Quantcast
Food
Perennial herbs will come back year after year if you take care of them right. (Note: This is a stock photo; not all herbs pictured are perennials. Please read the story for more information, and thank you.) Oksana Shufrych / Shutterstock

7 Perennial Herbs to Plant Now

Growing vegetables successfully takes ample dedication and a fair bit of growing space—plus the knowledge to do it right. And once they run out, you have to plant them again! No so with perennial herbs!

Annual herbs like basil and dill must be planted anew each year, but most other commonly used herbs qualify as perennials. They will go dormant where winters are cold, only to perk back up again each spring.


You have two options when it comes to starting perennial herbs: You can plant them directly in the ground or grow them in pots. Early spring is the best time to plant outdoors, but you can put the herbs in the ground any time of year that it's not frozen. If going the potted route—a great option for those in colder regions looking to get started right away, or anyone who wants year-round harvests—make sure there's a sunny window (or grow lights) available.

The small stature of perennial herbs make them great candidates for windowsills, patios, balconies and decks. All of the following varieties will thrive in two- to three-gallon containers. Instead of running to the store when you need a sprig of this or that, simply step out your back door. Just remember, you can only harvest a small portion of the plant at one time—ideally no more than 10 percent—if you want it stay alive and thriving.

1. Lavender

Uses: Flavoring for beverages and desserts; flowers may be used in dried arrangements, and herbal remedies, like tinctures.

Growing Instructions: Plant in well-drained soil in a sunny location; cut off the flower stalks as they fade.

Tip to Keep It Thriving: Lavender likes its soil on the dry side—be careful not to overwater.

Bonus: Lavender blossoms are very attractive to butterflies.

2. Sage

Uses: Meat, pasta sauces, and other savory dishes.

Growing Instructions: Plant in well-drained soil in a sunny location.

Tips to Keep It Thriving: Cut the stalks back by about 30 percent each fall to encourage lush new growth.

Bonus: There are many varieties of sage besides the standard culinary herb—try pineapple sage for iced tea.

3. Rosemary

Uses: An essential ingredient in many savory dishes; the woody stalks of the plant can be cut for use as flavor-enhancing shish kebab skewers.

Growing Instructions: Plant in well-drained soil in a sunny location.

Tips to Keep It Thriving: Rosemary likes its soil on the dry side—be careful not to overwater.

Bonus: Try one of the low-growing, spreading rosemary varieties, such as 'Prostratus', for an aromatic groundcover.

4. Mints

Uses: Flavoring for beverages and desserts.

Growing Instructions: Plant in part shade and irrigate several times per week during hot, dry weather; tolerant of poorly drained soil.

Tips to Keep It Thriving: As long as they have moisture, mints are hard to kill; more important is to know that you must plant them in pots if you don't want them spreading all over the yard.

Bonus: Lemon balm, a mint relative, provides a citrusy zest for your favorite iced beverage.

5. Thyme

Uses: An essential ingredient in many savory dishes, especially those that hail from Italy.

Growing Instructions: Plant in well-drained soil in a sunny location.

Tips to Keep It Thriving: Cut the stalks back 50 percent in fall to encourage lush new growth.

Bonus: This low-growing plant is an excellent groundcover for planting between steppingstones, where it will release its delicious fragrance each time you walk by.

6. Oregano

Uses: An essential ingredient in many savory dishes, especially those that hail from Italy.

Growing Instructions: Plant in well-drained soil in a sunny, or partly sunny, location.

Tips to Keep It Thriving: Cut the stalks back 30 percent after they flower in summer.

Bonus: Oregano has a drooping habit that is attractive in hanging baskets.

7. Chives

Uses: Unparalleled in omelettes; use in any dish where you'd like to add a bit of onion flavor.

Growing Instructions: Plant in a sunny location and irrigate at least once per week during hot, dry weather.

Tips to Keep It Thriving: Chives grow from fleshy roots that can become overcrowded when confined in a pot—divide the roots into fist-size clumps and pot them up in fresh soil every two or three years.

