Butterfly gardening can be a wonderful way to experience wildlife in your garden, encourage pollination, and it takes very little maintenance, giving you more time to enjoy the beauty of watching butterflies flock to your plants. Many people who have maintained a butterfly garden for such a long time actually enjoy having visitors to come and look at their creation. This is also a great way to give back to your local ecosystem, as many natural habitats for butterflies and other pollinators have been destroyed by urban development and human interference. We always let about half of our test garden go wild in the summer, in addition to the many flowering shrubs and trees throughout the yard, to give butterflies a safe place to feed and lay their eggs. This is common practice, and we let this happen until the flowering shrubs and trees start to become an issue.
Here’s a wonderful photo showing a Fennel plant hosting Eastern Black Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars
In planning your butterfly garden, make sure to plant plenty of host plants and feeder plants. Host plants are specific herbs, flowers and other plants, that mature butterflies lay their eggs on because they create a safe haven for their young who will also feed on these plants once they become caterpillars. Be aware that these plants will be the sole food source for caterpillars, so it will be pretty heavily snacked upon. Because these may look rather ragged by the time the caterpillars are done munching on them, you may want to add these to the back of your garden, but still close to feeder plants so that the caterpillars are able to find them easily in their next stage of life. Some common host plants include Fennel, Italian Flat Leaf Parsley, Dill, Broccoli, Sunflowers, and Butterfly Flowers (also known as Milkweed).
Butterfly on the flowers of oregano (lat. Origanum vulgar)
Feeder plants are nectar rich plants that adult butterflies will feed on throughout the season. These will also attract other helpful pollinators to your garden like honeybees and hummingbirds! Feeder plants tend to be fragrant and brightly colored, and you may be surprised to find that you already have many in your garden already. Some common varieties from our garden include Lantanas, Buddleias (also known as “Butterfly Bushes”), Joe Pye Weed, Bee Balm (Bergamot), Garlic Chives, and Oregano.
Remember to plant your perennial butterfly plants toward the back of your garden and your annuals toward the front, for easy seasonal replacing.
Don’t forget to incorporate herbs into your butterfly garden! Many herbs are perennial and will provide you with a safe haven for caterpillars and beautiful blooms when they flower. You can also use them in many other ways!
Choose an area that is protected by the wind, as butterflies are delicate and don’t want to fight strong breezes to feed.
Provide a water source, such as a birdbath or a shallow bucket filled with water with sand in the bottom.
Avoid using pesticides on your plants as these will harm the butterflies and their young.
Autumn is fast approaching, and you know what that means: put your white wardrobe in the attic! And, for some gardeners, it may signal something else: the end of the growing season. Truth be told, however, fall is an excellent season to plant herbs in the garden or containers. What do you need to know about planting in the fall? Which herbs should you choose?
What You Need To Know
If you’re a “fallscaping” rookie, here are a few things you need to keep in mind:
What is fall?
This probably sounds like a pretty basic question, right? There might be more to it than you think! Your fall season depends greatly on your hardiness zone. So, what are some basic “requirements”?
The Fall Season is between Labor Day and the “Fall Back” Daylight Saving Time.
Your temperatures should maintain a daytime high below 80 degrees.
Your first frost should be at least 10-6 weeks away.
What’s the latest I can plant?
Our advice: don’t drag your feet! Go ahead and preorder your herbs so that they arrive right on time. What are the dangers of procrastination?
Young herbs (especially perennials) need to “harden off” before the first frost, which basically means they need to acclimate and toughen up to lowering temperatures!If they aren’t given enough time for this process, let’s just say… you’ll be left with a pretty sorry-looking plant.
Will planting Perennials in the fall hurt them in the long run?
Nope! It turns out Kelly Clarkson is right: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Facts show that perennials that are hardened off and experience their first winter as a youngster emerge stronger, healthier, generally hardier, and are more productive in the spring when compared to Spring-planted plants.
10 Herbs to Plant for Fall for Gardens & Containers
Hardy to zone 5, this perennial herb has you covered in all aspects: It’s a winner in the kitchen (say hello to this stuffing and fettuccine recipe) and is renowned for its health benefits. Whether you have a common cold, are suffering from stress or menopausal symptoms, Sage can come to the rescue!
