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Herbs – Multiple Uses And Easy To Grow

Elvis Elvis

Herb gardening is easy to do. Herb gardens provide attractive plants with pretty flowers, spices for foods, and health remedies.

Different Types of Herbs

There are many types of herbs available to grow in your garden. Just like other plants and flowers, they are available as Perennials, Annuals, or Biennials. The primary herb categories include:

  1. Culinary Herbs
  2. Medicinal Herbs
  3. Aromatic Herbs
  4. Ornamental Herbs

[1] Culinary Herbs – These herbs are used for all sorts of cooking and seasoning and are known for their strong flavors. Examples of culinary herbs include:

  • Basil
  • Chives
  • Mint
  • Thyme
  • Marjoram
  • and Others…

Herbs   Multiple Uses And Easy To Grow

[2] Medicinal Herbs – As the name implies these herbs have been use for medicine & curatives for centuries. There are hundreds of herbs used for all sorts of remedies including:

  • Ginger
  • Chickweed
  • Ginseng
  • Ginkgo Biloba
  • Feverfew
  • and Others…

[3] Aromatic Herbs – These herbs are grown for their pleasant smelling flowers or foliage. They have been used for centuries to make perfumes and for their overall scent properties. Examples of aromatic herbs include:

  • Mint
  • Rosemary
  • Lovage
  • Marjoram
  • Basil
  • and Others…

[4] Ornamental Herbs – These are perfect for your flower gardens and overall landscaping. Ornamental herbs can have beautiful flower and foliage colors with whites, crimson, blue, and many other colors. Examples of ornamental herbs include:

  • Borage (blue flowers)
  • Chicory (blue flowers)
  • Valerian (crimson flowers)
  • Lavender (foliage)
  • Chives (foliage)
  • Mint (foliage)
  • and Others…

Perennial – Annual – Biennial Herbs

You will want to mix your garden with a variety of herbs based on design taste and what you’ll be using them for. It is helpful to know which herbs will come back each year and which ones you’ll be re-planting annually.

Perennial Herbs – Perennials come back every year surviving the winter to bloom each season once established. Examples of perennials include:

  • Mint
  • Fennel
  • Chives
  • Marjoram
  • and Others…

Annual Herbs – Annual herbs need to be re-planted each season because they bloom one season and then die. Examples of annual herbs include:

  • Dill
  • Basil
  • Summer Savory
  • Chervil
  • and Others…

Biennial Herbs – These live for only two seasons and bloom the second season only. Biennial herb examples include:

  • Parsley
  • Caraway
  • and Others…

Growing Herbs

Growing herbs is really like cultivating other types of plants in that you give them what they like and they will thrive. The specific growing conditions needed will vary depending on the herb variety. In general most herbs like the following set of circumstances:

Sunlight – Most herbs need sunny locations to produce at their best. Herbs will generally tolerate some shade but they typically need between 6-8 hours of sunshine each day. There are a few herbs that are shade lovers like sweet cicely, angelica, and woodruff, but these are the exception.

Soil – Herbs will easily fit into your landscaping schemes because they like average soil conditions you have with good garden soils. They like neutral soils with pH levels in the 6.5 to 7.0 range. An interesting note is that if the soil is “too fertile” herbs wills tend to produce excessive foliage. This compromises both flower production as well as the flavors of the herbs for seasoning.

Soil Prep & Drainage: Herbs generally like well draining soils. If the area you will plant is too moist consider adding materials that will provide looser soil like compost. Another method is to create a raised bed for better drainage. A few herbs can tolerate moister soils like:

  • Mint
  • Angelica
  • Loveage
  • Others…

Fertilizing – Herbs are not heavy feeders so they generally do not need much fertilizer. If you feel the need to fertilize use a 5-10-5 ratio and only about 2 times in the growing season.

Pest – Herbs seem to be resistant to most insects and disease. Some of the pest that so affect herbs include:

  • Aphids (attack Dill, Fennel, Caraway, & Anise)
  • Spider Mites (variety of herbs)
  • Rust (affects Mint)
  • Grasshoppers & Some Caterpillars (variety of herbs)

Wintering – A large number of herbs suffer from the winter and require protection. Only perennial & biennial herbs need this since annuals won’t be back the next year anyway. May herbs have shallow root systems so the winter heaves them out during freezing and thawing. One solution is to put mulch around the base of the herbs to fully cover the roots a few inches.

