Herbs


QUICK REFERENCE PLANTING GUIDE

1. Light/Sun Exposure - Full to partial sun.

2. USDA Hardiness Zones - See information under varietal information.

3. Planting Distance - See information under varietal information.

4. Planting Instructions - As indicated below.

Container - The easiest way to grow, care for, and harvest herbs is through container growing. Place each plant into an individual 4.5" to 6" container with drainage holes. Each pot needs a saucer to catch excess water and provide a small reservoir for the plant.

 

In Ground - When planting in the ground, you should never dig the hole too deep. Place the crown of the plant below the original soil line, trying to keep it even or slightly higher due to settling which naturally occurs. Water your plants thoroughly to displace any air pockets and provide moisture for root uptake. 

 

GET THE MOST ENJOYMENT

Herbs make attractive foliage plants that provide interesting textures and they are great backdrops to flowering plants. Herbs require a generous amount of light and do not perform well in shaded areas.

You may trim the plant to shape it but try to leave as much of the leaf surface as possible.

VARIETAL INFORMATION

Varigated Oregano 'Variegata' is an annual that typically forms a foliage mat 4 to 12 inches tall and with a similar spread..  The leaves are used to flavor food dishes, particularly Italian cuisine. Hardy in zones 9 to 11 only.

Perpetuo Pesto' Basil is a new cultivar of Greek columnar basil for landscape and culinary use.  'Pesto Perpetuo' is characterized by variegated foliage of green centers and white margins with a non-flowering habit enabling year round vegetative propagation. It does not flower so there is nothing to detract from the foliage. Grows 18-24 inches tall with a 12-inch spread. Hardy in zones 9 to 11.

Chocolate Mint is a perennial that will over winter in Zones 5 to 9 but should be potted and brought indoors in zones 1 to 4. Very strong mint used for teas.  Great dried and added to black tea or used by itself, Chocolate Mint also makes a nice addition to chocolate desserts or a surprise addition to breakfast breads. Can grow 3-6 feet tall and as wide and tolerates heavy pruning.

Pineapple Sage grows 36 to 48 inches tall and as wide with ruby red flowers in the late summer to early autumn. Hardy in-ground in zones 9 to 11. It is best grown in containers so it can be moved indoors to a sunroom or sunny window at the end of the growing season.

Golden Oregano 'Aureum' is a sprawling perennial that typically forms a foliage mat 6-12 inches tall and a spread of 18 inches or more. Tiny, pinkish-purple, two-lipped flowers rise above the foliage in summer in terminal spikes. The flowers are conspicuous and edible but not of high ornamental value. The leaves are used to flavor food dishes, particularly Italian cuisine. Hardy in zones 4 to 9.

Rosemary 'Tuscan Blue' is a tender perennial that will over winter in Zones 8 to 10 but should be potted and brought indoors in zones 1 to 7. These plants are highly fragrant and produce masses of flavorful foliage you can use in a variety of recipes. It is also prized for its ornamental qualities. Can grow 3-6 feet tall and as wide and tolerates heavy pruning.

Tricolor Sage grows 18-24 inches tall and as wide with light blue flowers in the summer. Hardy in-ground in zones 9 to 11 it is best grown in containers so it can be moved indoors to a sunroom or sunny window at the end of the growing season.

Hot and Spicy Oregano has dark green leaves with white flowers. A reliable perennial herb.  Great  oregano aroma, great for pizza and Mediterranean cooking.  Grows 8 to 24 inches tall with a similar spread. 

Golden Thyme is a variegated form of lemon thyme with golden-edged leaves; it is colorful and surprisingly fragrant of lemons. The variegation is less pronounced during the hot, sunny days of summer. Lemon thyme is particularly good for fish and chicken. An upright, bushy growing habit of 6 to 10 inches tall with a 12-inch spread with bright green leaves.  Zones 5 to 9.

Garlic Chives have a flat blade whereas the regular chive has a hollow blade.  Their flowers, which are also edible, bloom in the warmth of summer, unlike regular Chives that bloom in the early spring.When the flower heads go to seed and ripen,they become shiny black seeds are a peppery delicacy when sprouted: the perfect winter treat. Zones 3 to 11.

