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Aug 132012

Herbs in the gardenMany edible perennial herbs do double duty as handsome landscape or border plants. Chives, borage, hyssop, French tarragon, English lavender, oregano, sage and rosemary have attractive shapes, great fragrance and provide interest year round.

Some herbs are technically perennial, but are not hardy in Idaho’s temperate climate. Most cultivars of rosemary (except ‘Arp’), lemon verbena, pineapple sage, and French or Spanish lavenders must be replanted every year, or overwintered indoors in pots. For more information on USDA Hardiness Zones or to determine in which zone you live and garden, visit the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.

Some perennial herbs, like horseradish, lemon balm, and mint can become invasive in the garden. Plant where they can spread comfortably, or try planting them in the ground in a large pot to contain them.

Perennial Herbs
Name of Perennial Herb Height/Spread Hardy to USDA Zone: Suitable for Containers? How Propagated Primary Uses*
Anise Hyssop
Agastache foeniculum
5′ x 24″ 4-5 No Seed or division attracts bees, edible flowers, leaves in teas, baked goods, salads, jelly
Bee Balm
Monarda didyma
3′ x 15″ 4 No seed or division attracts bees, edible flowers, teas, jelly, soups, stews
Nepeta cataria
1′ x 3′ 4 Yes Seed or division teas, fresh and dried leaves enjoyed by cats (protect young plants from mauling)
Chamomile, Roman
Anthemis nobilis
2-8″ x 18″ 3 Yes Seed, division or cuttings teas, bath herbs, soaps, sachets
Chives Allium
12″ x 12″ 4 Yes Seed or division edible flowers, use leaves in salads, soups, eggs, dips, butters
Common Fennel
Foeniculum vulgare
4-5′ x 12″ 5 No Seed (doesn’t transplant well) seeds: flavor sausages, breads; bulb: roasted or in salads; leaves: as garnishes, salads, dips
English Lavender
Lavandula augustifolia
24-36″ x 18″ 5-8 (dislikes winter wet) Yes Seed, cuttings Herbes de provence, potpourris, sachets, baked goods, vinegars, jelly
French Tarragon
Artemesia dracunculus
24″ x 12″ 3 Yes Root cuttings or division sauces, soups, fish, meat, omelets, vegetable dishes
Garden Sage
Salvia officinalis
18-30 x 12″ 4-8 (purple, variegated types less hardy) Yes Seed, stem cuttings, division, layering seasoning for poultry, meat, potatoes, stuffing vegetables, pasta
Teucrium chamaedrys
10-12″ x 8-10″ 5 Yes Stem cuttings, layering, division Attracts bees, evergreen, sachets, not culinary
Armoracia rusticana
24″ x 18″ (but will spread) 3 Yes (in large, deep container or barrel) Root cuttings, division grate and add to sauces, meats and seafood
Lemon Balm
Melissa officinalis
3′ x 2′ 5 Yes Seed, cuttings, division hot and iced teas, fish, vegetables, poultry, potpourris
Lemon Verbena
Aloysia triphylla
2-5′ x 12-24″ 9-10 Yes Stem cuttings baked goods, drinks, salads, jellies, teas, potpourris, sachets
Levisticum officinale
3-5′ x 2″ 3 No Seed, division leaves have a celery flavor, use in soups, salads, chicken dishes
Origanum majorana
1-2′ x 12″ 9-10 Yes Seed, cuttings, division meats, salads, omelets, vinegars, teas, soups, stews
Mentha (Peppermint Mentha x piperita, Spearmint Mentha spicata)
36″ x 18″ 5 Yes Seed, division Teas, baked goods, jellies, sauces, vegetables, fruits
Origanum vuglare
24″ x 8-12″ 4 Yes Seed, cuttings, division flavoring for tomato dishes, meat, poultry, Mexican dishes, sauces, dried or fresh
Rosmarinus officinalis
3-6′ x 12″ 8-10 Yes Seed, stem cuttings, layering, division meat, potatoes vegetables, eggs, baked goods, jam, teas, vinegars
Stevia rebaudiana
30″ x 24″ 9 Yes Seed or stem cuttings alternative sweetener, use leaves fresh, dried or in liquid
Salad Burnet
Poterium sanguisorba
12″ x 24″ 5 Yes Seed or division leaves have a cucumber flavor, good in salads, sandwiches, soups, butters
4-12″ x 6-12″ 4 Yes Seed, cuttings, division poultry and meat, vegetables, soups, rice, cheese, teas, potpourris
Winter Savory
Satureja montana
24″ x 18″ 5 Yes Seed, cuttings meat, fish, salads, soup, stew, sausage, stuffing

* Easy to follow directions for propagating herbs by seed, cuttings or division are found in the University of Missouri Extension Publication Growing Herbs at Home, available free online

**Some information in this table on herb uses provided by Cornell University’s Growing Herbs for the Home Gardener

 August 13, 2012