Another perk: Even if you have a slight “black thumb,” Sage varieties are forgiving and resilient. Plant your Sage in well-draining soil, keeping it in partial to full sun. If your Sage is in an outdoor container, water it 2-3 times weekly when the soil dries out.
Are you prepping for the cold and flu season? Do you want some beautiful springtime blossoms? That means that Echinacea (aka the coneflower) is perfect for you. Attractive pink petals complement the rusty red centers, attracting all kinds of pollinators in the spring. Oh, and the best part? A cup or two of Echinacea tea weekly can ward off infection.
These perennial herbs can survive in several different soil types, even rocky areas! The most important thing to keep in mind? They hate “wet feet.” Keep these beauties on the drier side in partial to full sun. If you’ve opted to confine your Echinacea to a container, make sure there’s enough room to accommodate the taproot (usually a 2-3 gallon pot).
If you live in a chilly region, Chives are for you! This perennial is hardy all the way to zone 3. As one of the most popular herbs, Chives probably don’t require much of an introduction: they taste great on everything, have alluring springtime pom-pom flowers, and are a nutrient-rich food (okay, that one might be a little surprising, right?).
Place your Chives in a location that receives full to partial sun and provide them with fertile, moist, well-draining soil. These plants can be grown in containers both inside and out; just make sure you place them on your sunniest windowsill!
Use Lilac flowers, or any other type of strong-smelling edible blossom (like the Lavender shown here), to make this jelly! Its lightly floral taste pairs nicely with many things: add it to your cream cheese and bagel routine in the morning, or include it in a lemon drop martini at night. Either way, you won’t be disappointed.
If you’re looking for an overflowing container plant, this one’s for you. Lemon Balm tends to be invasive in the garden, so it’s perfect for pots! Plant your herb in well-draining, sandy loam, place it in your sunniest location, and allow the first inch or two to dry out between waterings.
Thyme is a low-growing, shrubby herb that makes excellent garden edging. In the kitchen, thyme is an easy flavor-filled addition to just about anything: omelets, soups, chicken… you name it! Medicinally, the leaves, flowers, and oil are used to treat bronchitis and other conditions.
This perennial is hardy to zone 5 and should be planted in well-draining soil, placed in your sunniest spot, and watered when the first 2 inches of soil have dried.
While you can’t expect any blossoms until the Spring, get a head start on next season by planting hardy Lavender varieties in the Fall! In the meantime, you can use Lavender leaves to make delicious treats (like these Lavender Lemon Bars) or make a simple Lavender tea to fight stress, anxiety, and insomnia.
These herbs are perennials and are hardy to zone 5. Plant your Lavendar in well-draining soil, keep it in your sunniest spot, and allow the soil of mature plants to dry out before rewatering. If you keep your Lavender in a container, make sure it’s large enough for its root system (2-3 gallons).
Similar to Thyme, Oregano is another low-grower that makes a beautiful frame for your taller plants. While blossoms are understated, Oregano’s flavor is impactful! Use this herb to flavor a fantastic marinara or create a Pistachio-Oregano pesto. Medicinally, Oregano is used to fight viral infections and can be used as a natural insecticide.
Oregano is hardy to zone 5. Like other Mediterranean herbs, they should be planted in well-draining soil in bright light; mature specimens should dry out before rewatering.
It’s not just Oregano’s cousin… we believe Marjoram has real value in the garden and pantry! Marjoram pairs beautifully with grilled beef and fish (nobody said to retire the grill after Labor Day!). In the medicine cabinet, the oil and leaves of Marjoram can fight muscle pain: simply add a few tablespoons of dried Marjoram to your bathwater.
Marjoram is a perennial in warmer climates (to zone 7). Even if you live in a chillier area, Marjoram is a worthwhile annual herb to start in the Fall. Plant it in the container with well-draining soil and bring it to a sunny indoor location when temperatures spiral downward.
The potential is endless with Parsley. As a wispy biennial, it’s fast-growing and makes a perfect container plant to have in a sunny location near the kitchen door. Whether you’re adding pizzazz to potatoes, sprucing up squash, or flavoring focaccia, Parsley is the herb for you!
You either love it, or you hate it… our vote is in Cilantro’s favor! The beginning of fall does not mean you have to give up delicious guacamole, chimichurri, and easy taco toppings. Your Cilantro plant will grow perfectly in a pot filled with well-draining soil that’s kept in a sunny spot.
