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Perennial Herbs to Grow In Your Garden
Herbs might already be your best friends as a gardener or home cook. Or they could be that missing piece to you becoming the home cook you dream of. You don’t have to begin imagining a huge garden landscape to grow your own fresh herbs, and there are various perennial herbs that you can plant once and harvest for years to come. We’ve collected a list of the 12 most commonly used for you here!
Do you have a neighbor with an herb garden? One great thing about herbs is that you can grow many of them from cuttings or plant divisions, which means you might be able to bug your friends and get started for free.
The possibilities of growing from seed, from plant starts, from cuttings, or from plant divisions differ for each plant.
You can choose to grow them together in an herb bed, in easily moveable pots, or dispersed throughout your garden. My one piece of advice is to plant them close to your home or kitchen because you’ll use them more often if they’re easily accessible…..and you’ll want to use your fragrant and fresh herbs regularly.
For each herb, you’ll find that certain varieties grow more successfully in your climate than others. I’d suggest buying or scouting out local seeds, plants, or divisions to ensure they will thrive in your area. Keep in mind that you can always work to create microclimates or frost protection for particular herbs that might be outside of your hardiness zone as well. Some of those listed are tender perennials that do best in warmer climates and some are cold-hardy.
It grows well in a range of climates but prefers full sun. Harvest chives by cutting them off as needed just above the ground before the plants flower. It will die back in harsh winters but re-emerge in the spring. Chives freeze well in an airtight bag or container and can be pre-chopped for easy additions to winter meals.
It grows best in fertile, well-draining soil in full sun. Mint spreads easily and can become invasive, so either plant it in a contained space or be prepared to contain its spreading habits. There are many varieties of mint with distinct flavor profiles; choose the flavor profiles and aromatics you enjoy. It is an extremely versatile herb that adds to sweet desserts, savory dishes, and beverages.
It grows best in dry soil and when watered directly at its roots. Oregano produces small, but beautifully aromatic leaves and can grow up to 3 feet tall. Harvest by cutting anywhere along the stem just above a leaf node to allow for future branching growth. It loves to be regularly trimmed. Toss it in your homemade sauces, pizzas, stews, or marinated meat roasts. Check out our post on How to Dry Herbs to preserve oregano and other herbs listed.
It prefers full sun and well-draining soil and is a hardy plant. Rosemary can grow into a large, bountiful bush around 4 feet by 4 feet or be kept smaller in pots. Cut longer stems of at least 2-3 inches at a time to promote new growth. It’s used often as a seasoning for roasted veggies or potatoes.
Zones 7-10 (5-6 with winter protection)
It is drought-tolerant and prefers well-draining soil. It produces small leaves with a minty/lemony flavor. A regularly pruned thyme plant is a happy thyme plant. You can harvest thyme leaves at the base of the plant before they flower. It’s a staple seasoning in many savory vegetable and meat dishes.
It prefers well-draining soil and is drought-tolerant. The plant can reach heights of around 2 ft. You can harvest sage by cutting the stem off just above the root ball and pruning thick, woody stems back in early spring to promote new growth. Sage pairs well with poultry in particular.
It is a low-maintenance herb that provides beautifully delicate blooms for pollinators after its harvesting peak. The most well-known variety- sweet marjoram- only grows as a perennial in the warm climates of zones 9 & 10, but common marjoram tolerates colder temperatures. For the best flavor, harvest it before it flowers.
It is a hardy herb that can be grown in full sun or part shade. Hyssop acts as a pollinator plant with its striking spike flowers, but know that it can be an aggressive self-seeder if not deadheaded once the blooms fade. A member of the mint family, it is most often used medicinally, in soups, or in salads.
It prefers full sun and well-watered soil, but it is a hardy herb. Lemon balm can quickly become invasive, so choose wisely when planting and consider raised beds or containers. With its mild lemony flavor, lemon balm is versatile in teas and dishes that could benefit from a slight hint of citrus. It grows slender stems that can be cut just above the root ball.
*Parsley and Cilantro are not perennial herbs, but if let grow to seed they are likely to reseed in your garden the following year.
Bay Laurel, Ginger, Turmeric, Lemon Verbena, Lemongrass, and Cardamom are all herbs to look into growing as perennials in these climates.