There are many unusual herbs that are easy and fun to grow. They may have medicinal uses, crafting uses or be great for cutting flowers. What I like most about herbs is that they are usually very easy to care for and compliment other flowers so well. It’s that wild look they have that adds texture to the landscape.
photo credit: Alyzande
Herb Tip: Make sure your soil is well drained if you want successful plants.
1. Echinacea: This beautiful perennial will tolerate both light and shade, and is also known as the Coneflower. There are several varieties, all of which are a nice addition to your herb or flower garden. Echinacea can easily be grown from seeds or plants. Fertilizing in the summer with a low nitrogen fertilizer (-0- Nitrogen) will encourage bloom. The seed heads are quite ornamental for dried arrangements.
2. Evening Primrose: The Evening Primrose, with its one to three foot tall, brilliant golden yellow flowers and spreading habit, makes a statement in the flower or herb garden. This perennial likes the sun and seems to thrive with little care once established. It likes room and “plantlets” will spring up if you allow the flowers to seed, however they are not difficult to remove when small.
3. Bee Balm: Striking flowers, from red to purple to white, this plant is very ornamental and a member of the mint family. This is a hardy perennial and will grow from two to five feet tall, and is loved by bees and butterflies. If you have no room for the “plantlets”, they pull out easily. Bee Balm prefers light shade, but will grow in the sun, and the flowers are unusually beautiful and dry well. You may find powdery mildew a problem, but a baking soda/water mixture or a commercial product will help. To help prevent the problem from ever starting, avoid overhead watering.
4. Saffron: Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world, and YOU can grow it. Some sources say it is difficult to grow, but that is not necessarily true. Saffron is a hardy perennial bulb and blooms in the fall. Be sure to plant your bulbs in the fall, and in harsh climates, mulch in the winter. The plant is a four to six inch tall lavender crocus type flower with orange stigmas (the saffron part). Mark the spot where they are planted for they will disappear in the winter. For harvesting, carefully and patiently pick the stigmas as soon as the flower is in full bloom and dry them on a paper towel. Store in glass. Saffron will multiply similar to other spring bulbs so be sure to divide to prevent crowding. Remember: Leaves appear in the spring and disappear in the summer, and the flower blooms in early fall.
5. Anise Hyssop: This is an easily grown licorice flavored plant. It likes partial shade and will send out “plantlets” for the next year. The unique spikes of lavender or white flower clusters dry easily. It grows three to five feet tall and is very attractive in the garden if it is growing with perennial white alyssum or other spring flowers. Anise Hyssop blooms in the summer.
This information came of the J. G. Jance and Company website
I have grown all of these herbs. I have either used them in teas or as dried or cut flowers. They all all top herbs and a welcome addition to any garden in my opinion. A few of these like to spread. I just make sure I have a break barrier and plant them by theirselves off to the side of the herb or perennial garden to help control spread.
Check out the next 5 unusual herbs for you herb gardens.