Herbs can add a whole new depth to your garden that you may not have had before. You can see how growing herbs can help you make your own herb blends and also how they can help you create new combinations that may have otherwise never come into your mind.
With fall right around the corner, far too many gardeners panic and make mistakes. Are you interested in learning how to harvest herbs in the fall without making common mistakes? Read our tips below to learn more about how you should handle the season when harvesting herbs in the fall.
What Herbs To Harvest in the Fall
Before you dive in and start plucking herbs, you should pay attention to your selection. The timing for harvesting herbs is dependent on what type of plant they are, and other factors. For example, certain culinary herbs such as oregano may be more sensitive to dropping temperatures.
Many herbs will last up to four weeks, some up to six. As fall approaches, you should focus on harvesting the less-thirsty herbs first.
If you are looking for extra-long-lasting herbs, it is best to harvest in the fall, because they will last until spring. It is also important to note that herbs will not last as long if they are picked wet.
You must harvest herbs in the appropriate season to ensure that they are harvested at their peak. Keep in mind the fact that herbs that are starting to lose their flavor before harvest will take on a bitter taste when you cook them. Retain these herbs on your herbs table and harvest them as they dry out. You can also cut these herbs when they are already overgrown.
Tips for Harvesting & Preserving Your Herbs
When harvesting herbs for immediate use there are a few rules to keep in mind. For single-stemmed herb plants such as basil and savory, only pick the center tip. This encourages bushy growth. Use the tops and flower buds of chervil, thyme, and mint. Use the outside leaves and stalks of your parsley plant and leave the center alone.
A major harvest requires a bit of work, but the rewards throughout the year are well worth the effort. You can get 2-3 major cuts from both annual and perennial herbs before the end of the season. The last harvest should be in early fall in order to give the new growth a chance to harden off before the first frost.
Choose a bright, sunny morning just after the dew has evaporated but before the sun gets hot enough to affect the oil content in the leaves and flowers. Take care in picking and use only healthy plants. Perennial herbs can be cut back by a third, while annuals can be cut to within three inches of the soil surface.
Rinse the fresh-cut herbs in cool water and use towels to absorb excess moisture. Tie the stems together (dental floss works well) in bundles of five or six and hang in a dry, well-ventilated spot, away from direct sun and moisture. The temperature should be no more than 85 degrees. Since herbs should not be stored until they are completely dry it is important to test them by placing a stem in an airtight container overnight. If condensation forms, more drying is needed.
Once the plants are dry, store them in clean, airtight containers (glass containers are best) and keep away from direct sunlight. Herbs lose their potency over time, so we suggest keeping them for a maximum period of one year.
Get Ready for Winter
Many herbs will bloom during the summer months, but when the temperatures start to drop, the majority of them will begin to die. During the fall months, herbs should all be harvested and dried if you want to preserve them. Check the weather forecast and get the herbs dried off as soon as you can. This will help prevent them from freezing and dying in the cold.
Make sure you’ve harvested your herbs before they’re dried out. Just because the leaves are wilted, don’t just leave them on the plants. Harvesting herbs is much quicker if they’re dried completely.
So be sure to harvest the herbs and store them away as soon as possible. Herb gardening experts say green herbs such as basil, chives, and parsley should not be harvested until they’re completely dry. Similar to preparing your soil, choosing which herbs to harvest can impact the rest of your garden and the season as a whole.
Protect Your Herb Plants for Winter
Keep in mind that there’s only so much protection a pot of herbs can receive before the fall weather creeps in, leading to frosty conditions. Make sure to cover your plants up well before the temperature drops below 40 degrees.
It’s also good to keep a close eye on them when possible. See if they are drooping a lot, and protect the plants from your pets or kids by pinching off any extra stems. When cooking with herbs, there is usually a tight window where flavors are optimal.
The leaves on most herbs will be poisonous, but if you cut them off, then all you’re doing is removing the bitter end. Harvest in the right way when fall approaches. A lot of people will overlook how to harvest their herbs, especially when it’s time to bring them inside for the winter. There are some tricks to taking care of your herbs, though.
Harvest Herbs for Their Seeds
When you are planning to harvest your herbs for seeds, there are some considerations to keep in mind. Harvest herbs close to the time they will be harvested. If the herb has fallen off its seedhead by the time you harvest it, you will need to wait for it to fall over before harvesting the seeds.
