Many will grow just fine in complete shade, though they’ll probably be a bit leggy because they’re stretching for the sun.Since herbs growing in the shade will be leggy to begin with, feeding them too much only encourages more weak and spindly growth.Sap-sucking critters, such as aphids and spider mites, attack plants growing in less than ideal conditions.A spray of horticultural oil or insecticidal soap is necessary only if the pests continue to appear after knocking them off the plant with a sharp stream of water from the hose.Whether you grow the following shade-tolerant herbs in the ground or in containers, enjoy both their decorative nature and their delicious flavor.A cool-season annual, chervil is easy to grow and has attractive, soft green, ferny foliage.Once the following summer’s warm temperatures arrive, the plant goes to flower, drops seed, and dies.The seeds grow very quickly and are ready to harvest within a few short weeks of planting.Cilantro is a cool-season crop that quickly bolts (goes to flower) when the weather warms and the days grow longer.Unlike some other herbs that grow in shade, cilantro can handle spring frosts without issue.Waiting too long to sow the seeds results in the plant going to flower too quickly, which is great for coriander production but limits your yield of cilantro.This fall harvest will often provide you with even more tender leaves as the plant is in no hurry to generate flowers.To harvest, remove fresh, young foliage with a pair of clean, sharp scissors.Sow lemon balm seeds outdoors in the spring, just after the danger of frost has passed.Alternatively, you can sow the seeds indoors under grow lights in late winter and put the transplants out into the garden when the weather warms.Chives have a delicate onion flavor and can be harvested and used in the kitchen throughout the growing season simply by snipping a handful of stems off at their base.Chive plants are also easy to find in the nursery trade if you don’t want to start yours from seed.While chives are one of the top herbs that grow in shade, they will not flower as heavily as they do in full sun.Try sprinkling some of the flowers on salads, sandwiches, and soups for a mild oniony flavor.Lemon verbena is a native of South America that bears airy sprays of tiny white or pale purple flowers.Plant it in the springtime after the danger of frost has passed and during a single growing season it can reach as large as four feet in height.When fall temperatures drop into the 50s, move the pot indoors and continue to grow this shade-tolerant herb as a houseplant.When warm weather returns and the danger of frost has passed, move the pot back outdoors.Dill (Anethum graveolens) is an annual herb that does best in full sun but will tolerate shade, though it won’t produce as many flowers.Annual herbs like dill perform best when started from seed directly sown into the garden.Once you have a colony of dill established, it will enthusiastically return every year, as long as you don’t over-harvest the foliage and allow a few of the plants to drop seed.Parsley can be planted from nursery-grown transplants or by starting seeds indoors under lights about 8 to 10 weeks before the last expected spring frost.Bay laurel (Laurus nobilis) is a large evergreen shrub or tree with fragrant, dark green, glossy leaves.In full sun gardens, the plant’s growth reaches several feet in height, but in its native Mediterranean climate, bay grows much larger.Bay laurel is hardy in climates where frosts don’t occur, but it does quite well in colder areas when grown as an annual in a container.During the winter months, bring the pot indoors to protect it from freezing temperatures.Plant your bay laurel in a glazed ceramic pot or terra cotta container with a drainage hole in the bottom.Because of mint’s tendency to run amok in the garden, consider growing it in a container without a drainage hole so the creeping roots can’t escape.You can also start new tarragon plants from stem cuttings if you have a friend that grows this herb.As you can see, these 10 herbs that grow in shade offer an excellent opportunity to expand your culinary horizons. .

5 Best Herbs to Grow in a Shady Garden

Most plants, especially herbs and vegetables, require a fair amount of sun in order to thrive. .

