HERBS THAT CAN BE GROWN IN OUR AREA AND A FEW WAYS THEY CAN BE USED
- SPICY GLOVE-small globe shaped ornamental type. Culinary. Protect from leaf miners in fall. Use sticky bars to trap.
- SWEET BASIL - Most common, easy to grow. Large glossy green leaves. Anise flavored. Great for pestos. The most popular and a favorite of all good cooks. A must for good basil vinegars. Used primarily in seasoning spaghetti sauces, stews, soups and many other dishes.
- PURPLE RUFFLES - easy to grow, not used too much in cooking, however, great for adding a couple of leaves to the sweet basil in making vinegars, to give it a champagne pink color.
- MEXICAN SPICE - Excellent in cooking and making vinegars-pungent flavor, stems dry beautifully - great for dried arrangements, tussie mussies, potpourris and great just to walk into the garden and run your hand over-makes your day.
- CINNAMON - Excellent in cookies, cakes, and another one to add to arrangements, green or dried just for adding aroma. A favorite.
BAY LAURES (Perennial)
A marvelous plant that can be grown in a large container. If planted in the ground it could reach a height of 40 ft. but, you can control its height in a pot. It can freeze, most particularly during the extreme low wind chill days. The cold winter winds can be devastating. Plant in a large pot, make it convenient to bring in, in the winter. Place outside in the spring. Fresh bay leaves are hard to beat, especially when used in butters and spreads.
Makes a soothing and sleep-inducing tea. Can be sewn in sachets or pillows to create a "sleep pillow". Cats love it. They will wallow in the bed where it grows. If this bugs you, you can plant some in a hanging basket. It will cascade and have blue blooms, when it matures
CHERVIL - (Annual)
- GERMAN-Considered an annual - however can be taken into the greenhouse and carried over the winter in more southern localities. The flowers are used as a tea. It is used in ointments and salves and the tea calms, soothes, and gives relief for spasms and cramps. It will grow to 18" in full sun to part shade. Like catnip it can also be made into a "sleep pillow".
- ROMAN - Low growing 6-9 inches, with tall flower stalks, makes a nice ground cover. Releases a pleasing odor when walked on, for which it was used historically.
An annual, which likes the cooler weather. Excellent for seasoning egg dishes. Use the delicate white flowers in flower arrangement.
CHIVES - (Perennial)
When trimming tops of chives, cut them about 1/2 inch from the ground. It will then produce new growth. These need to be propagated by root division in about 3 years. A must in every garden.
- ONION Used in many dishes - such as spreads, butters, baked potatoes, soups, stews and more. The flowers are lavender, used in salads. Chives can be blended in water and used as an insect repellent or grown among plants that may harbor unpleasant insects. Chives, garlic, onions and leeks make excellent repellents.
- GARLIC - Has a delicate garlic flavor - when dried will not hold its flavor as well as the onion chive, but is great in the same manner as a fresh addition to foods. Its flower is white and also can be eaten, add to salads. Flowers of both chives can be floated on punch bowls.
The Indians refer to this plant as 'boneknit'. It is believed to mend broken bones, relieve sore muscles and stop bleeding, by using it in the form of a compress. It is now used in face creams, which is said to clear certain skin problems, such as acne and brown spots. This plant is propagated from root division (cutting). It can be slightly invasive, but makes a beautiful blue flower that can be used in arrangements.
CONE FLOWER (Echinacea purpurea - Perennial)
Has a beautiful pink daisy like flower-excellent for cutting flower, is a hardy perennial. An extract of the root is believed to enhance the immune system, cleanse the block and slow the aging process. Grows to 3' in height and in full sun to evening shade.
CORIANDER - (Annual)
Also known as Chinese parsley, an annual used in latin dishes such as salsa, can be blended into a pesto for later use for butters, spreads and many other cooked foods. It likes full sun, but does not like the summer heat, which causes it to bolt quickly and go to seed.
CILANTRO - (Annual)
An excellent substitute for Coriander, this tender plant will freeze back, has an excellent flavor and has an even stronger flavor. Keep the prickly green flowers cut off; use the flower spike in stir frying, chopped like a scallion. Grow in full sun to part shade and once established, it's tough.
DILL - (Annual)
Dillweed (the leaves) is a favorite for many dishes. The seeds are used in pickling and vinegars. Cool weather plant. Harvest the outside leaves. Best seeded direct into the soil to prevent early bolting.