Start by selecting and gathering your herbs. Remember, you will be collecting the seeds of your herbs for further propagation.
What type of herbs should you start collecting seeds from? When it comes to bushes, we like harvesting herbs such as oregano, mint, lemon balm, cilantro, and rosemary for their seeds.
A Few More Tips for Harvesting Herbs in the Fall
There are a few technical approaches you can use to harvest your herbs. Many people harvest their herbs by the stems. If you want to harvest herbs by the stem, you will want to use your garden shears or small snips. Snipping off the branches that are stem tips will produce smaller amounts of herbs. By using shears, the stems should be fully clipped, and you will be left with lots of leaves on the stems.
If you want to harvest herbs for their flowers, you can do the same as above, but you’ll need a few different types of tools to do it. Of course, if you want to go the organic route, you can always use your hands.
When using herb snips or shears, you will want to go around the entire plant first. Try to do it in sections. If you do it this way, you’ll be left with lots of leaves on the plant. With this approach, the leaves will be healthy, and they will continue to provide you with a full, vibrant, harvest for the rest of your autumn gardening.
Enjoy the Fall With Your Herbs
That does it for this piece. We hope that we have helped you learn a bit more about harvesting herbs in the fall. As you can see, you do not need to fear new seasons in the garden, as they present new opportunities for your herbs and plants.
To learn more about our approach to our herbs and our business, check out our FAQ page.
[wps_products collection="Culinary Herb Plants" items_per_row="6" title_color="#6BBEE7" show_featured_only="true"]
Growing and harvesting medicinal flowers is one of life’s simple pleasures that can bring enormous joy and satisfaction. Herbs for medicinal use will grow almost anywhere. No matter what shape, size, or aspect your outdoor space has, it’s possible to successfully cultivate plants that may be used for medical purposes.
Read on to discover our top tips to ensure you obtain the very best quality harvesting results, as well as additional information for correctly harvesting a number of common medicinal herbs.
Before using any herb for medicinal purposes, we recommend consulting a suitable professional.
General Guidelines for Successful Harvesting
Make sure that the herbs you’re harvesting have been grown in a suitable environment. Ideally, herbs should be grown organically, without the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides. The soil, water, and air your plants use should be as fresh and natural as possible.
Check that you have the correct species of herb. Some herbs have a common name that includes a number of different species. If in doubt, buy medicinal herb plants from a reputable source so that you know you’re cultivating the correct plant.
Allow herbs to become well-established and strong before harvesting.
Check that the plant is at the correct stage of its lifecycle for harvesting to take place. For example, if you intend to harvest flowers, the plant will need to have matured to the flowering stage of its lifecycle.
If you are harvesting a perennial herb, harvest sustainably so that the plant has enough leaves or flowers to survive through to the next harvest season.
When harvesting annuals, consider allowing some to self-seed. This will frequently result in a new crop next year, without the need for replanting.
Although herbs can be picked at any time of the day, if you intend to dry, process, or store them, we recommend picking them early in the morning, once the dew has dried but before they face the full heat of the sun.
Possibly one of the more well-known herbs, many people enjoy chamomile flowers made into tea. Although both leaves and flowers are safe to eat, it’s the flowers that make the best tea.
To harvest chamomile, wait until the plant has plenty of flowers. Pick the flower heads early in the morning, ideally before the flowers have fully opened. Chamomile flowers can be used when freshly picked, or dried and stored for future use.
Chamomile is a perennial plant, so once established it should continue to provide flowers year after year. It’s a tricky plant to grow from seed, so we recommend that you buy chamomile plants to make life easier.
If you are intending to use marigolds for medicinal or culinary use, make sure to use calendula officinalis, rather than related species – all marigolds are not the same!
The best time to pick calendula blooms depends on what you intend to use them for. If you want to use fresh flowers for a salad or tea, pick the fresh, new blooms. Flowers that are beginning to wilt or that have become over-blown are best left to fade completely, and the plants used for seed harvesting.
Calendula leaves can be added to salads – they have a distinctive taste that can add a kick to any salad plate.
This is an annual plant, so a fresh planting will be needed each year unless you leave a proportion of plants to self-seed.
Echinacea is a hardy herb that requires minimal care to grow successfully. As a perennial plant, once established it will grow year on year. Echinacea can be difficult to grow from seed. Luckily, you can buy medicinal herb plants like echinacea, which come pre-established.
