainly be possible, though the pots may deteriorate and the soil might not have sufficient nutrients remaining. As a result, new pots and compost might need to be purchased.

    Best Hydroponic: Click and Grow Smart Herb Garden

    Soil-Free Herb Growing

    Growing herbs without soil promises easier maintenance and faster results. Click and Grow

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    Why It Made The Cut: The Click and Grow Smart Garden is an excellent introduction to the concept of hydroponics, and tries to make life as easy as possible for the herb grower.

    Specs:

    • Growing Type: Hydroponic
    • Herbs Included: Basil
    • Seed Type: Non-GMO
    Pros:Cons:
  • Compact and attractive
  • Starter set only includes basil
  • Biodegradable seed pods
  • More costly than soil-based systems
  • Over 50 plant choices available
  • Hydroponics may seem like a recent development, but the idea dates back to the 18th century. The concept is simple. Why grow in heavy soil when you can feed plants all they need with their water?

    The Click and Grow Smart Herb Garden is a user-friendly solution. Seeds come in sealed pods like coffee capsules, with “smart soil” containing all the necessary nutrients. Just drop into the three slots, peel the tab, then add water to the reservoir, which holds enough fluid for up to a month. Finally, plug the unit into a convenient outlet to power the grow light. This has its own timer so the herb plants get the right amount of light each day. It can be raised to allow room as the plants grow.

    The beauty of this system is that just like changing your coffee flavor. If you want to grow other herbs or vegetables you just order a different set of pods.

    Most Versatile: AeroGarden Bounty Indoor Hydroponic Herb Garden

    A Complete Indoor Garden

    The outstanding Aerogarden takes ease-of-use to a whole other level. AeroGarden

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    Why It Made The Cut: The Aerogarden Bounty is a high-tech approach to growing natural herbs or vegetables at home. The advanced control functions come as close to foolproof gardening as it’s possible to get.

    Specs:

    • Growing Type: Hydroponic
    • Herbs Included: Basil (Italian and Thai), Parsley (curly and Italian), Thyme, Chives, Dill, Mint
    • Seed Type: Non-GMO
    Pros:Cons:
  • Advanced controls and WiFi alerts
  • Expensive
  • Over 120 different seed varieties available
  • Adjustable grow lights
  • The hydroponic Aerogarden Bounty brings a whole new level of control and automation to indoor herb growing. The grow deck has space for up to nine plants, and while the supplied collection are all herbs, there are over 120 different seed pods available. There are numerous vegetables, and even fruit.

    The pod system is similar to that used in the Click and Grow, though in this case nutrients— from Miracle Gro—are added separately. The grow lights are a more advanced version that can be adjusted for brightness, anywhere from full power to just 30 percent. They can also be raised to allow for 24 inches of plant height.

    Other control functions are extensive. The high resolution panel has step-by-step set-up instructions, growing tips, and tells you water level. It will also let you know when feeding is required. It’s compatible with Alexa smart home systems, and it even has a vacation mode so your herb plants take care of themselves while you are away.

    Best For Kids: Back to the Roots Water Garden

    Herb Garden and Fish Tank

    This is more than just a herb planter, it’s a whole ecosystem. Back to the Roots

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    Why It Made The Cut: The Back to the Roots Water Garden is a unique approach where plants and fish coexist. It recreates a natural environment at home, providing interest and education.

    Specs:

    • Growing Type: Aquaponic
    • Herbs Included: Radish, Wheat Grass (see description below)
    • Seed Type: Non-GMO, organic
    Pros:Cons:
  • A completely interactive ecosystem
  • Only for one or two fish
  • Educational and fun for kids
  • Fish feeding is a little awkward
  • Easy to find space for
  • The Back to the Roots Water Garden takes the principle of hydroponics one step further. In the aquaponic system, the plants grow in water that is fertilized by fish waste. In return, the plants filter the water for the fish, keeping it cleaner.