French Tarragon prefers rich, sandy, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.9 and can grow in full or part shade. This plant will nnot be true French Tarragon when grown from seed, it is only propagated by cuttings. Do not overwater your plant, as it is subject to root rot. Tarragon is perfect for a container garden-due to its need for a drier root system.  Snip or pinch leaves as needed. Tarragon stems may be snipped and hung to dry. Flavor stays strong in dried leaf. Zones 4 to 9.

Greek Columnar Basil grows 12 to 36 inches tall with a 12 to 15 inch spread.  It cannot be grown true to taste from seed, propagation by cuttings only.  This plant is a tropical and must be taken in for the winter.  It is only zoned for 10 to 11.  Greek Columnar Basil has a strong aroma of cinnamon and allspice. A great basil as it did not flower at all in the garden, staying fragrant up to harvesting. 

Silver Lemon Thyme is a lovely cultivar of the herb.  It is one of the most popular thymes for combination planters and ground cover. A few leaves in any  dish or salad that calls for lemon will add a bright lemon flavor with a touch of thyme. Growing 6 to 12 inches tall in zones 5 to 8.

Pineapple Mint has a pleasant pineapple flavor and the leaves are ideal to add to fruit cups, punches and teas. It is important to keep any rogue green stems cut off. If left to grow these green leaved stems will outgrow the variegated ones and you will loose the variegation. The result will still be tasty but it will be Apple Mint instead of Pineapple Mint.  This is one of the few herbs that prefer partial shade and is great for container planting.  Zones 6 to 11.

Purple Sage is a popular evergreen plant in desert gardens. These are evergreen perennial subshrubs with woolly grayish leaves that add an earthy freshness to foods. Spikes of purple/blue flowers appear in mid-summer.  Frequent harvesting and pruning helps to reinvigorate sage plants.  This herb prefers a sunny location and is drought tolerant.  They will grow  2 to 3 feet tall with a similar spread.  Zones 5 to 9.

Barbeque Rosemary  grows 4 to 5 feet tall with a 2 to 3 foot spread.  Plant 2 feet apart in ground.  Zones 8 to 10.

Once the plants begin to grow, begin fertilization and pruning them. Herbs should be fertilized twice a month when they are actively growing, with Cottage Farms' water soluble Carefree Bud-N-Flower Booster. Pruning will actually stimulate growth as long as you do not prune them excessively.

CONTINUING CARE

Water - Your plants require 1" of rainfall (or equivalent watering) each week when planted in the ground.  Do not allow plants in containers to dry out.  In a container that is exposed to full sun, water it well at least once every other day, and possibly every day, during periods of intense summer heat.  You may wish to temporarily move containerized plants to an area where they are shielded from the hot summer sun (i.e., in the shade of a tree, on a porch near an overhang).

Winterizing - In the fall, bring your herbs indoors to continue harvesting the leaves.  Plants should be placed away from heat sources and cold drafts, place them where they receive plenty of light. 

A room that receives ample natural light or a room that is well lit during the day is the ideal situation. 

After the danger of frost move the containers back outside into their normal growing environment.

Productivity and Harvest - Under normal care, herbs will grow and produce the entire year if supplied with the proper light and fertilization. When cutting leaves to use as a seasoning, never cut the entire plant off or leave it with no leaves. Always try to leave 2/3rds of the leaf surface attached so the plant has the capability to continue to produce.

Special Needs or Notes - Herbs prefer an air temperature of 55-68 degrees F. The warmer the air temperature in which the herbs are grown the faster their growth will be. If the temperature is too warm, the plants will become leggy, could become unsightly, and will be harder to manage. Moderate growth is best for the flavor and overall health of the plant.

CAUTION: Not all plant material is edible. Though most plants are harmless, some contain toxic substances which can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, or other discomforts. As a general rule, only known food products should be eaten. In case of ingestion, please contact your local poison control center at once and advise them of the plant ingested. Keep out of reach of children.