The roots, leaves, and flowers of the echinacea plant can all be used for medicinal purposes. The type of harvesting will depend on which parts you wish to use. We recommend planting a few echinacea plants so that if you choose to use the roots of one or two, there will still be plenty left for later harvest.
These hardy annuals provide a stunning splash of color for borders, hanging baskets, and container planting, as well as having a number of culinary uses. The leaves, seeds, and flowers are all edible.
Although flowers can be harvested separately, it’s usually easier to harvest the entire plant. Nasturtium seeds are a particularly tasty delicacy – leave the flowers to seed and then harvest once the seeds have formed. Patience is a virtue when it comes to nasturtium seeds – the bigger they are when picked, the tastier they are. Bigger seeds are also more likely to germinate, should you wish to harvest seeds to plant next year.
Garlic chives are a perennial that can be harvested at almost any time of the year. Garlic chive leaves are the part of the plant that’s used. These can be cut to within about an inch of the ground for culinary or medicinal use. In time, the leaves will regrow, providing a fresh crop.
Chives are best used fresh. Their long growing season means there’s less need to dry and store them in comparison with other herbs.
Yarrow flowers are commonly harvested for a range of purposes. Simply cut off the flowerheads when the flowers are fresh. Avoid over-blown or faded blooms. Yarrow is a perennial plant, so will grow from year to year provided its harvested sustainably.
Like many other perennial herbs, Yarrow doesn’t grow well from seed. We recommend buying established Yarrow plants to optimize the chances of a successful harvest.
Harvested correctly, medicinal herbs can provide a generous yield that can be used for a range of purposes. Well-established, healthy plants are going to give the best harvest, which is why we recommend buying medicinal herb plants.
Buying a healthy, established plant increases your chances of a successful harvest and removes the worry and uncertainty which can come from attempting to grow herbs from seed.
The “dog days of summer” are upon us! Grab the pool noodles, sangria popsicles, and floppy hats. Even on the hottest days, it’s not too difficult for us to find relief (if all else fails, retreat to the A/C!), but what about your outdoor garden? The sun is beating down on your herbs harder than ever! How can you help them beat the heat?
All Herbs Love the Heat, Right?
Wrong. Not all herbs are natural summer lovers. In fact, several types enjoy cooler temperatures, such as:
So, which herbs enjoy the heat?
Basil (Everyone’s favorite!)
It’s important to note that even summer-loving herbs will need extra TLC to get them through the hottest months. Without the proper care, your herbs could be left sunburnt, taste-deficient, and withering. How can you make a success of it?
A Pre-Summer Precaution
Your goal: Keep the roots cool. So, avoid planting your precious herbs in dark or metal containers. Why? Dark colors absorb the sun’s rays, heating up the soil. And, if you’ve ever leaned against a hot car while in your “Daisy Duke’s,” you can guess what damage a metal pot can do!
Watering Your Herbs in the Summer
Adjusting your watering routine to fit warmer temperatures can be an adventure. You may think hotter temperatures = a thirstier plant. And, while that may be the case, keeping that theory too close in mind can also contribute to overwatering. Two rules for summer watering: Always check the soil’s moisture level and water deep.
If you frequently give your herbs a quick, daily spray-down (surface watering), you’re encouraging them to develop shallow roots. What’s the problem with that? When the heat of summer comes, a plant needs deep roots to keep cool and remain hydrated. How do you “water deep”?
Container gardens: Drench the soil until water drains from the bottom for 2 minutes.
In-ground gardens: Drench for 15 minutes.
While watering deeply takes more time, you don’t have to water as frequently and achieve healthier (tastier) herbs. What’s not to love?
When to Water
We love taking a midday dip in the pool, right? So our plants must love a mid-day spray-down! Nope, think again. Water droplets on your herb’s leaves act as mini magnifying glasses, amplifying the sun’s rays (making your wilty plant even “wilty-er”). Solution? Do your deep watering at the end of the day, when the sun is setting, and temperatures are cooler.
Preparing for a Heatwave
Sudden, shockingly hot temperatures can send some plants into a type of survival-mode-hibernation, where they temporarily stop absorbing moisture and nutrients through their roots. What can you do?