Harvesting Herbs Herbs can be harvested for food and spices throughout their growing season by snipping pieces off the stems or leaves as needed. They can also be harvested for their flowers or aroma features by doing the same. If not immediately using the herbs you have cut, there are ways to preserve them for future usage:

  • Air Drying
  • Oven Drying
  • Microwave
  • Freezing

Once herbs are dried, you can store them in airtight containers. Remove and discard the stems first because they retain moisture that will cause mold. Herbs can be stored like this for up to 1-1/2 years if kept in airtight containers and away from bright light and heat sources.

Various Herbs

Angelica: This herb has small clusters of greenish flowers and is used for a condiment or confection. Its characteristics include:

  • Biennial
  • Best in cool climates
  • Light shade
  • 72 inches tall
  • Hardy

Anise: This herb has very small whitish flowers and its leaves & seeds have a sweet licorice taste. Its characteristics include:

  • Annual
  • Alkaline soils
  • Bright light
  • 18-24 inches
  • Half Hardy

Sweet Basil: This herb has light green or dark purple leaves and small white flowers, and is used as for many cooking purposes. Its characteristics include:

  • Annual
  • Great for potting
  • Bright light
  • 18 inches tall
  • Tender

Sweet Bay: This is an evergreen tree that produces bay leaves often used for cooking. Its characteristics include:

  • Woody Perennial
  • Great for containers
  • Light shade
  • 48+ inches
  • Tender

Borage: This herb has sky blue flowers shaped like stars and its leaves taste somewhat like a cucumber. Its characteristics include:

  • Annual
  • Sometimes self seeds
  • Bright light
  • 24-36 inches tall
  • Hardy annual

Caraway: This herb has clusters of white flowers with leaves like carrot leaves. Its seeds are aromatic and are popular for cooking. Its characteristics include:

  • Biennial
  • Bright light
  • 30 inches tall
  • Hardy

Catnip: This herb has purple flowered spikes and its leaves are green on top and grey underneath. It is used for teas and well known for its appeal to cats. Its characteristics include:

  • Perennial
  • Bright light and Light shade
  • 36 inches tall
  • Hardy

Chervil: This herb has white flowers and is used like parsley in cooking. Its characteristics include:

  • Annual
  • Light shade
  • 24 inches tall
  • Hardy

Chives: This herb is onion like and produces light purple flowers and also taste a lot like an onion. Its characteristics include:

  • Perennial
  • Does well indoors
  • Shade
  • 10 inches tall
  • Hardy

Sweet Cicely: This herb has decorative fernlike leaves and white flowers. It is used for cooking and used along with other herbs in cooking. Its characteristics include:

  • Perennial
  • Light shade
  • 36-48 inches tall
  • Hardy

Comfrey: This herb has yellowish white or pink flowers and can taste somewhat bitter. Its characteristics include:

  • Perennial
  • Neutral pH & fertile soil needed
  • Bright light
  • 36-48 inches tall
  • Hardy

Coriander: This herb has umbels of pinkish white flowers and its seeds are used in spice mixtures and curry powders. Its characteristics include:

  • Annual
  • Bright light
  • 24 inches tall
  • Hardy

Dill: This herb has yellow flowers arranged in flat umbels. It leaves are chopped up and used in many cooking recipes. Its characteristics include:

  • Annual
  • Bright light
  • 24-36 inches
  • Hardy

Sweet Fennel: This herb has delicate umbels of yellow flowers and is traditionally used with fish and many other cooking uses. Its characteristics include:

  • Perennial
  • Hard time in clay soils
  • Bright light
  • 48-72 inches
  • Hardy

Horehound: This herb has crinkled leaves and is used to flavor candy. Its characteristics include:

