Growing and using fresh herbs is a wonderful way for keiki to learn about plants as they experience the sights, smells, feel and taste of the garden. Here are five well-loved, keiki-friendly herbs that can be grown in pots or in the ground from cuttings, seeds or inexpensive starters sold at most garden stores. No matter how much space you have, from a window box to a 10×10 garden plot, these herbs are hearty, prolific and easy to maintain.

Aloe

One of the oldest and most well-known medicinal plants, this succulent is an absolute must-have for a healing garden. Gel from fresh leaves can be applied to treat minor sunburns after a day at the beach. Aloe vera is also used to treat minor burns, scratches and cuts, insect bites and skin irritations. Try not to overwater your aloe — once a week should be enough.

Calendula

These cheerful yellow and orange daisy-like flowers are easy to grow and kid-friendly. Calendula is known to have antifungal and antimicrobial properties, and its edible petals can be used to make oil and hand salve for sore garden hands. It is also used in many cosmetics for its skin-soothing and beautifying effects.

Mint

Mint is a great all-purpose plant that’s easy-to-grow and abundant – a few plants will give you tea for the entire season! Leaves provide a refreshing, cooling flavor perfect for summer — or anytime. Mint also has long been known as remedy for easing queasy stomachs, calming stress and anxiety and promoting restful sleep. A word of caution: Be careful where you plant your mint – it will take over! Consider growing each plant in its own large pot.

Lavender & Sage

These herbs are great for creating a calming and cleansing environment. Kids can help bundle and hang cuttings upside-down for drying. Dried leaves can be used in aromatherapy sachets, wreaths and smudge sticks.

Learn more about growing medicinal plants and herbs during The Maui Farm’s free monthly farm tour on the second Saturday of each month. For reservations and more information, contact Ihilani at (808) 579.8271 or ihilani@themauifarm.org. Happy gardening!

By Maria Leon, Programs Director at The Maui Farm