Best Perennial Herbs for Your Garden

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Perennial Herbs

plant once it grows forever

Many herbs are annuals that must be replanted each spring, but there are also a number of perennial herbs, hardy in a wide range of climates, that can be planted once and allowed to grow for many years.

Perennial herbs take some of the hard work out of the garden design and come back year after year. They are easy to grow and always look wonderful. A perennial herb patch also allows you to divide and expand your herb plants at no cost.

When designing your garden, consider these five plants for an easy-care, long-lasting herb garden.

Coneflower (Echinacea spp.)

Echinacea is not only useful for healing, it is a beautiful accent to any garden. Echinacea grows in virtually any garden situation. The genus comprises 10 different species, but the most commonly cultivated is the purple coneflower (Echinacea pupurea).

Using echinacea as an edible herb generally involves making an alcohol tincture using the flowers and buds, or drying and grinding the roots to use in teas. Echinacea has proven health benefits and is used effectively to prevent colds and flu.

Echinacea will self-seed and spread easily, or you can remove the dried seeds, separate the seeds, and plant them wherever you want.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 8
  • Color Variations: Purple; cultivars are also available in other colors
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Soil Needs: Dry to medium-moisture, well-drained soil

Sage (Salvia officinalis)

Sage is a wonderfully versatile herb for your garden, with cultivars offering many colors and growing habits. Try using it as a great filler around other tall garden plants.

Salvia will grow for many years, returning even after the harshest winters. In culinary use, sage has a strong earthy flavor that pairs well with meat, especially sausages.

The only downside to growing sage for years is that it can become woody, at which point the leaves will only grow at the tips of the stems. Avoid this by keeping it pruned to stimulate new growth. The leaves will grow close to the cuttings and result in a more beautiful specimen.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 8
  • Color Variations: NA
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Needs: Dry to medium-moisture, well-drained soil

English Lavender (Lavendula augustifolia)

Lavender is used for everything from cooking to curing. Try growing this graceful herb alongside your best flowers. From shades of purple and blue to white, lavender is truly a wonderful perennial herb.

Give the lavender plenty of space in the garden, as it will quickly grow quite large. There are many different cultivars available, and if you don't get them right away, try other varieties. Lavender has shallow roots, which makes wet roots the biggest concern.

Make sure your plants have enough drainage; Growing them in whiskey barrels or another porous container might be a good idea. Cut the stems several inches after flowering to encourage stronger root growth.

As an herb, lavender is often used in home health remedies, ointments, or soothing teas.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 8
  • Color Variations: Purple/blue, white
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Needs: Dry to medium-moisture, well-drained soil

Garden Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

Thyme is a low-growing woody perennial herb that grows in any garden. It is available in upright and vertical varieties, so there is one to suit almost any situation and design. Thyme grows well in areas that are too dry and poor for many other plants.

Use thyme as a filler between stones on a walkway. It has a pleasant smell when stepped on and can withstand moderate traffic. In culinary use, it goes well with recipes that use garlic, olive oil, and tomatoes.

Thyme loves to be trimmed. It can be easily cut into decorative shapes for a more formal look. If you want to multiply the thyme, simply divide a healthy plant or cut a seedling.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9
  • Color Variations: NA; the pale purple flowers are insignificant
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Needs: Dry to medium-moisture, well-drained soil

Mint (Mentha spp.)

Peppermint can be invasive, but it's also an important addition to any difficult-to-grow garden. It will spread anywhere that allows it. To contain the plant and prevent the roots from spreading, try planting in a metal bucket buried in the ground or planting in pots.

Peppermint is a mild and refreshing tea herb and a beautiful fragrant plant. Try growing several varieties if you are really interested in using them to make tea. You don't want your mint varieties to mix, so leave plenty of space between them to avoid cross-pollination.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9 (depends on species)
  • Color Variations: NA; flowers are insignificant
  • Sun Exposure: Part shade
  • Soil Needs: Rich, moist soil

Design tip
Perennial herbs are a great way to landscape your garden with much less effort than replanting annuals every year. You might consider designing your garden layout and include any perennial herb locations. This makes planning work easier where annuals can fill in the gaps between perennials.

Enjoy This Video Tutorial About 5 EASY Perennial Herbs

Source: Liz Zorab - Byther Farm

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