Perennial Culinary Herbs for Warm Weather, Part One

Herbs are the flavor of our food.  When you’re next at the garden center, rub your hands through the rosemary or your favorite herb and take a great big whiff, that fresh scent will change your mood. We will share our best tips for growing herbs and help you to discover which will make it through the hottest months so that when Summer arrives your herb garden will look great, serve you well, and endure the warmth, perhaps even better than you will.

Here’s the Need-to-Know on some of our favoritHerbses:

Basil. Basil likes moisture. Two types we have found to grow well are the African Blue and the Greek Columnar. The Italian Sweet Basil has been plagued with mildew and will not typically grow well in Florida.  Thai Basil seems to have some resistance.

Catnip. Your cats will love you for planting this. Easy to grow in pots or the ground. Likes to be moist.

Chives.  Garlic or onion will grow better in pots. Likes to dry out between watering.

Culantro. Cilantro’s sharper cousin. Grows all year and will reseed. Great substitution for cilantro. From the Caribbean and S. America.

Fennel. Great for salads and fish. During Spring and Summer Swallowtail butterflies caterpillars will find fennel and munch.

Lemon Grass.  Used in teas or dishes to give a citrus flavor.  Can be planted as a decorative grass in the garden, but can grow to 4 feet. The oil is used in the citronella candles. Repels mosquitoes.  Easy to grow.

Lemon Verbena.  A woody shrub that has the flavor of lemons. Can be trimmed  periodically to maintain lush look. Has sweet- smelling flowers.

Mints. Mints come in every flavor you can imagine. They can grow quickly and should be planted separately in the garden so they don’t take over other herbs. They like a lot of water. Most popular flavors are Spearmint, Peppermints and Chocolate. Used in drinks and teas.

Herbs that will not live through the Summer are Cilantro, Dill, and Nasturtiums.

A little shading during the Summer and more fertilizer and water will help them perform well.  It is best to get the plants established before the Summer arrives.  Happy herbs make a happy garden!  Next week we will cover the Mediterranean herbs.