Watch the weather and thoroughly water your garden before the heatwave hits. This will give your herbs what they need to see them through! (Who wants to hibernate on an ‘empty stomach,’ right?) Rewater your plant friend when the soil exhibits the proper signs, remembering that this could happen more slowly than you expect.
Ways to Keep it Cool!
One of the many perks of container gardens: If a location proves to be too hot or sunny, you can quickly relocate your herbs! Are some of your cool-weather herbs suffering? You can
opt to bring them indoors for the hottest part of the summer. How? Taking plants directly from the midday sun to an air-conditioned house is shocking, to say the least! So, prepare your plant by first placing it in a shady location. In a few days, when temperatures have cooled at night, bring your herb indoors.
One of the downsides: if your container is too small, your plant’s root system isn’t very well insulated from the heat. What can you do? Before the hottest days of summer arrive, make sure your plant isn’t rootbound. If it is, give it a pot upgrade!
The bad news: your herbs are pretty much stuck with their location. But, there are a few things you can do to help your plants thrive in the heat. Give your herbs a thick layer of mulch to provide added insulation to the soil. Remember, cool roots contribute to a happy plant!
Consider providing your herbs with some much-needed shade, especially from the afternoon sun! How can you do this? There are several ways, ranging from “bootleg” ideas to more polished looks. You can simply move your patio umbrella to the garden. You could rig up one of those (million) Amazon boxes you have. Or you can invest in some shade cloth.
If you’re opting for shade cloth, here are a few things to keep in mind: (1) You need 30% to 40% shade, (2) Dark colors absorb heat, so you’ll need to keep black shade cloths several inches from your herb’s foliage.
Warm temperatures give many herbs the “green-light” to flower and bolt. What’s the big deal about that? Bolting negatively impacts the flavor and texture of some herbs. And, let’s admit it, bolted Cilantro is just sad. Prevent your plant from bolting by regularly pruning new growth and removing any flowers ASAP.
Are you at a loss about what to do with all these extra herbs? Keep your eyes peeled for more of our articles with herb-ilicious recipes. And save some of this summer-freshness for the upcoming winter months by making “herbal ice cubes.” Simply fill the bottom of an ice cube tray with your minced herb of choice, top with some olive oil, and stick it in the freezer!
Whatever temperatures this summer brings, by using these helpful tips, we trust that you and your herbs will be able to “beat the heat!” Happy Growing!
Whether you want to grow a kitchen herb garden as a hobby or to save money or just for healthier eating, there are plenty of herbs you can grow in your backyard, on your patio, or even on your windowsill. Fresh herbs make recipes taste even better and are great to have around for soups, stews, and salads.
In picking a place to grow your herbs, keep in mind that they need a good four to six hours of sun daily. There are many herbs that you can grow to enhance your cooking. When you plant a kitchen garden, don’t only plant the herbs you know, take a chance on something else. You might just be surprised.
Here are fresh herbs and plants you can grow that are great to have handy in the kitchen.
Parsley is a mild bitter herb that can enhance the flavor of your foods. Many consider parsley just to be a curly green garnish for food, but it actually helps things like stews achieve a more balanced flavor. As an added benefit, parsley can aid in digestion. By reading articles such as unify health labs reviews and other digestion related discussions, many supplements and herbs are uncovered as great helpers for the digestive system. Parsley is often grown as an annual, but in milder climates, it will stay evergreen all winter long. Parsley plants will grow to be large and bushy. Parsley is a good source of Vitamins A and C.
There are several varieties of mint. You can use it in drinks like mojitos or mint juleps. Or add some mint to your summer iced tea. Mint freshens the breath and will help to calm your stomach. But if you grow mint, remember that it’s considered an invasive plant. Mint will spread and take over your garden. It’s best grown in containers.
Dill is a great flavoring for fish, lamb, potatoes, and peas. It also aids in digestion, helps to fight bad breath and has the added benefits of reducing swelling and cramps. Dill is easy to grow. It will also attract helpful insects to your garden such as wasps and other predatory insects.
Whether you choose large leaf Italian basil or large purple sweet basil, this plant is popular in many cuisines but is a feature in Italian cooking like pizzas, salads, sauces, and pesto. Some people think basil is great for planting alongside your tomatoes but there’s no real evidence that it makes your tomatoes taste sweeter. Basil has health benefits of antioxidants and is a defense against low blood sugar.
