Herbs from your own garden are not only fresher than bought kitchen herbs, they are also readily available during the growing season. For this to be the case, you need fertilizer from time to time. How to properly fertilize herbs.

Nutritional needs of herbs

The fact that the nutrient requirements of herbs differ is not surprising. However, it is less known which kitchen herbs belong to the strong or weak consuming plants.

Little need

In general, herbs that grow naturally on poor soil, at high altitudes or in the Mediterranean region require few nutrients. As a rule, these kitchen herbs have small to very small leaves, such as:

  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
  • Majoran (Origanum majorana)
  • Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
  • Rosmarin (Salvia rosmarinus)
  • Sage (Salvia officinalis)
  • Thymian (Thymus vulgaris)
  • Weinraute (Ruta graveolens)
  • Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
Note: It is best for these kitchen herbs if they are not fertilized at all. Because there is a risk that too many nutrients will cause the plants to die.

Moderate and high need

On the other hand, there are the heavily consuming herbs, i.e. those that are happy about a regular supply of nutrients. Nevertheless, the dosage remains well below that for vegetables or flowering plants. Examples of herbs with moderate nutritional requirements include:

  • Beifuß (Artemisia vulgaris)
  • Savory (Satureja)
  • Dill (Anethum graveolens)
  • Kerbel (Anthriscus)
  • Kresse (Lepidius)
  • Ysop (Hyssopus officinalis)

The best time to fertilize these kitchen herbs i

  • in the spring before the new shoots, that is
  • in March or April.

Kitchen herbs with a rather high nutrient requirement are, for example:

  • wild garlic (Allium ursinum)
  • Basilikum (Ocimum basilicum)
  • Estragon (Artemisia dracunculus)
  • Lovage (Levisticum officinale)
  • Mint (Mentha)
  • Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
  • Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)

The ideal time to fertilize these herbal plants is

  • in spring and
  • if necessary again in July.

Organic fertilizers for herbs

For fertilizing kitchen herbs, we recommend an organic fertilizer or a special herb fertilizer from specialist shops. Organic because other fertilizers, such as a traditional flower fertilizer, contain substances that you don’t want on your plate. In addition, flower fertilizer can affect the taste of kitchen herbs. Since organic fertilizers come from nature, the garden or the kitchen, they do not contain any harmful substances.

Horn shavings / primary rock flour

Horn shavings and bedrock meal are among the long-term mineral fertilizers, as they only slowly release their nutrients into the soil. Therefore, it is sufficient if you apply these fertilizers once (in the spring).

Tip: It is ideal if you give horn shavings and bedrock meal together.

coffee grounds

Coffee grounds act as a weak fertilizer and deter slugs from feeding on the herbs. However, since it also has a slightly acidic effect, you should only fertilize your kitchen herbs once with the home remedy. If coffee grounds are applied more often, there is a risk that the pH value of the soil will drop, which will have a negative effect on the development of the plants. You should therefore also refrain from fertilizing lime-loving herbs, such as sage or oregano, with coffee grounds.


Mature compost from your own garden is an ideal fertilizer for herb plants. The compost soil is “ripe” when it has turned dark in color and smells pleasant.

There are several ways to apply this natural fertilizer:

  • Moderately consuming herbs: apply a thin layer to the herb bed in spring
  • Strongly consuming herbs: apply a thin layer in spring and July

Alternatively, you can also water kitchen herbs that consume a lot with compost. To do this, put a scoop of compost in a bucket and fill it up with water. Then mix the two ingredients together. Once the solids have settled, you can water the herbal plants with the enriched water.

herbal extracts

In addition to these natural herbal fertilizers, herbal extracts (broths, manure) are ideal fertilizers for kitchen herbs. “Herbal teas” are the easiest to make. You need to prepare the tea

  • about 1 kilogram herb and
  • 10 liters of water

To prepare it, pour hot water over the chopped herb and let the tea steep for 24 hours. After that, strain out the solids. Now the herbal tea is ready and can be used for pouring.

Tip: Squeeze the herbs well so that all the nutrients end up in the tea.

Suitable plants for fertilizing kitchen herbs are:

  • Ackerschachtelhalm (Equisetum arvense)
  • Beinwell (Symphytum officinale)
  • Nettles (Urtica)
  • Kamille (Matricaria chamomilla)
  • Mint (Mentha)
  • Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)


If you have made too much tea, you can use the rest to water your herbal plants. However, this irrigation water must not be sweetened. It doesn’t matter which tea you use as fertilizer.

frequently asked Questions

Since the plants in the pot have fewer nutrients than in the herb bed, they can be fertilized more often. Fertilize moderately consuming herbs about every three months, heavily consuming herb plants every four weeks.

This question can not be answered generally. However, you should stick to the rule of thumb “less is more” when combining. You can use liquid home remedies (herbal teas or leftover tea) diluted for watering.

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