Herb Garden Tip: 5 Herbs You Should NOT Start From Seed
When I first started gardening, one of the most frustrating things was not knowing that some plants are really hard to start from seed. I’m not saying these herbs are impossible to start from seed, but they often pose more difficulty or expend more resources than buying a small pot at the nursery to start.
Some seeds can take up to a month to germinate—and unsuspecting gardeners think that they failed when they aren’t seeing any growth. Some seeds need cold temperatures in order to germinate, and some even need special treatments such as soaking or scarring. This can be very frustrating for a beginner gardener.
This list covers 5 AMAZING herbs that I think you should have in your garden, but I also recommend purchasing them from a local nursery to avoid frustration. The good news is, these herbs are also perennials, which means that once you buy them once they will continute to come back in your garden year after year. For more information on annual versus perennial herbs, check out my FREE Herb Growing Guide which is available to all subscribers!
Lavender is one of my favorite scents ever! It’s also an herb that flourishes here in my mediterranean climate, and requires little water once established. Lavender is notoriously difficult to germinate, but somewhat easy to propogate—so you have the potential to make more plants off your original later.
Propagating a plant, means to take a cutting and actually root it to create an identical plant. Some gardeners use water to root the cutting, while others use a soil medium. Read my guide to propagating cuttings!
Lavender is a perennial herb that will return to your garden year after year. You can dry lavender for culinary uses, use it in potourri satchets, or simply let it be a pollinator plant. Bees love it! Sometimes I’ll rub my fingers on the lavender while walking through the garden just to benefit from the calming scent.
Choose the right type of lavender. Lavandula is a huge genus that encompasses all types of lavender (such as english, french, spanish, lavandin, and more). Different varieties are better suited for different purposes. In my garden, I prefer to grow lavender for culinary purposes. I purposely chose ‘munstead’ lavender (a type of English lavender) to grow because using it is said to have good flavor for cooking. Therefore, if you are looking to use lavender for a specific purpose, make sure to research what type to purchase. *This year I have also added ‘grosso’ lavender to my garden because it is a variety that is commonly used for oils and for its scent.
You will save so much money growing your own rosemary. One bundle at the grocery store can cost you up to $4.00 but if you purchase this plant once, you can have it for years. We have three rosemary bushes in our front yard that have already been there for the last five years.
Rosemary is another example of a drought tolerant, perennial herb—although mine acts like an evergreen here in Southern California. Rosemary will tolerate more clay-like soil or poorer quality soil. It can be dried and made into barbecue rubs, seasonings, crackers, foccacia, and more!
Rosemary is also easy to propogate from cuttings so that you can create free plants from your original plant! I show you my method for propagating in: How to Propagate Plants from Cuttings.
3) Bay (laurus nobilus)
Yes, you can grow your own bay leaves! These aromatic leaves are dried and used in pasta sauces, soups, and stews. The leaves are then typically removed from the dish before serving. One little jar at the store can be pricey, but did you know that those leaves come from a tree that can grow over 15 feet tall? I keep my bay tree in a large pot and have been training it as a patio tree.
Word of caution: there are bay imposters out there that are not edible! This is because bay is also sold as a ornamental and hedge plant, so a lot of retailers who focus on landscaping stock “bay trees” which might not be the edible laurus nobilus. Only purchase from reliable vendors that specifically state the bay they sell is for culinary use and is “laurus nobilus.”
Bay trees are evergreen! Thus, they are the perfect addition to an edible landscape where it can be difficult to maintain visual interest year-round.
Thyme is another wonderful, perennial herb for your garden or edible landscape! There are many different varieties of thyme to choose from, and some gardeners even use thyme as a more drought tolerant ground cover in the garden. Some of my favorite uses for this herb is in chicken soup, roast chicken, as a unique ice cream infusion, roasted vegetables, anything potato and more.
This has been the hardest herb for me to grow. It seems very finicky about its placement—and I’ve found it does not like full sun in my garden. Even if you wanted to start lemon verbena from seed, I don’t know that you could find the seeds anyway. That might be because lemon verbena is difficult to germinate and the whole industry knows it (I honestly don’t know) haha.
Lemon verbena is pure lemony goodness. To me, it smells like a strong lemon cleaner….super bright and refreshing! I like it dried for hot tea or floating in a glass of iced tea on a hot day. It also is delicious chopped into a fruit salad or infused into a sorbet. I honestly with I was better at growing it!
Lemon verbena is a perennial in my climate, and I am carefully nursing my plant out of dormancy for the first time. Wish me luck!
♦Herb reminder: Always do your research before consuming any herb. Pregnant women should always discuss which herbs are safe with their doctors. Remember, just like foods, certain people can have allergies to herbs.
⇓ Do you love any of the herbs on this list? I’d love to hear what herbs you are planning to grow! ⇓
PS: Tag me in your gardens with #FreckledCA on Instagram!