Herbs are at the flavor-packed center of many of our favorite summer dishes, but at $4 a pop for a tiny bunch crammed in a plastic clamshell, they can add bulk to your grocery budget. Fortunately, many common herbs are easily—and definitely more affordably—grown in containers or beds.
Plants and seeds are available at local garden centers, online (you can try thegrowers-exchange.com), or even at the supermarket: Stores often carry potted herbs in the produce section for the same price as a few snipped leaves.
We've chosen a mix of favorite herbs, both everyday and gourmet, to grow on your own that save you money and expand your culinary options.
OREGANO Grow this sprawling, fuzzy-leaved Mediterranean herb as a pretty "spiller" in a flowerpot arrangement. It prefers well-drained soil and full sun. Look for unusual varieties to add to your growing collection, such as 'Hopley's Purple' or 'Hot & Spicy.'
DILL You can grow these fluffy, full plants for the same price as one small pouch of cut leaves. It thrives in full sun but can also take part shade and cooler temps. Give it plenty of room to grow, and water frequently. Try the compact 'Fernleaf' variety for containers.
CHIVES Finely mince and sprinkle this onion relative in salads or atop soups for a flavorful bite. Their purple globular blossoms are also edible. You can go beyond basic with garlic chives, which sport a slightly different flavor in their flat leaves and white blooms.
TARRAGON Dark green, ribbony leaves lend a slight anise flavor to sauces and dressings. Prefers well-drained soil, morning sun, and steady watering. Look for French tarragon instead of Russian. In hot, humid climates, substitute Mexican tarragon for a similar flavor.
BASIL It's easy to start from seed and a prolific producer that thrives in full sun and soil with plenty of moisture. The gold standard for this garden great is 'Genovese,' an emerald variety of sweet basil with especially good flavor. Learn more about our favorite basil varieties.