    The tank itself holds three gallons of water. That’s enough for one or two fish. Bettas (also known as samurai fighting fish) are recommended because they are small and very colorful. A water circulating pump is also included.

    The tank lid holds the plants. Although wheatgrass and radish are provided, a pack containing basil, cilantro, oregano, parsley ,and mint is available, as are vegetable seeds. Most are intended to be used as microgreens.

    The Back to the Roots Water Garden requires a little more work than some hydroponics. The fish need to be fed, and the tank cleaned periodically because the plants can’t remove solid matter like uneaten food. Nevertheless it is a fascinating experiment for parents to share with their kids.

    Things to Consider Before Buying a Herb Garden

    Herb gardens are usually very straightforward. However, there are a few things that should be taken into consideration when making your choice.

    Ease of Use

    Experienced gardeners won’t have any challenges with herb garden kits, but those who have never grown anything will want to check the contents. “Soil”-based kits generally have a disk of growing medium that simply drops into a pot. Seeds may need to be pre-soaked. The necessary steps to get things up and running are usually reasonably clear from the description.

    Hydroponics generally grow in water with nutrient-rich additives. However, while they don’t use soil they might include sand or gravel. Some hydroponic herb gardens are automated, and can alert you to watering and feeding needs. While it can’t guarantee results, it does make plants easier to look after.

    Visual Appeal

    Once the herbs start to grow they become the focus of attention. However, the appearance of the pots or planter can still have a big impact. Some pots are very basic. Others offer a rustic appeal. Hydroponic units are usually sleek and modern. The wide variety available means there’s something to suit most types of decor.

    Reusability

    Soil-based herb gardens are often intended as single-use items. Pots may be biodegradable, which is great for composting or recycling but they may not be strong enough to be reused. Burlap sacks with plastic liners are charming, but not particularly durable. Additionally, herbs may outgrow their initial pots, and need to be planted into larger ones. Some varieties of basil and mint, for example, can grow very quickly.

    Hydroponic models are designed to be reused, and their makers offer dozens of different seeds for you to experiment with. It is also possible to grow vegetables and fruit. The makers choose plant types that won’t outgrow the confines of the unit under normal circumstances.

    Seed Type

    Most herb garden kits include seeds that are non-GMO or GMO-free. In other words they are not a genetically modified organism. To qualify as organic, as outlined by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), extra steps are necessary. So non-GMO seeds are not necessarily organic. If that’s important to you, you need to check.

    Heirloom seeds are ones that have been grown naturally for a minimum of 50 years. This does not mean they are organic.

    Hybrid seeds sound like they have been tinkered with, but can be perfectly natural. If two plants are cross-bred to enhance flavor, for example, the result is a hybrid. It’s something gardeners have done for hundreds of years. Hybrids can be organic and non-GMO free, but you should check the details.

    FAQs

    Q: Do herb gardens like sun or shade?

    Most prefer plenty of light. Some, like mint, parsley and tarragon, don’t mind a little shade, but a sunny position for your herb garden will produce best results. If that is difficult, a hydroponic system that provides its own light is the answer.

    Q: Are herb gardens worth it?

    Absolutely. If space is limited you may not be able to grow sufficient for all your culinary needs, but aromatic herbs smell wonderful, and there’s nothing quite like picking fresh herbs the moment before they are needed.

    Q:

    Do indoor herb gardens work?

    They certainly do. Most herbs will thrive indoors with sufficient light and regular watering. Overwatering can cause problems, so be sure to follow the maker’s instructions carefully.

    Final Thoughts

    The Garden Republic herb garden kit offers a simple but attractive introduction to traditional herb growing that can sit on a window ledge or any other sunny position within the home. It is an inexpensive way for beginners to learn about growing their own herbs. For those who want consistent production we would recommend a hydroponic system. The model from Click and Grow is very affordable, and can provide you with fresh herbs all year round for very little effort.

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