Sage is an aromatic herb that is great for seasoning meats, sauces, and vegetables. But be careful because sage will have a tendency to overpower other flavors. Sage also helps to relieve cuts, inflammation and helps with memory issues. It was once thought to be a medicinal cure-all. Sage is an easy herb to grow and is relatively easy to care for. It’s great in your garden for attracting bees.
Rosemary is one of the most flavorful herbs and is great for adding to things like poultry, meats, and vegetables. Around Christmastime, you’ll see tree-shaped rosemary bushes for sale. You can bring them home and keep them for planting in the spring. The fragrant plant is a delightful scent and is sometimes used in floral arrangements. Rosemary likes its soil a bit on the dry side, so be careful not to overwater. Allowed to flourish, a rosemary plant will grow into a full-sized bush.
Thyme is a delicate looking plant. It is often used for flavoring egg, bean and vegetable dishes. Thyme is frequently used in the Mediterranean, Italian and Provençal French cuisines. Pair it with lamb, poultry, and tomatoes. Thyme is often added to soups and stews. Thyme is part of the mint family. The most common variety is garden thyme which has gray-green leaves and a minty, somewhat lemony smell.
Cilantro is also known as coriander leaf or Chinese parsley. Cilantro is perfect for adding into spicy foods like chills, and Mexican, Chinese, Southeast Asian and Indian cuisines. The seeds of cilantro are known as coriander. The plant grows early in the season and doesn’t like it when the ground becomes too warm.
Fennel is very flavorful and aromatic, and along with anise is a primary ingredient in absinthe. Fennel is native to the Mediterranean region and does best in dry soils near the ocean or on river banks. The strongly flavored leaves of fennel are similar in shape to dill. The bulb can be sautéed or grilled, or eaten raw. Fennel bulbs are used for garnishes or sometimes added to salads.
In the United States and Europe, chamomile is most often used as an ingredient in herbal tea. It is one of the world’s most widely consumed herbal teas. But it has also been used for thousands of years as a traditional medicine for settling stomachs and calming the nerves. Chamomile also helps reduce inflammation and treat fevers. You can grow either German chamomile or Roman chamomile. The two are interchangeable when it comes to making tea, but they are grown very differently. German chamomile is an annual plant that grows up to three feet tall. Roman chamomile is a perennial but only grows to about a foot high. German chamomile is more commonly known for its blossoms.
French tarragon is the traditional ingredient of ‘Fines Herbes’ and is the aristocrat of fresh herbs. A must-have for any Culinary Herb Garden! It will transform an ordinary dish into a work of art with it’s spicy anise flavor. A little tarragon in a chicken salad makes a profound difference. It is wonderful in sauces, soups and meat dishes. Try it with vegetables. It is the choice for any hearty dish.
Grown as a condiment and for use in salads and dressings, lavender will give most dishes a slightly sweet flavor. Lavender syrup and dried lavender buds are used in the United States for making lavender scones and marshmallows. Health benefits include the soothing of insect bites and headaches when used with herbs and aromatherapy. Lavender plants will survive in many growing conditions but do best in full sun in warm, well-drained soil.
Chives are a member of the garlic family and can be the perfect complement to sour cream. Chives are mostly used for flavoring and are considered one of the “fine herbs” of French cuisine. Chives are native to Asia but have been used as an additive to food for almost 5,000 years. Chives work well with eggs, fish, potatoes, salads, shellfish, and soups. Chives are an excellent source of beta carotene and Vitamin C.
A member of the Mustard family, Arugula is a leafy green that packs a peppery punch! Similar to Watercress in flavor, Arugula has edible, aromatic leaves and a spicier flavor than most greens. Often eaten raw in salads, Arugula also tastes great when cooked. If you’re adding it to a pizza, pasta, or pesto, make sure to add it last or just after the meal is done cooking to prevent the leaves from withering.
The smell of bay’s noble leaves reminds you of balsam, clove, mint, and some say even honey! Well known for its use in hearty stews and other long-simmering dishes with a slightly sharp, peppery, almost bitter taste. Add the whole leaves at the beginning of the cooking process and remember to remove them before serving. Sweet bay is native to the Mediterranean.
