Herb Garden Plants Add Spice and Value to The Landscape

“Help, What Herb Garden Plants should I grow?”

Does that sound familiar? It’s often the first question that comes to mind when deciding to have an herb garden. There are so many different kinds of herb garden plants that it can be a bit over whelming. Many people just think of the culinary herbs – those used in cooking, not realizing there are many different types of herb plants just like there are different types of flowers, vegetables, etc. Herb plants come in the form of flowers, shrubs, herbs, vegetables, fruits, and many more.  They also come in annuals, perennials, and biennials.  Confused, don’t be, this is a wonderful and satisfying adventure you’re about to embark on and this article will help you in understanding the different types of herb plants.

Your decision on what herb garden plants to choose should start by asking yourself a few questions. Once you’ve answered those questions you’ll have a good idea of what to plant for your garden herbs.

  • How am I going to use them: culinary, *medicinal, ornamental, aromatic, as a border?
  • Do I want to grow herbs in pots or in a separate herb garden?
  • Do I want to have herb plants for insect control?
  • Do I want to have herb plants for companion planting?
  • Do I want to have herb plants that I must replant every year? Annuals
  • Do I want to have herb plants that come back every year? Perennials
  • What season do I want them to grow in? You will also need to know what season they do grow in. 

 Annuals will not survive a frost and must be planted each year from seed or starts (small plants). Types of annuals include arugula, basil, calendula, chervil, cilantro, coriander, dill, nasturtiums, and summer savory.  At the end of the season if you let calendulas, dill, and nasturtiums go to seed and let the seeds falls into the soil, they will start new plants in the spring.

Perennials come back every year as they can survive a frost and colder temperatures, Types of perennials include aloe vera, blackberries, blueberries, catnip, chives, comfrey, fennel, lavender, lemon balm, marjoram, mint, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and verbena and many more. If you live is an area where the winters are severe or harsh, these herb garden plants will need some protection or they may not make it over the winter.  Some of these plants will start to get ‘woody’ after a few years and will need to be pruned way down or be replanted.

Biennial herb garden plants live two years; they form their leaves in their first growing season. They flower and seed in their second season and die. Here again letting some of these plants go to seed, they will reseed themselves and send up new plants the following spring. A few biennials include angelica, caraway, chicory, evening primrose, foxglove, moneyplant, and parsley.  Some herb gardeners treat these plants as being fickle and sow their seeds every year.

Herb fall into one of more of the four main categories of herb plants for which they are used

The first category is Culinary herbs and this is probably the most popular category and most useful to herb gardeners. These are the herbs that are used in a vast array of used in cooking. A portion of the list includes basil, chives, dill fennel, marjoram, parsley, sage, savory, and thyme. These herbs have strong flavors and are used in small amounts.

The next category is Aromatic herb garden plants. These produce pleasant smelling flowers and or foliage. They are grown and harvested for their oils to be made into perfumes, toilet water, and other scents. A few of these herb plants include geranium, lovage, mint, rose, and rosemary. Aromatic herb plants are used in sachets and potpourris. A few of these include carnations, costmary, lavender, and lemon verbena.

The third category are the Ornamental herbs often used to showcase the landscape and increase its value. Ornamental herbs are used for decoration and in crafts and also span the other three categories of herbs. Purple Basil, Bee Balm, Blue Cohosh, Garlic Chives, Juniper, Lamb’s Ear, Sweet Cicley, and Silver Thyme are just a few of the herbs in this category.

The last category is *Medicinal purposes.  These herb garden plants can add a medicine cabinet to your garden, as long as you know specifically what each plant is for.  This is not for the inexperienced as far as using the plants for medicinal purposes. By all means grow these herbs but don’t use them for specific medical conditions unless you know precisely what you are doing. Some of these plants are fine to use externally but not internally and some must never be ingested.

As you can see herb garden plants are used for their flavors in cooking their aromatic scents, their beauty, and medicinal qualities.

For more information please sign up for our free mini-course on growing herbs and check out our recommended reading.

Growing herbs is rewarding. Have fun with it and be creative!

* If you are growing herbs for medicinal use and have no prior knowledge or experience with them, please check with your physician prior to using them in any medicinal remedies.

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