Top 5 Herb Questions

Fresh herbs add a flavour punch to just about any meal! To help you grow them successfully in your garden, we've got answers to five commonly asked herb questions.

Question 1.

Hi Tui Team, I enjoy growing herbs but am wondering how do I stop herbs going to seed quickly? Should I trim them back once they have flowered or just keep using them as usual? Thanks, Carolyn.


Herbs should be regularly trimmed or harvested to maintain fresh bushy growth. They will bolt and go to seed in the summer if the soil dries out too much. Herbs therefore need a regular watering regime to avoid going to seed early. Soft herbs like chervil, coriander and dill are not long lived plants. 2-3 months is about all you can expect to get out of them and over a hot summer, it can be even less.

Water your herbs consistently, regularly pick, remove flowers and remove parts of the plant that go to seed. Feed herbs regularly with Tui NovaTec Premium and apply Tui Seaweed Plant Tonic for an overall boost.

If your herbs do go to seed there is an upside – the flowers are great for beneficial insects like bees, and if you let them fully dry out you can collect the seeds to sow new crops every six weeks.

Question 2.

Hi there, my coriander and basil are hardly growing - my favourite herbs! Any suggestions? I live in South Canterbury. Thanks, Julie.


Both coriander and basil need a certain amount of warmth and plenty of sunshine to do well. Keep your herbs well watered and feed with Tui NovaTec Premium fertiliser and the area weed free. Basil and coriander can be grown in pots indoors on a sunny windowsill.

Question 3.

I heard that under planting fruit trees with herbs can reduce weeds under the trees. Can you suggest suitable herbs to plant please? Thanks, Janice.


This is a wonderful idea. Try planting perennials like thyme, chamomile, oregano or look to parsley. Be careful not to cultivate under the trees roots to much as this will disturb them. Add in some fertiliser such as Tui NovaTec Premium fertiliser to give both the herbs and the fruit tree a boost.

Also, comfrey is an ideal companion plant to plant under apple trees as it has high levels of important nutrients for plant growth. When the leaves drop, they act as a natural mulch for the plants around it to give other crops a good feed. The purple flowers are also wonderful for attracting the right kind of insects to your garden.

Question 4.

Hi, my mint plant was growing beautifully when all of a sudden I noticed the leaves being eaten. Mint is my favourite herb, so I would appreciate your help. Also, recently I planted two oregano plants, one looks OK but the other is almost half wilted. Please help to revive the other. Thanks, Helen.


Mint is a great herb, suggest you cut it hard back to the ground. The new foliage will come back all fresh and ready to use. An application of a natural based insect spray (available at your garden centre) will help control insects if they appear again. Do the same with your oregano, and give both plants regular applications of Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic to make them thrive, promote strong root growth and give plants better resistance to insects and diseases. Give them a side dressing of Tui NovaTec Premium fertiliser and if slugs and snails are also be enjoying your herbs - lay Tui Quash to control.

Question 5.

Hi there, I'm just wondering if it is best to grow herbs from seeds or seedlings? Katie.


If you’re a first time gardener you may find it easier to grow from seedlings, rather than seeds, although seeds are a more economical option. However some herbs are best grown from seed in your garden or pots, such as coriander and parsley. Check seed packets or plant labels for individual planting instructions.

Tui Tips

  • Most herbs in pots can be grown indoors and outdoors – choose a sunny windowsill when growing indoors, and a spot that is close to your kitchen for easy access when growing outdoors.
  • Herbs come in all shapes, sizes and flavours. When planting herbs pick varieties that will flourish in the current climate. Some of the hardier herbs can be grown all year including parsley, coriander, thyme, rosemary and sage. Other herbs such as basil, lemongrass and dill can't cope with the cold and flourish only in the warmest months.
  • If you have an excess of herbs, chop them up and freeze them in ice cubes – these can then be used in drinks and meals later in the year. Mint is especially good for this.

Click here for our Summer Herb Growing Guide

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Top 5 Herb Questions Comments

  • Love the herb section. I have quite a few herbs in self watering tubs and always have fresh herbs to hand.

    Tricia Moir

  • Hi Tricia, thanks for your feedback. Great to hear you are enjoying fresh herbs from your garden - so versatile and tasty! Enjoy ^Tui Team


  • I'm a new-bee at gardening.But I TOTALLY love this site.What with people sharing their stories,tips, problems/answers, "THANKS!!!"

    Trudy Eldred

  • Hi Trudy, you're very welcome. We're pleased to hear you are enjoying the information on our site. Thanks for your feedback and happy gardening from the Tui Team!


  • I've been picky my herbs before they go into full flower and freezing them in ice cubes filled with cooking oil, easy to throw one in a casserole etc in Winter


  • Hi Megan, this is a great idea! Thank you for sharing it with us. We're sure others would love to use this tip also. Happy gardening from the Tui Team :)