Want to learn which herbs you can grow as perennials in your climate and garden? Having herbs that return year after year is a wonderful thing. So let me walk you through a simple, perennial herb list for beginners!
When I first moved to the countryside, I couldn’t wait to establish a kitchen garden of my own! I loved using herbs in cooking, homemade teas and to create natural home remedies.
But there was just one problem. I didn’t really have experience growing herbs as perennials. And I certainly didn’t know which ones would survive winters in my growing zone!
Up until I established my hugelkultur kitchen garden, I’d only grown basil, parsley, dill and oregano as annuals. I was no expert on growing perennial herbs. But as with most things around here, I dove in and today, have several years of experience under my belt.
Limited though my knowledge may be, let me share what I know about growing perennial herbs and also, give you a free PDF list of perennial herb, complete with hardiness zones and also details on how each plant spreads with each passing year.
What Are the Benefits of Growing Your Own Herbs?
There are many reasons why gardeners like to grow their own herbs (instead of buying them). Let me walk you through a few of the key reasons that I started planting perennial herbs here on the Mountain Farmstead!
You Can Save Money by Growing Your Own Herbs
As a frugal-minded girl, I like to save money in the kitchen. Oh, I’m not afraid to put out money when it’s necessary! But when I can, I like to DIY it. Most of the time, doing it yourself not only saves money but also means you’ll get a higher quality product in the end.
And that’s why I like growing my own herbs! Most of my perennials, I started from seed (you can learn how to do that HERE) and today, I have well established beds of echinacea, sage, thyme, mint and oregano.
So now, I don’t have to go out and buy fresh herbs for cooking, dehydrating or making tinctures; they grow in abundance just outside my home! And the flavor is superb!
Perennial Herbs are Low-Maintenance Plants
If herbs are true perennials in your growing zone, you only have to purchase seed or seedlings one time (which I love). Unless you plant short-lived perennials, that is. But once they’re established, most herbs will spread and return year after year without any help from you.
And better yet, many herbs aren’t particular about the type of soil they grow in. Some even prefer dry soil once they are established! So if you want some low maintenance plants, your hardy herbs just might be the place to begin.
Growing Herbs Opens the Doors to More Variety for the Kitchen
How many times have you found fresh chervil at your local grocery store? Sourced potent horseradish root in the produce isle? Or found liquorice mint readily available for a fresh brewed tea?
I don’t know about you but because I live in a small town, I can’t buy these things at my local grocery store! If I want options, I have to grow these herbs in my own gardens.
Grow your own and you’ll not only have options, but you’ll have an overabundance of your favorites that you can 1) use fresh in cooking or herbal brewed teas, 2) dehydrate for winter 3) use in your home remedies.
You’ll Get More Potent Flavor and Medicinal Properties
Last but not least, home grown herbs are nearly always more potent than anything you’ll buy at the grocery store.
It’s true of most things grown in the garden. Being able to take your fruits, vegetables and herbs directly from the soil to the kitchen (vs sitting on a grocery store shelf) leaves all the natural sugars, vitamins, minerals and (in the case of herbs) natural oils intact.
You’ll get better flavor in your food, teas and in some cases, even get better results with your home remedies.
Do I have you convinced yet? 😉
How to Tell If a Herb is a Perennial in Your Zone
So how can you tell if your favorite herbs are perennials in your growing zone? And how do you figure out what your growing zone is?
Here’s how you can answer these questions!
- Go to google and type in “growing zone for (___enter your personal zip code___).” This may not be 100% accurate, but it will give you a good idea of where you’re at.
- Grab my free chart (see above form) so you see the hardiness level for each herb type and discover the growing zones in which each herb will return year after year.
- Write down each type of herb that is a perennial in your growing zone.
- Note: make sure you pay attention to specific herb types (like lemon thyme vs English thyme), because hardiness zones can vary within the same family.
- Make a list of herbs you use in your cooking, in tea and home remedies.
- Start finding those herbs to plant in your garden beds!
Where to Find Perennial Herbs
Once you know what you want to grow and have checked to make sure these herbs are perennials in your growing zone, it’s time to source these herbs. Here are a few ideas.
- If you know which varieties you need, you can look for them at a local greenhouse or garden center.
- You can buy seed from your favorite company and start herbs from seed (learn how HERE).
- Do you have a friend or family member who grows herbs? Ask if they’d be willing to give you some starts from their overabundance!
- Place an ad on a local buy-and-sell group, letting folks know you’re looking for herb starts that are perennials in your zone!
Get creative. Be patient. And know your herbs, so you get the right varieties for your climate!
Perennial Herbs You Should Grow for Cooking
Are you struggling to come up with a list of perennial herbs you use in your cooking? Let me just quickly name off a few that tend to have a wide “hardiness” window and can be grown in lots of climates!
Of course, there are always some that you’ll have to start from seed every year if you live in a cooler climate like I do (I’m thinking of basil right now). But if you can get some of the other essentials established, it’s a wonderful thing!
Perennials Herbs You Should Grow for Tea
I don’t know about you, but I’m a tea drinker! No coffee for this girl. 🙂 And that means I need to grow lots of tea herbs in my gardens as well! Here’s a list of herbs that tend to overwinter in many different growing zones.
- Bee Balm
- Bergamot (wild)
- Chamomile (German or Roman)
- Lemon balm
- Liquorice Mint
- Peppermint (or nearly any type of mint)
- Rose petals or hips
Perennials Herbs You Should Grow for Home Remedies
As far as medicinal herbs go, I’ve named a good many of them in the above two lists. Cooking herbs and tea herbs often overlap. And both of those lists certainly overlap with medicinal herbs!
If you have a particular herbal tincture you like to take, something you heavily rely on during cold and flu season, take a look at the ingredients in the bottle. That will give you an idea of which herbs you should be focusing on!
Perennial Herb List for Beginners PDF
When I first began putting perennial herbs in my kitchen garden, I created a herb chart for myself. I wanted to see hardiness zones and have a quick reference as to how each herb propagates and survives the winter months.
It’s been wonderful to have. And today, I want to share my perennial herb list for beginners! Just leave your email on the form above and I’ll send it right to you.
All you have to do is open the email, download the charts and print them off!
Having this perennial herb PDF will save you lots of time and research as you go about planning your herb garden this year.
And it will be there to help you in the future as well.
Even though I created this chart for myself when I was getting into herbs, and even though many of my perennial herbs are now established, I still pull it out every year! With each and every spring, I get the itch to try a new herb in the kitchen garden. And whenever I find myself wondering whether or not it’ll act as a perennial in my growing zone, I just reference my chart. One glance is all it takes, and I have my answer.
Simple though this printable may be, it’s saved me hours of research over the past few years. And I hope it’ll prove to be just as helpful to you!
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