Belgian offers fresh potted herbs throughout the year, with our largest selection available in April, May and June. Herbs are often planted in gardens, flowerbeds or planters around the end of May; be sure to protect from frost and cold temperatures until overnight temperatures rise over 10 C. A great spot for outdoor herbs is near your patio or deck, making it easy to snip a few stems and add to your favourite dishes! Herbs will grow rapidly over the summer months when provided with full or partial sun. Allow the soil to dry slightly between watering and fertilize regularly. Use your herbs throughout the summer and fall or harvest and dry them for the winter months.
Herbs can also be grown indoors through the fall, winter and spring months! Just make sure that they get plenty of light, water them as needed and fertilize occasionally. Some people prefer to start herbs by seed, which can also be done successfully year-round. Our seed racks are also an excellent source for many different herb varieties; available January through August, with simplified selection the rest of the year.
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Success with Herbs – Care & Tips:
Click Here to Download our Herb Care Pamphlet!
Light: Herbs require a Full Sun to Partial Sun location. Outdoors, most herbs prefer to be planted in a location where they will receive at least 4 hours of direct light.
Watering: Herbs in planter pots or window boxes will need water more often then herbs planted in the garden. Allow containers to dry slightly then water thoroughly. Never let the pots sit in water and avoid allowing them to dry completely. During the summer when days are long and hot, you may need to water pots and planters more frequently.
When planting your herbs in the garden, water regularly when they are freshly planted, then as necessary to encourage roots to grow and the plant to become established.
Fertilizer: There are many different types of fertilizer for herbs. We recommend using an all-purpose water-soluble fertilizer every two weeks for outdoor herbs in the garden or in pots. You can also use a slow release garden food, applying this once or twice in the growing season. For garden planting of herbs manure can be used, as well. Fish emulsion fertilizer is another alternative for feeding your herbs; just follow the directions on the container.
Pruning: Trim herbs to maintain nicely shaped plants, then use the cuttings in the kitchen or on the barbeque! Some herbs will benefit from removing flowers as they start to grow; this allows your plant to put more energy towards growing more leaves that you can use for cooking, rather than growing seeds that you may not require. Read more about using fresh herbs in our Tip section below.
Repotting: When repotting your herbs into containers outside, use a quality potting mix. Simply remove the plants from the pots, set it in the new pot and fill the remaining area with soil. When planting outdoors in the garden or flower bed, prepare the soil first by adding peat moss and manure, if necessary. Black earth or top soil are great to add more richness to the area as needed. 3 way mix is another great option for the garden, as it has a mix of manure, loam and earth.
Herb Tips: Protect herbs from frost; do not plant outdoors until the end of May when the chance of frost has passed. For more information see our annual frost tips.
Use your herbs though out the summer and fall, or harvest and dry them for the winter months.
Most herbs do not adjust well to moving indoors after spending a summer outside. For more information see our annual frost tips.
Growing Herbs Indoors
Light: Herbs require a Full to Partial Sun location. When growing herbs indoors, place them in a sunny window where they will receive a minimum of 3 hours of direct sun every day. Try to give your herbs as much light as possible during the winter months, when the days become short and overcast.
Watering: Allow herbs to dry slightly then water thoroughly. Never let the pots sit in water and avoid allowing them to dry completely. During the summer when days are long and hot, you may need to water pots and planters more frequently.
Fertilizer: There are many different types of fertilizer for herbs. Use an all-purpose water-soluble fertilizer once a month for indoor herbs. Fish emulsion fertilizer is another alternative for feeding your herbs, just following the directions on the container.
Pruning: Trim herbs to maintain nicely shaped plants, then use the cuttings in the kitchen or on the barbeque! This will allow your plant to put more energy towards creating more leaves that you can use for cooking, and keep it compact and bushy rather than growing too tall and floppy.
Repotting: When repotting your herbs for indoors use a quality potting mix. Simply remove the plants from the pots, set it in the new pot and fill the remaining area with soil. For individual plants choose a pot that is no more than one size larger then the current pot size, as planting into an oversized pot indoors could lead to root rot. Mixed pots are also great indoors: choose 3 or 4 of your favourite herbs for a shallow or bowl-shaped pot which measures about 10” in diameter.
Herb Tips: It is best to start with fresh herb when planting indoors, as most herbs do not adjust well to moving indoors after spending a summer outside. During the winter you may find your herbs grow well for a number of weeks but then deteriorate; this is often due to the short days and overall lack of light. For best results, plan on having a rotation of herbs through the winter months, replacing every couple of months as needed.
Uses for Herbs
Fresh herbs have many uses! Not only do they look great but are fantastic for cooking, making teas, throwing in a salad and using on the barbeque.
Culinary Herbs – basil, bay laurel, chervil, chives, coriander/cilantro, dill, fennel, garlic, lemongrass, lovage, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, savory, tarragon, thyme, lemon verbena
Tea Herbs – catnip, chamomile, lemon balm, lemongrass, mint, rosemary, stevia, lemon verbena
Salad Herbs – basilo, chervil, chives, coriander/cilantro, dill, french sorrel, garlic, lovage, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, savory, tarragon
BBQ Herbs – basil, chives, garlic, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon, thyme
Air drying herbs is easy and inexpensive. To preserve the best flavour, allow them to dry naturally or use a food dehydrator. Cut a few branches of your favorite herbs, shake to remove unwanted dirt or insects, then hang upside down in a warm airy room for a few weeks until all the moisture is gone and the leaves are crispy. Once your herbs are fully dried, label and store them in air tight containers and place in a cool, dry location away from sunlight. Store whole and crush them as you need them to preserve the flavour.
Remember: 1 tsp crushed dried leaves = approx. 1 tbsp of fresh herbs!
Attracting Hummingbirds & Butterflies with Herbs
Butterflies are attracted by scent, and some flowers send out a more pleasing perfume than others. Hummingbirds are attracted visually, and especially like certain shades of red. Many red coloured flowers are good sources of nectar.
Butterflies and Hummingbirds may appear as soon as your flowers open, or it may take them a while to find your garden. If you don’t see them there’s no need to worry, simply enjoy the beautiful flowers in the meantime!
A majority of the plants that attract Butterflies and Hummingbirds prefer full sun for most of the day, so it is best to choose a full sun location for your garden. If your location is partial shade, afternoon sun would be preferred over morning sun. Shade created from a tree is suitable, as long as there is more sun than shade.
Attracting Hummingbirds and Butterflies with herbs is easy, inexpensive and yummy! As well as your perennials and annuals, the bright colours, textures, and scents of herbs are very effective attractants. Herbs are a great source of nutrition for your visiting friends, and can be started by seed or purchased as mature plants.
Hummingbirds are attracted to some herb flowers, such as Sage and Hyssop. While Butterflies are also attracted to herb flowers, they are moreso drawn to the sweet scents of certain herbs to lay their eggs and then eat as caterpillars. Providing host plants for butterfly eggs will ensure caterpillars in your garden, which will then turn into butterflies.
Tips about Butterflies:
Butterflies are the adult stage of an insect, the caterpillar. You may not like caterpillars but you have to remember: *no caterpillars = no butterflies*
If you use insecticides regularly in your garden you are probably killing off the beautiful butterflies you are trying to attract. You can plan for caterpillars being in your garden by planting a food source for them. This is fun to do with kids so they can watch for caterpillars and learn the process of how they change into butterflies.