Skip to Main Content

LuEsther T. Mertz Library
Plant & Research Guides

Library Home Plant Help Research Support All Guides

Herb Garden: Herbs to Try in Your Garden

Origanum 'Kent Beauty'; photo courtesy of Flickr cc/Quinn Dombrowski
Origanum 'Kent Beauty is an ornamental oregano'; photo courtesy of Flickr cc/Quinn Dombrowski

Here are just a few herbal celebrities suggested for your garden to get you exploring all the varieties available.

Botanical Name

Common Name


Ocimum basilicum 'Cinnamon'
cinnamon basil
Traditional spicy clove taste of basil with a hint of cinnamon; dark purple stems and dainty pink flowers
Ocimum basilcum 'Genovese'
Genovese basil
Pesto basil with large, green shiny leaves and a pungent aroma; a vigorous grower; cut on a regular basis
Ocimum basilcum 'Siam Queen'
anise scented basil
Spicy licorice flavor; a beautiful plant with delicate leaves and a deep purple stem
Ocimum x africanum 'Spicy Globe'
spicy globe basil
Great dwarf variety that works well in container; tasty, tiny leaves; the plant forms a nice round, compact ball
Ocimum basilcum 'Mrs. Burns Lemon'
lemon basil
Lemon scented; great for tea
Ocimum basilcum var. purpurascens 'Red Rubin' and 'Purple Ruffles'
purple basil
Two great purple basils to try
Mentha suaveolens
apple mint
fuzzy, soft foliage; one of the best mints to grow indoors
Mentha x piperita 'Black Mitcham'
black peppermint
Great flavor; dark stems and foliage
Origanum vulgare subsp. hirtum
Greek oregano
Strong and spicy, often with matte green or grayish foliage
Origanum vulgare 'Aureum'
golden oregano
Low growing with golden foliage; not as pungent as other oreganos
Origanum x majoricum
Italian oregano
Ubiquitous in Italian food; nice and tasty
Thymus 'Doone Valley'
Doone Valley thyme
Variegated gold and green with strong lemony scent
Thymus vulgaris
English thyme
Strong flavor, vigorous plant
Thymus vulgaris 'French'
French thyme
Narrow leaves and stronger flavor than English thyme; may not be hardy in the northeast
Thymus 'Clear Gold' in the NYBG Perennial Garden; photo by Ivo Vermeulen
Thymus 'Clear Gold' flowering in the Perennial Garden at NYBG; photo by Ivo Vermeulen

Ask a Plant Expert

Contact Us

with your plant questions by email

Find a Plant at NYBG

Find a Plant at NYBG

Map of NYBG

Noteworthy Books on Herb Gardens