Growing these versatile plants in our Southern climate can be a challenge. The keys to success with herbs are plant selection and site preparation.
Don't expect to harvest armloads of English lavender blooms or great handfuls of French tarragon. Sage and thyme can also be difficult to grow, disappearing mysteriously after a few years. Don't blame yourself. These perennial herbs should be considered as short-lived plants in our hot, humid climate. Count yourself among the lucky ones if you can get 3 or 4 productive years from these herbs before they pass on.
Although our climate makes it difficult to grow some herbs, there are many that we can grow very successfully. We just have to select the right ones! You can harvest armloads of basil, lemon balm, Texas tarragon, (Tagetes lucida), catnip, German chamomile, Spanish Lavender (Lavandula stoechas), chives, mints, and many others. These herbs thrive in our part of the South.
A major cause of failure with herbs in the South (other than climate) is poor drainage of the soil. Planting your herbs in a well-drained bed area, a container or raised bed, will more likely result in success. This is of particular importance for the following herbs that cannot tolerate wet feet: sage, oregano, thyme, lavender, rosemary, French tarragon, and scented geraniums.
Uses of Herbs
It’s officially spring! The temperatures are finally starting to warm up after a cold and wet winter. Gardening is the perfect excuse to spend some much-needed time outside. Grab your gardening tools—there’s a lot to be done! (Photo by Michaela Parker)
Not into conventional gardening? A salad table just may be for you.
With these elevated gardening beds, you can grow fresh vegetables and herbs throughout the year right at your fingertips. These tables work well in small spaces and eliminate the physical demands of an in-ground garden. (Photo courtesy of Carla Moore)
You’ve got a lovely container, and you want to put a plant in it. But if that container doesn’t have drainage holes, you’ll end up with a dead plant. (Photo by Jonathan Parrish/Cindy Callahan)
Although we’re finally into the fall season, it’s still 90 degrees outside across Mississippi. Nevertheless, we all need to start thinking about what we’re going to plant and grow for the eventual cool weather.