Edible Herbs That Are Actually Easy To Grow At Home

PHOTO: UNSPLASH/ALEXANDER SCHIMMECK
PHOTO: UNSPLASH/ALEXANDER SCHIMMECK
PHOTO: UNSPLASH/ALEXANDER SCHIMMECK

Fresh herbs are the last thing I’d get from a supermarket - unless I desperately need some for my occasional kitchen adventures. That’s mainly because they cost a pretty penny, and I usually only need a small amount. More often than not, the rest of the packet would gradually deteriorate in my fridge until it’s all too late.

And while dried or powdered herbs definitely fare better in terms of longevity, these alternatives just don’t taste as sharp and satisfying as their fresh counterparts do - I’m sure seasoned home cooks (pun intended) can attest to that. The next best option, of course, is to grow your own - nothing beats the convenience of being able to pick a bunch of pesticide-free herbs to spice up your meal or brew a cup of tea as you wish. And even if you don’t have green fingers, it’s not a far-fetched idea - here are some herbs that are easy to care for in your home.

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1. Pandan

The pandan plant is a common sight along HDB corridors and residential gardens for good reason - its fragrant leaves are used for just about everything - from refreshing beverages to chiffon cakes and indulgent desserts. The best part? Pandan is a robust and fuss-free grower, so you won’t have to wait long for a fresh harvest.

Gardening tip: It enjoys moist, well-draining soil and morning sun. Keep it bushy by trimming its leaves regularly, and water frequently to keep its soil mix moist.

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2. Spearmint

Yet another versatile introduction to your herb garden. Spearmint can be used in so many ways - as a salad garnish, in fresh bakes and even in sauces and dips. And when added to your tea, it’s said to relieve headaches and digestive ailments too. Fun fact: Lightly rubbing the leaves releases a minty fragrance that’ll linger on your fingers for a quick perk-me-up.

Gardening tip: While it’s not particular about the soil it grows in, a well-draining potting mix is always advised. It will do well in full sun with frequent watering - prune it back to prevent it from getting leggy.

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3. Coriander

Found in just about every local dish, coriander, or chinese parsley, is one of those polarising herbs that you’ll either munch on with glee or fish it out of your food in disgust. But if you do enjoy the taste of the aromatic garnish, here’s even more reason to celebrate - its lacy leaves are rich in antioxidants and may promote digestive health too.

Gardening tip: Hot and humid weather is its nemesis. Place yours in a cool spot that receives morning sun, and grow it in well-draining soil.

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4. Rosemary

A popular addition to western-style recipes, rosemary’s woodsy, herbaceous aroma complements the likes of herbed chicken, grilled steaks and roasted vegetables. And the pungent herb is useful in more ways than one - not only will its sprigs look pretty as part of a dining table setting for your next gathering, the pungent scent repels mozzies naturally too.

Gardening tip: Rosemary is best grown under full sun. And if you get yours from a nursery, remove its clayey potting mix and use a well-draining one instead as it does appreciate waterlogged soil.

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5. Chilli padi

Also known as bird’s eye chilli, the chilli padi probably needs no introduction. Mini in size yet fiery in taste, it’s commonly used in local dishes and sauces for a satisfyingly spicy kick. And Singaporean foodies especially love having it freshly sliced and soaked in savoury soy sauce as a dip.

Gardening tip: The chilli plant loves a good drink and bright sunlight. Use a well-draining soil mix for best results, and water it frequently to keep it moist. To keep the plant bushy, trim it regularly.

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