10 Reasons to Grow Mint (Without Fear)

You’ll learn the benefits of each plant and how to maximize their herbal power in your kitchen!Even though mint is a highly beneficial plant, due to its spreading nature, many of us opt to just go without it all together.The truth of the matter is that mint is a plant, and while it can and will most definitely spread, it takes some time for this to happen.I would steer clear of planting mint in or anywhere near your regular garden beds, as it will eventually try to take over.It’s a great plant for a rocky herb garden, a neglected corner of your yard, or a high traffic area.Mint will spread from its underground roots, and can cover great distances and go under obstacles to get to where it wants to go, so keep that in mind when planting.Other hardy perennial herbs like rosemary, sage, oregano, and thyme can usually tolerate the aggressive nature of mint, especially if they are already established.Or cut large bundles of mint and hang to dry for use in the winter months.If there is a shady area of your yard that you have trouble growing things in, try planting mint.Do it as a science experiment with your kids, or root a bunch of cuttings, pot them up, and give away to friends.Let your mint go to flower and it will attract bees, beneficial wasps, hoverflies (aphid eaters), and tachinid flies (parasitic on nasty bugs).The smell of the mint plant will also repel houseflies, cabbage moths, ants, aphids, squash bugs, fleas, mosquitoes, and even mice.It keeps bugs, flies, and parasites at bay, as well as being an antioxidant and digestive aid for your flock.Be sure to plant lots of mint (as well as other herbs) in and around the coop and run for chickens to nibble on daily.While cats and dogs probably shouldn’t eat a whole lot of mint in one sitting, a little bit is great for them.It is a natural flea repellent, and I often see Cosmo the kitty rubbing up against the mint plant.Cut it from the garden with abandon to make all kinds of delicious mint recipes.Peppermint is especially great for headaches, and the essential oil can be rubbed on the temples for relief.It can be helpful for seasonal allergies, and can also be added to body care products like salves and lip balms, soaps, shampoo bars, and lotions. .

Growing Mint: What to Think About Before Planting

Other than regular water, it requires little care and is not particular about soil.Garden or Container.For true containment, mint should be planted in a container that is not directly on or touching any garden soil.When planted in the direct sun mint will survive but not thrive and will produce smaller leaves.Mint performs best with consistent soil moisture and is one of the few garden plants that not particularly sensitive to wet soils; in fact, mint often thrives in the wet areas of the garden that could injure other plants.When growing mint in containers, be sure to provide ample water.In the picture below, the mint will want more water than the basil, and even the parsley will want less water than the mint once established.When pruning or harvesting, cut stems at the intersection of two leaves to control and shape plant.Chlorine, Soil and Watering Gardens. .