  • Perennial
  • Alkaline soil
  • Bright light
  • 24 inches tall
  • Hardy

Hyssop: This herb has spikes of blue flowers and the leaves are slightly bitter and used for salads. Its characteristics include:

  • Perennial
  • Bright light
  • 24 inches tall
  • Hardy

Lavender: English Lavender flowers are bluish purple spikes and it is used for teas, potpourri and sachets. Its characteristics include:

  • Perennial
  • Bright light
  • 18-24 inches tall
  • Hardy

Lemon Balm: This herb has light green heart shaped leaves, yellowish white flowers, and is added to jams, jellies, and fruit salads. Its characteristics include:

  • Perennial
  • Great for indoors
  • Bright light
  • 18-24 inches tall
  • Hardy

Lemon Verbena: This herb has long pointed dark green leaves and has a lemony taste that is used for teas and jellies. Its characteristics include:

  • Woody Perennial
  • Great indoors
  • Bright light and Light shade
  • 48+ inches tall
  • Half Hardy

Lovage: This herb has clusters of yellow flowers with its leaves having a spicy taste used in soups and other dishes. Its characteristics include:

  • Perennial
  • Light shade
  • 36-60 inches tall
  • Hardy

Sweet Marjoram: This herb has small pale mauve or white flowers. It can be sweet and spicy and its delicate flavor is used for poultry, beef or game. Its characteristics include:

  • Perennial
  • Grows well in pots
  • Bright light
  • 8-12 inches tall
  • Half Hardy

Myrtle: This is an evergreen shrub with small evergreen leaves as well as small creamy white flowers. The flowers produce blue-black berries and the leaves are used in potpourri and herb sachets. Its characteristics include:

  • Woody Perennial
  • Bright light
  • 60+ inches tall
  • Tender

Oregano: This herb has sprawling leaves and is famous for the oregano spice used in foods including pizza. Its characteristics include:

  • Perennial
  • Bright light and Light shade
  • 18-24 inches tall
  • Hardy

Parsley: This herb has curly dark green foliage and is used in many cooking recipes throughout the world. Its characteristics include:

  • Biennial
  • Bright light
  • 6-10 inches tall
  • Half Hardy

Peppermint: This herb has dark green leaves and is considered invasive. It has a great aroma and will do well in moist soils. Its characteristics include:

  • Perennial
  • Great indoors
  • Bright light
  • 12-24 inches tall
  • Hardy

Rosemary: This herb is popular and is used recipes for shellfish, veal, lamb and other meat dishes. Its characteristics include:

  • Woody Perennial
  • Alkaline soils
  • Bright light
  • 36 inches tall
  • Tender

Sage: This herb has several varieties including a purple leaved, variegated leaved, and dwarf version. It is commonly used in cooking meats and for dressings. Its characteristics include:

  • Woody Perennial
  • Bright light
  • 24-36 inches tall
  • Hardy

Pineapple Sage: This herb has cardinal red flowers and is used to give a pineapple scent to potpourris and to add flavor to teas. Its characteristics include:

  • Perennial
  • Great indoors
  • Bright light
  • 24-48 inches tall
  • Half Hardy

Summer Savory: This herb has small white or lavender flowers and its leaves are used as a condiment for meats and vegetables. Its characteristics include:

  • Annual
  • Bright light
  • 18 inches tall
  • Half Hardy

Spearmint: This herb has crinkled leaves which are used to make mint sauce and in cold drinks. Its characteristics include:

  • Perennial
  • Great indoors
  • Bright light
  • 18 inches tall
  • Hardy

Tarragon: This herb has narrow twisted dark green leaves and is used to flavor vinegar. Its characteristics include:

  • Perennial
  • Bright light
  • 24 inches tall
  • Hardy

Thyme: This herb has small gray green leaves and is used for all sorts of food seasoning. Its characteristics include:

  • Woody Perennial
  • Great indoors
  • Bright light
  • 6-10 inches
  • Hardy

Sweet Woodruff: This herb has shinny leaves that whorl around its stem. It is used for potpourri, and in May wine among other uses. Its characteristics include:

  • Perennial
  • Great groundcover
  • Shade
  • 6-8 inches tall
  • Hardy