FENNEL- (Annual - will winter over if protected - in southern area.)
GARLIC - (Annual)
- BRONZE - Beautiful in your garden due to the outstanding color; is great in soups, fish or chopped in salad. Grows to 4' annual.
- FLORENCE - Often grown for its seed or bulbs, it is an annual. Grows to 3' tall in full sun with lots of water. The yellow flowers can be dried for arrangements. There are many good recipes for using the bulbs.
GERANIUMS - Scented - (Perennial - needs winter protection)
- SILVER SKIN- small bulbs are excellent in cooking, alae considered an excellent source for different health reasons. An annual which must be planted in the fall - September - October and will mature in the months of June - July in our area. Excellent for all types of dishes.
- ELEPHANT - Produces a very large head with big cloves, likes moist conditions and needs time for development as does the Silver skin. It is a favorite, because It's size makes it easier to chop, just doubling the amount called for in recipes as it is much milder than the smaller types. It will be 8 times larger than the smaller ones. Great to plant near roses and other plants that are prone to be bothered with aphids or white flies.
Lemon Rose, Rose, Peppermint, Snowflake, Peach, Apple, Cinnamon, Ginger, Lemon-Lime, Lime, Chocolate and many others. Are used as an excellent addition to cookies, cakes, teas and other desserts, in addition to being used in oils, vinegars and potpourris.
HOREHOUND - (Perennial)
Once used extensively in medicines. Grows to 3'. Is a hardy perennial. Makes a great addition to the herb garden. Used in making of cough drops, cough syrups and candies.
LAMBS EARS - (Perennial)
Grown for an ornamental, a good edging plant for the herb garden, needs part shade.
LAVENDER - (Perennial)
LEMON BALM - (Perennial)
- ENGLISH - Grows to 2 ft. is bushy, full and seems easier to grow than the French.Cannot tolerate extreme heat, so protect from the evening sun, and you may save it. Used in perfumes, sachets, all types of cosmetics, and can be used for making breads, syrups and honeys. Rub on insect bites to ease pain and promote healing.
- FRENCH - Not as robust as the English, can grow to 2 ft., has smaller serrated leaves. All lavenders are used in potpourris, bath salts, sachets and many cosmetics.
A hardy perennial in our area, can be invasive, but not so much that you can't handle it. It can be considered a friendship plant, as it has so many qualities and uses, anyone would be happy to have a starter plant. It can be propagated from the separation of root system as well. It makes a wonderful tea, is used in many dishes calling for a lemon flavor, such as breads, cookies and others.
LEMON GRASS - (Perennial - must be winter protected)
A relative of the Pampas Grass, not as dangerous to handle, grows to 4 ft. The strongest lemon flavor is in the lower end of the stem (small bulb) section. Makes a great tea, also a substitute for lemon in foods such as sauces and etc., harvest the stem right down to the ground level and chop like a scallion. Grows from full sun to part shade. Produces the most lemon oil that is used in many household products as well as used as a culinary herb. The tops will burn during a freeze, the entire plant needs to be mulched and protected from freezes.
LEMON MINT - (Perennial)
Another great lemon flavor, especially in teas. An annual that will grow to 3 ft. Grow in full sun, very showy
LEMON VERBENA - (Perennial)
The strongest of the lemon herbs, grows to 8 ft. with beautiful lavender flowers. Does best when cut back to control sprawly growth. Is excellent used in teas, dried for later uses in teas, cakes and cookies. Protect from bitter cold winters.
LOVAGE - (Biennial)
A great salad or soup herb. A biennial such as is the parsley, does like a lot of water. Likes sun to part shade. Does need protection in winter months. Used like celery in many dishes.
MARJORAM - (Annual - can winter over in greenhouse)
Sweet - a mild oregano - every cook needs one in their herb bed or window box. Used in many meat and vegetable dishes. Grows from 6-9 inches. Needs full sun and moderate water.
MINT - (Perennial)
Apple, Chocolate, Corsican, ENGLISH, Lemon-Lime, Lime, Orange, Peppermint, Pineapple, Spearmint, and Wintergreen, to name a few. There are many types of mints and many uses. It is invasive, but can be contained by planting in large pots or encircling the desired area with a metal trim placed in the ground, below the root system depth. Likes moist soil and will grow well in sun or shade. Keep the plant well trimmed, and if you remove some of the root growth, replace the soil to keep the plant healthy.