How to Grow and Care for Peppermint Plants

), or the idea of peppermint tea sends you running to the kettle, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t grow this marvelous herb at home.Peppermint has a pungent, peppery bite with a cool aftertaste that sets it apart from other types of mint.Peppermint is a natural mint hybrid that grows wild throughout Europe, North America, and Australia.The name comes from the Latin word Mintha, the Greek name of a nymph who was transformed into a mint plant (it’s a whole story) and piper, meaning pepper.The “pepper” part of its name is particularly apt since it has a spicy, pungent flavor derived from a unique combination of menthol, menthone, and menthyl acetate, as well as limonene and other terpenoids.Like most mint varieties, the history of peppermint is a little unclear because it can be found growing wild in many parts of the world.In his book “The New Healing Herbs: The Essential Guide to More than 130 of Nature’s Most Potent Herbal Remedies,” available on Amazon, journalist Michael Castleman notes that both peppermint and spearmint were considered to be the same plant until 1696, when English botanist John Ray differentiated the two plants.The earliest record of its medicinal use comes from the ancient Egyptian text Ebers Papyrus.Today, extracts are used to aid digestion and ease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, and when applied to the skin they may help alleviate headaches, itching, and sore muscles.Early mint farmers were forced to gradually move across the country until the only commercial growing land that wasn’t infected with the fungus was largely in the west.Peppermint is a an important commercial crop in the US, and is primarily grown in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Wisconsin, and Indiana.About 90 percent of the peppermint grown in the US is in the Pacific Northwest, which has the kind of climate it loves: moist, with cool nights and warm days, and more than 14 hours of sunlight during the summer months.Any seeds claiming to be peppermint will likely be a type of spearmint that may turn out to have an unpleasant flavor and scent.Peppermint is so vigorous that some commercial growers plow up their plants in the fall to chop up the roots and stolons and spread them around.Rooting stem cuttings is the preferred propagation method for commercial growers because it’s reliable and easy.Take a four to six-inch cutting from the top of a healthy stem and remove the leaves from the lower half.Dip the cut end into a food-safe powdered rooting hormone, and then place the stem in a glass of water.Find a bright, airy location, out of direct sunlight, and change the water every two to three days.Harden them off over the course of a week or so by placing the pot outside in the sun for a few hours and then bring it back indoors.Peppermint reproduces vegetatively by sending out runners, aka stolons, in the summer after flowering.To identify a stolon, look for what appears to be an above-ground root or horizontal stem extending from the parent plant.You can always take a larger division – as long as you leave about six inches of root behind, your plant will come back quickly.Peppermint is an incredibly adaptable plant, but ideally it prefers a cool, moist climate with well-draining, loose, organically-rich soil.I’ve even grown it as a groundcover in full shade, but the flavor was noticeably diminished.Variegated cultivars require protection from the heat of the midday sun, or the white and cream areas of the foliage can become scorched.That said, the oil concentration is stronger if you let the soil dry out a little between waterings as harvest time nears.If you live in a hot or dry area, add a layer of organic mulch like grass clippings, straw, or leaves.Be aware that the soil in containers tends to dry out much more quickly than it does in the garden – so be vigilant with your watering schedule.Peppermint can also grow indoors in containers with one caveat: it will rapidly outgrow small pots.A half-gallon container is the minimum size I’d recommend for one plant, and even then, it will become rootbound pretty rapidly, depending on the growing conditions.If it does become rootbound, you can either divide it, put it out in the garden and start with a new plant, or transplant it into a larger container.Keep plants in check through pruning and dividing Cultivars to Select As mentioned, peppermint will not grow from seed.Plants will often be generically labelled as “peppermint,” but in addition, there are a number of cultivars available – though these can often be difficult to find.It has a compact growth habit, topping out at about 16 inches tall, with deep red stems.It has a slightly fruity taste, which makes it ideal for use in drinks and cocktails, or as a garnish on summer salads.‘Variegata’ You can manage this by either planting it in a spot that gets afternoon shade, or growing it in a container so you can move it out of the sun during the hottest part of the day.The problem is, it’s even more susceptible to disease and has a slower growth habit than M. x piperita var.One of the things I love about mint besides its flavor and scent is that it’s less bothered by pests and disease than some other plants.You can identify a looper because of the way it arches the middle of the body as it moves, so its back and front legs meet.The bioinsecticides Bacillus thuringiensis and spinosad are effective controls if you have a large problem on your hands.It can vary in appearance, with coloring that ranges from pale green to black, and it may have yellow lines along its body.They start to appear in late June or early July, nibbling on the leaves of your mint plants.Mint cutworms are the largest of the bunch, measuring one to two inches long, with yellow, tan, or green bodies and black spots.Spotted cutworms are about an inch long and are dark brown or black, with triangular markings on their backs.Variegated cutworms are the same size and are brown or tan with white or yellow irregular markings.They do the same damage as armyworms, nibbling on leaves, but they don’t tend to cut plants off at the base like some other types of cutworms.Flea beetles are common garden pests that chew holes through plant leaves.The larvae feed on the roots and tunnel into the rhizomes, stunting growth and causing plants to wilt.The two-spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae) is a tiny arachnid that is usually found on the underside of plant leaves.As a side note, I will say that in my two decades of growing mint, peppermint and its cultivars tend to have problems with rust and powdery mildew more often than spearmint, so be diligent about prevention.If the disease continues to spread, pull your peppermint plants and don’t grow anything in the Mentha genus in that area for at least five years.This disease causes round, powdery lesions on foliage that can look a bit like your plant has been dusted in flour.This helps to control its spread and gives you a last-minute batch of tasty herbs for the coming winter.If you plan to use your leaves within the week, you can wrap them in a damp paper towel and store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.You can also lay the leaves out on a cookie sheet and bake them on the lowest setting of your oven until they’re crisp.I lay the stems out on a screen for a few days in a dry, protected area with good air circulation.Drying the leaves mellows out the menthol flavor a bit, so you lose some of that pungent, peppery bite.I can’t even imagine the winter holidays at my house without peppermint bark and ice cream.Add a handful of fresh or dried leaves to a teapot and allow to steep for a few minutes for a refreshing hot drink.

