5 Herbs to Know and Grow

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Looking for something new to grow?  I chose five herbs, two annuals and three perennials, that are easy to grow and a little out of the ordinary. They require no maintenance, are rarely eaten by deer, and like most herbs, have a usefulness outside of their obvious garden beauty.

5 herbs to know & grow ~ gardenmatter.comBorage – borago officinalis

Historically known for its ability to give courage and a happy heart borage, like most, is an edible herb. It’s hairy leaves have a cucumber-like flavor. Though the fuzzy texture of the leaves may not appeal to you there is no denying the beauty of the pure blue flowers which look striking in salads, drinks and adorning cakes. Try crystallizing or freezing the blossoms in ice-cube trays for a stunning decoration.

Borage - an easy annual herb ~ gardenmatter.com

Borage (white) - an easy annual herb ~ gardenmatter.com

Borage Stats:
Life Cycle: Annual
Sun: Full Sun
Water: Well drained
Height: 1 – 2 ft

Width: 1 ft
Blooms: Late Spring/Summer
Xtras: Borage is a known self-seeder so you may not have to plant it every year.

Pot Marigold – calendula officinalis

Named after the word calender because it was thought to be the flower that bloomed on the first of the month, calendula is another versatile annual. Know for its ability to soothe the skin this sunshiny herb is also edible. I’ve infused olive oil with calendula petals to use in salves, lip balm and most recently a dry oil body spray. Sprinkle the petals in your salad or use as a garnish. Though the common name is pot marigold, calendula should not be confused with the french marigold (tagetes patula) found commonly at nurseries.

Calendula - an easy annual herb to grow ~ gardenmatter.com

Pot Marigold - Calendula - annual herb ~ gardenmatter.com

Calendula Stats:
Life Cycle:Annual
Sun: Full Sun
Water: Average

Height: 1 – 1.5 ft
Width: 1 – 1.5 ft
Blooms: Summer – Fall
Xtras: Flower petals can be used as a dye

Lady’s Mantle – alchemilla mollis

This herb’s latin name alchemilla, comes from the word alchemy or magic, as many thought that dew collected in the leaves contained magical healing properties. The common name ‘Lady’s Mantle’ came from the Christian Church who named it Our Lady’s Mantle for the Virgin Mary, where the scalloped edge’s of the leaves resemble a mantle or cloak. Lady’s mantle makes a great border plant with its neat and tidy mounding habit and the chartreuse flowers are great in arrangements. The young leaves are edible but I’ve never tried them.

Lady's Mantle - Easy Perennial Herb to grow ~ gardenmatter.com

Lady's Mantle leaf with raindrops ~ gardenmatter.com

Lady’s Mantle Stats:
Life Cycle:Perennial
Zone: 3 to 8
Sun: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water: Average

Height: 6 – 18 inches
Width: 1.5 – 2 ft
Blooms: Summer
Xtras: Pretty chartreuse flowers can be used in arrangements, deer resistant

Lemon Balm – melissa officinalis

Historically lemon balm was considered to be the elixir of life. Many drank tea made from its leaves and still do today. The small flowers are not showy however they are loved by bees, thus the name melissa which is the greek word for bee. A relative of the mint family, lemon balm’s leaves have a nice lemon fragrance and are used make a variety of cosmetic and culinary items. Also, similar to mint, this one can be somewhat invasive so you may want to grow it in a pot.

Lemon Balm - Easy perennial herb to grow ~ gardenmatter.com

Lemon Balm Stats:
Life Cycle:Perennial
Zone: 4 to 9
Sun: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water: Average
Height: 12 – 18 inches 

Width: 12 – 15 inches
Blooms: Summer – Fall
Xtras: Lemon balm tea is said to help with anxiety and sleep disorders.


Sweet Woodruff – galium odoratum

Sweet woodruff is a nice ground cover that does well in shade. Traditionally know for its fragrance, sweet woodruff was often used in garlands, potpourri and as the stuffing  for herb pillows and mattresses. Also, known as the as a major ingredient for the German’s May wine where the plant is used to infuse Rhine wine in May to celebrate spring.

Sweet-Woodruff - an easy perennial herb to grow ~ gardenmatter.com

Sweet Woodruff - an easy perennial herb ~ gardenmatter.com

Sweet Woodruff Stats:
Life Cycle:Perennial
Zone: 3 to 8
Sun: Partial Shade – Full Shade
Water: Average – Moist
Height: 6 – 12 inches

Width: 6 – 18 inches
Blooms: Spring
Xtras: The fragrant leaves and flowers are used to make May wine. Dries well.


So if you like adding new plants to your garden consider one of these that you can both enjoy in the garden and in the home.


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About Patti Estep

Patti is the creator of Garden Matter, a home and garden blog filled with projects to inspire your creative side. She loves crafting, gardening, decorating and entertaining at her home in Pennsylvania. When she is not working on a project at home or searching for treasures at nurseries and thrift stores with her girlfriends, you’ll probably find her with family and friends, at a restaurant, or home party enjoying new and different food adventures.

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