OREGANO - (Perennial)
Italian - Relative to the Marjoram - stronger, used in many dishes - ITALIAN foods - Latin foods and many more. A must. A perennial that needs some protection in winter.
Mexican - Used in the same manner as all other oreganos, especially in Latin foods. A nice plant to put in a large pot, protect from extreme heat and cold.
- ITALIAN - Large flat leaf. Great for chopping for making pestos and dishes of all sorts. Used in many foods, salads, spreads, butters, meats and vegetables.
- CURLY LEAF- A beautiful plant in the herb garden, very hardy,
wonderful in all dishes.
All Parsleys are biennials, some get very large. Use the very bottom leaves first for cooking. Parsley is a great source of iron, magnesium, and iodine. You can grow both kinds in full sun to part shade.
Native to India, great-smelling, tender perennial will not tolerate dry conditions or much cold. Should winter over in greenhouse. Used in cologne and perfumes, the smell is distinctive and very pleasing. Used in sachets or potpourris using the stems, leaves and flowers. Reaches 4 ft.
PENNYROYAL - (Perennial
An excellent flea and mosquito repellent, this is a strong smelling mint, and easily grown as a ground cover. Makes an excellent hanging basket or pot herb, but needs the rootball trimmed back and new soil added several times a year. Planted around pet quarters will repel fleas. Rubbing pest with fresh Pennyroyal works great.
PEPPERS - (Annual)
Chili, Jalapeno, Serrano and many others are wonderful plants to add to the herb garden, as is one of your important spices to have on hand and used sparingly. Serranos are excellent and a compliment to vinegars.
ROSEMARY - (Perennial)
There are many Rosemarys - the Prostrate which is a low growing, sprawling plant reaching 2-3 ft in height. Growing in large clay pots in our area is recommended, so they may be brought in during freezing weather.
The upright types can get quite large - up to 6-8 ft. and get full when trimmed periodically. Some of the uprights are more cold hardy, such as the Arp. All need some winter protection and do well if planted more in an enclosure and protected from low chill factor. The bitter cold winds do the most damage. An excellent culinary herb, used in many vegetable dishes, teas and baked goods. It is excellent on baked chicken.
Pine Scent Rosemary is an upright type that has a strong pine aroma, is used in many arrangements at yuletime.
RUE - (Perennial)
A hardy perennial growing to 2 ft. bluish gray foliage and yellow button flowers. Used as an insect repellent. Can cause a rash on some people, especially during the sunny part of the day.
SAGE - (Perennial)
- GARDEN SAGE - One of the Mediterranean herbs, that does not like to be in soggy soil. Best to let near dry out before watering. Key ingredient in soups, stews and poultry stuffings. If you ever use the fresh, you won't want to go back to the ground store bought type.
- PINEAPPLE- A favorite for appearance and flavor. Grows to 4 ft. has lush green leaves and red flowers that are attracted to hummingbirds and butterflies. You can use the leaves in teas and where you may want a pineapple flavor such as in baked goods, also the flowers are pretty floated on top of punch bowls.
- PURPLE- has light reddish, purple leaves. Dries beautifully.
- TRICOLOR - variegated leaves of white, purple and green. Use as garden sage.
A hardy perennial growing to 18" tall in full sun. A great salad herb, has a lemony flavor when using the young leaves raw. The older leaves can be cooked as greens. It is excellent made into a soup.
SWEET ANNIE - (Annual)
Grows to 5 ft., is an excellent dried arrangements, wreaths and in potpourri. Has an excellent aroma. Grows in full sun with moderate water.
TANSY - (Perennial)
Unique for its fern-like foliage and yellow button flowers, which are great for drying. A hardy perennial which grows to 3 ft. Grow in full sun. An excellent flea repellent. Plant near pet areas, works great.
TARRAGON - (Perennial)
- MEXICAN - Grown as a substitute for true tarragon. Will survive our winters if heavily mulched or covered during extreme cold times. Has an excellent anise aroma and can be used in many dishes, and vinegars. Has small marigold flowers, however, foliage loses its flavor during blooming period. Very hardy in our area with care.
- TRUE TARRAGON
Does not do well in our humid climate. If you try growing it, make sure you don't let it become too wet, too long. When planting, fill the pot about 1/3 full of chard or pea gravel before adding soil, and water only when it becomes dry. In lieu of True Tarragon, use the Mexican Mint Marigold (Mexican). It works perfectly.