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Catmint — A “Must-Have” Perennial

If you’re looking for a perennial that is long blooming, heat tolerant, resistant to pests and diseases, and easy to grow, then allow me to recommend catmint (or Nepeta) to you.After the initial flush of blossoms, the plant continues to show lots of color well into late summer or early fall.Left standing over the winter months, the foliage fades to a pleasing soft silvery gray color.This herbaceous perennial is a member of the mint family (Lamiaceae), which includes lavender, rosemary, thyme, bee balm and giant hyssop.In particular, it pairs well with the medium lavender-blue iris ‘Crater Lake’ and with the blue-violet hues of iris ‘Swingtown.’ The mounded shape contrasts nicely with the vertical silhouettes and deeper lavender shades of Allium cultivars ‘Gladiator,’ ‘Giganteum,’ or ‘Purple Sensation.’ As spring merges into summer, catmint harmonizes well with the cascading burgundy foliage of ‘Garnet’ Japanese Maple or with the purple foliage of Heuchera ‘Plum Pudding.’ ‘Purple Ruffles’ basil is yet another terrific companion for catmint, plus it’s edible!Yellow-flowering plants such as Hemerocallis ‘Happy Returns,’ Achillea ‘Coronation Gold,’ or Coreopsis ‘Early Sunrise’ also make a pleasing combination with catmint.The most popular catmint cultivars grown commercially in this country belong to the hybrid Nepeta x faassenii.Whereas members of the N. X faassenii family are sterile, other related species, such as the following, are fertile and may need to be deadheaded to prevent reseeding:.Siberian catmint (N.

sibirica) – Tall ( two to three feet) upright plant with large green leaves and rich blue flowers.to feet) upright plant with large green leaves and rich blue flowers.In a comparative study of catmints conducted by the Chicago Botanic Garden between 1999 and 2006, 36 catmints were evaluated with the goal of identifying outstanding specimens in terms of their ornamental traits, disease and pest resistance, cultural adaptability, and winter hardiness (the botanical garden is located in zone 5b).If you’re compelled to look for catmint in the local garden centers, don’t limit yourself to just these four selections.Even without being sheared, the plant will repeat bloom and continue to look attractive over the hot summer months.Leave spent foliage in place over winter to help protect the crown.If you want to contain the overall size of the plant, pinch it back in spring after it is a few inches tall to promote a bushier growth habit.If this is a concern for you, place chicken wire over newly planted or transplanted catmint to prevent kitty from eating or rolling around in it.Clausen, Ruth Rogers, “50 Beautiful Deer-Resistant Plants – The Prettiest Annuals, Perennials, Bulbs, and Shrubs that Deer Don’t Eat,” 2011.“A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants,” published by The American Horticultural Society, editors-in-chief Christopher Brickell and H. Marc Cathey, 2004.“A Comparative Study of Cultivated Catmints,” Richard G. Hawke, Plant Evaluation Manager, Chicago Botanic Garden, https://www.chicagobotanic.org/downloads/planteval_notes/no29_catmint.pdf. .

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