Bonus: The purple flowers also possess a light onion flavor—toss them in salads as a garnish

Reposted with permission from our media associate Modern Farmer.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Climate
Pexels

Cosmos Offers Clues to the Fate of Humans on Earth

By Marlene Cimons

Astrophysicist Adam Frank sees climate change through a cosmic lens. He believes our present civilization isn't the first to burn up its resources—and won't be the last. Moreover, he thinks it's possible the same burnout fate already might have befallen alien worlds. That's why he says the current conversation about climate change is all wrong. "We shouldn't be talking about saving the planet, because the Earth will go on without us," he said. "We should be talking about saving ourselves."

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Chicago skyline on April 20, 2017. Chris Favero / CC BY-SA 2.0

Big Cities, Bright Lights: Ranking the Worst Light Pollution on Earth

By Dipika Kadaba

The amount of artificial lighting is steadily increasing every year around the planet. It's a cause for celebration in remote villages in Africa and the Indian sub-continent that recently gained access to electricity for the first time, but it is also harming the health and well-being of residents of megacities elsewhere that continue to get bigger and brighter every year.

Health impacts of this artificial illumination after daylight hours range from depression to cancer, including a range of sleep disorders.

Keep reading... Show less
Business
velkr0 / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Texas Supreme Court Rules Cities Cannot Ban Plastic Bags

The Texas Supreme Court struck down the city of Laredo's plastic bag ban—a decision that will likely overturn similar bans in about a dozen other cities, including Austin, Fort Stockton and Port Aransas.

Keep reading... Show less
Politics
Ryan Zinke visits Wall Drug in Wall, South Dakota on May 25. Sherman Hogue / U.S. Dept. of the Interior

Report: Trump Admin. Suppressing Media Access of Government Scientists

A new Trump administration protocol requires U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists to run interview requests with the Department of the Interior, its parent agency, before speaking to journalists, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The move is a departure from past media practices that allowed government scientists to quickly respond to journalists' inquiries, according to unnamed USGS employees interviewed by the Times.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Climate
Icebergs calving from an ice shelf in West Antarctica. NASA / GSFC / Jefferson Beck / CC BY-SA 2.0

Good News From Antarctica: Rising Bedrock Could Save Vulnerable Ice Sheet

After last week's disturbing news that ice melt in Antarctica has tripled in the last five years, another study published Thursday offers some surprising good news for the South Pole and its vulnerable West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS).

The study, published in Science by an international research team, found that the bedrock below the WAIS is rising, a process known as "uplift," at record rates as melting ice removes weight, potentially stabilizing the ice sheet that scientists feared would be lost to climate change.

Keep reading... Show less
GMO
Soybeans with cupped leaves, a symptom of dicamba injury. University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

Dicamba Damage Roars Back for Third Season in a Row

University weed scientists have reported roughly 383,000 acres of soybean injured by a weedkiller called dicamba so far in 2018, according to University of Missouri plant sciences professor, Kevin Bradley.

Dicamba destroys mostly everything in its path except the crops that are genetically engineered (GE) to resist it. The drift-prone chemical can be picked up by the wind and land on neighboring non-target fields. Plants exposed to the chemical are left wrinkled, cupped or stunted in growth.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Food
Memphis Meats

FDA Takes First Steps to Regulating Lab-Grown Meat

By Dan Nosowitz

Lab-grown meat—also known as cultured meat or in vitro meat—has long been enticing for its potential environmental, social and economic benefits.

Keep reading... Show less
Politics
Scott Pruitt speaking at meeting at the USDA headquarters in Washington, DC, on Jan. 17. Lance Cheung / USDA

Breaking: Sierra Club Demands Pruitt’s Emails After Only 1 Disclosed by EPA

As part of ongoing litigation, the Sierra Club has demanded that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) search Scott Pruitt's personal email accounts for work-related emails, or certify clearly and definitively that the administrator has never used personal email for work purposes. The demand comes on the heels of a successfully litigated Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for all of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's email and other communications with all persons and parties outside the executive branch. These facts were first reported in Politico early this morning.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!