Best garden herbs for spring

We are often asked which are the best evergreen spring herbs to plant as spring arrives.  Herb plants fill a fantastic role during the early spring season, with many varieties providing a hardy, low-maintenance, useful, fragrant and attractive option within your growing space. Spring can be an unpredictable time in relation to weather conditions and in particular the temperature outside so these hardy herbs fulfil a wonderful role in the spring herb garden.

There are many herbs to grow in the UK that actually enjoy the cooler conditions of early spring, that seem to thrive under chilly clear skies, which is excellent news because we absolutely love adding these herbs to cooking on colder spring nights.

We are going to take you through some of our favourite herbs to plant out in spring, and some tips on how best to plant your herb plants at this time of year.  

A lemon verbena plug plant in the spring

When to plant spring herbs in the UK

There are so many hardy, evergreen herbs that can be planted in early spring.  Essentially, they can be planted if the ground is workable, free-draining and not frozen.  We find that the growth of these hardy varieties of herb plant can be accelerated by planting within a container under cover in a polytunnel or greenhouse, although equally, they will enjoy the cold crisp conditions outside too.

A selection of potted herbs on a spring day

Caring for evergreen, hardy herb plants during early spring

All of the herb plants mentioned on this page are fully hardy and will enjoy the chilly conditions that early spring will provide, but we would recommend taking the following steps to ensure that your herbs thrive

  • Let there be light.  Try to position your hardy herbs in a sunny position within the spring herb garden to maximise the bonus days of sunshine that your herb garden might receive.
  • Ensure that your herbs are in free draining conditions.  If your herbs are planted in containers, make sure that the containers can drain freely, checking that there are drainage holes at the base of each planter and the growing medium within the planter can also drain freely (adding grit to improve drainage can help).
  • Check in on your herbs regularly.  Find time to inspect your herbs regularly to check for potential problems before they become issues, such as checking that your herbs are not waterlogged.
  •  Rejuvenating overwintered herbs.  If you have over-wintered evergreen herb plants in containers, during early spring you can pot these varieties on into larger containers, adding fresh compost to encourage them to thrive during early spring.

A pot of thyme on a spring day

10 of the best herbs for spring

  • Variegated Lemon Thyme - this is a really attractive herb plant, with beautiful golden, variegated foliage that stands out strongly in the spring herb garden. Its aroma is sweet, strong and beautiful. We love to add this variety to savoury dishes to provide a sweet and sour flavour combination.
  • Hot and Spicy Oregano - this is a beautiful herb that combines the classic and traditional flavour of Oregano with a spicy, jalapeno-esque kick.  We absolutely love this herb, particularly adding it to dishes on chilly spring evenings.  It's perfect for adding to home-made pizza, lasagne or Mexican dishes.
  • BBQ Rosemary - this variety combines the delicious, classic flavour of Rosemary with a smoky flavour, so just imagine how useful and tasty this is to use with meat dishes as well as soups and stews.  We love adding BBQ Rosemary to the slow cooker during early spring.
  • Purple Sage - this is an evergreen and hardy variety of sage that has all of the homely, classic flavour of traditional sage within highly attractive purple foliage.  It really does look stunning in low level spring sunshine too.
  • Creeping Red Thyme - we absolutely love this low growing variety of Thyme which is culinary, providing the classic and traditional flavour of thyme within low growing, hardy and attractive foliage.  Creeping Red Thyme is potential embodied within a herb plant, using the foliage for its flavour but knowing that in only a few months time it will burst into flower.
  • Trailing Rosemary - Trailing Rosemary provides the traditional flavour of Rosemary within foliage which is slightly softer than traditional Rosemary and therefore inclined to spill and trail from the container or raised bed that it is growing within.  It really does look beautiful in your early spring herb garden.
  • Lemon Curd Thyme - this really does smell like Lemon Curd, isn't that magical?  This is a relatively low growing variety of Lemon Thyme with a flavour that is sweeter than traditional Lemon Thyme.  It can be used to provide a sweet and sour flavour combination in savoury cooking, great in a cocktail and makes a lovely herbal tea too!
  • Orange Thyme - whereas this is not as strong a flavour as Lemon Curd Thyme, Orange Thyme is arguably far more useful, providing a subtle citrus flavour that can be used to season meat or veggie stir fries.  Our customers also enjoy using Orange Thyme to slowly infuse with gin.
  • Winter Savory - this is one of our favourite herbs for the early spring season.  It's a fully hardy, evergreen and low maintenance herb plant that provides a delicious peppery flavour that is perfect for adding to soup and stew.  The aroma makes us hungry each time we work with it.
  • Thyme 'Caborn Wine and Roses' - during the summer, this variety is one of the most attractive and eye catching herbs in the growing space, as it explodes into flower and gorgeous colour.   But during the early spring period, we love the low level, hardy and robust foliage of Thyme 'Caborn Wine and Roses' as it spills and trails.

We really hope that you have enjoyed this introduction to the best garden herbs for spring.  The spring herb garden is an exciting place filled with hope and potential - we absolutely love it. Head over to our herb plant shop to get started.