Lemon Verbena is a useful culinary herb, used in teas, salads, dressings, and desserts. A wonderful herb plant that will do very well when potted for container gardening or in an indoor herb garden. Made popular as a perfume centuries ago when introduced by Spanish conquistadors who had found the aromatic herb in South America. Since that time Lemon Verbena has been used in everything from recipes to soaps. Because Lemon Verbena holds its citric fragrance long after being dried, it makes a great addition to potpourris and herb pillows and can be used in closets and drawers to freshen laundry.
Chervil produces flat, light-green, lacy leaves with a hint of anise, and enhances the flavor of chicken, fish, vegetables, eggs, and salads. It is an heirloom herb that was most likely introduced to European herb gardening by the Romans. Closely related to Parsley, chervil has become an indispensable herb plant in the kitchen, and a classic among herb plants in French cuisine.
A deliciously spicy culinary herb, Winter Savory adds an aromatic flavor to many dishes. Also used medicinally for its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Winter Savory, like its Summer counterpart, is a spicy culinary herb from the Mint family that compliments fish, beans, and poultry with its intense flavor. Though it loses some of this intensity during the cooking process, Winter Savory remains aromatic and is often used to flavor liqueurs and makes a beautiful garnish to any salad.
Like other mints, peppermint is known for aiding digestion and freshening the breath. But peppermint is also a good source of calcium, potassium and Vitamin B. Peppermint is a hybrid mint, being a cross between water mint and spearmint. Peppermint oil can be used for flavoring but is also useful as a natural pesticide. It has been shown to reduce the effects of irritable bowel syndrome. Peppermint prefers rich soil and partial shade. Like other mints, it spreads quickly, so consider planting it in containers.
Stevia is an attractive looking plant and a natural sweetener. The added benefit is that there are no calories. Stevia is part of the sunflower family and is native to subtropical and tropical regions in the Western hemisphere. While it’s a perennial plant it will only survive in the milder climates in North America. Still, you can add stevia to your garden for the summer. It is also known as sweetleaf or sugarleaf and is grown for its sweet leaves. Stevia can be used as a natural sweetener and as a sugar substitute.
Lemongrass stalks can provide antioxidants such as beta-carotene and a defense against cancer and eye inflammation. Lemongrass has a strong lemon flavor. You can brew it in tea as well as use it as an herb seasoning. To grow this outdoors, you need to live in at least Zone 9. Outside it can grow up to six feet high but will be notably smaller if you grow it indoors.
Gaining renewed popularity as a culinary herb, Bee Balm makes a wonderful addition to pizzas, salads, breads and any dishes that are complemented by the herb’s unique flavor. Minty and slightly spicy, Bergamot makes a great substitute for Oregano. Bergamot has a long history of use as a medicinal plant by many Native Americans, including the Blackfeet. The Blackfeet Indians used this hardy perennial in poultices to treat minor cuts and wounds. A tea made from the plant was also used to treat mouth and throat infections caused by gingivitis, as the plant contains high levels of a naturally occurring antiseptic, Thymol, which is found in many brand name mouthwashes.
Oregano is also part of the mint family and is native to the warm climates of Eurasia and the Mediterranean. Oregano is a perennial plant but in colder climates can be grown as an annual. It is sometimes called wild marjoram and is closely related to sweet marjoram. Oregano is used for flavoring and is a staple herb of Italian American cuisine. In the United States, it gained popularity following World War II as soldiers returned home with a desire for the “pizza herb.”
A more flavorful choice than its crunchier cousin, Cutting Celery is a leafy, aromatic herb that can be substituted for celery in dishes if you want to add flavor without the stringy fibers. Often mistaken for flat-leafed Parsley, Cutting Celery has a dark, glossy leaf with a serrated edge and small sprig-like stalks. The leaves and stems can be used to add flavor to salads, vegetables, stews, and soups.
If you grow your herbs indoors you can enjoy them fresh year-round. But if that’s not an option, consider freezing or drying some of your own herbs to have available for cooking year-round. When you’re ready to buy herb plants, please check out our online store.
We believe in a greener way of living. Hopefully the posts here on The Herb Exchange Blog will help you with knowledge of herbs, gardening, recipes and a healthy life.
The Growers Exchange is committed to a greener way of growing and has been for over 30 years. We deliver healthy herb plants ready to be planted. We deliver your plants at the correct time for your shipping zone in the spring and fall.
The Growers Exchange is where gardeners go to grow since 1985.