by Jennifer Poindexter
Would you like to have a perennial herb garden? Are you even sure what that means? You’re in the right place. I’ll walk you through what the term perennial means and supply herb choices that you can fill your garden with.
Whether you’re planting herbs for culinary purposes or for natural beauty around your home, they’re a wonderful addition. Here are your choices for perennial herbs to start your own herb garden this grow season.
What Does Perennial Mean?
Perennial plants are a wonderful investment because you can plant them once, and they’ll return for years.
If a plant is labeled a perennial, it means that it will return for three or more grow seasons. The top of the plant may die off each year, but the roots remain alive. This allows the plant to regrow the next growing season.
Perennials do require certain accommodations when overwintering in harsh climates, but with proper pruning and mulching, they should thrive the following year.
Perennial Herbs to Grow in Your Garden
Lovage is a unique herb. It’s known as “false celery” because its flavor is so similar to that of parsley and celery.
This herb can be grown in the ground or in containers. It’s hardy in planting zones three through nine. If you need a flavorful herb that will return for many years, even in colder planting zones, lovage could be a great fit.
2. Lemon Verbena
As if the name didn’t give it away, lemon verbena is a fan favorite because the leaves produce a wonderful citrus flavor. Many love this herb for its use as a garnish or to make lemon flavored tea.
Regardless of your plans with this plant, it’s hardy in zones nine and ten. You may still grow lemon verbena in colder areas, but it must be treated as an annual. If you do live where it can be grown as a perennial, be advised that this plant gets bushy and requires regular pruning to keep it under control.
When my husband and I started a perennial herb garden, sage was a must-have on the list. It’s great in a variety of dishes, and the unique leaves that sage produces are attractive in the garden.
If you love sage as well, you’ll be happy to know it’s a perennial in planting zones five through eight. Unfortunately, it doesn’t hold up well to extreme cold or heat. However, it can still thrive as an annual in these areas.
Lavender is another favorite in my perennial herb garden. I love its gorgeous purple flowers, and the way it fills out.
This plant certainly has a way of dressing up a garden area. You can have these purple blooms in your herb garden, each year, in planting zones five through nine.
Sorrel is a wonderful beginner herb. In fact, it was one of the first herbs I ever grew. It’s easy, can be grown in the ground, or in containers.
Plus, there are few pests or diseases which impact this plant. If you live in planting zones five or higher, sorrel can be a recurring gift in your garden.
6. Creeping Thyme
Creeping thyme is a unique plant for your garden or landscape. This herb works in beds or as a groundcover.
When the plant isn’t blooming, it’s an evergreen. It’s also durable and can handle being trampled on. When searching for a sturdy, perennial herb, creeping thyme is a great fit for planting zones four through nine.
7. Garlic Chives
Garlic chives make a magnificent addition to a perennial herb garden, typical vegetable garden, or even flower gardens.
They grow into a bush-like form that can be as tall as two feet. This plant produces flat leaves which have a garlic flavor, and it’s hardy in planting zones three through ten.
8. Salad Burnet
This herb isn’t as common as some of the others mentioned on this list. It’s a flat-leafed green herb that’s most commonly used in its raw form.
Many gardeners use it in their salads, in place of lettuce on a sandwich, or as a finishing touch to any dish. If you’d like to grow something a little different, you can grow salad burnet as a perennial in planting zones four through eight.
I always thought of catnip as something only for cats. Then I met my mother-in-law. She used it regularly to make tea.
Regardless of your plans for it, be advised, if you grow catnip you might attract a few feline visitors to your yard. Catnip will serve as a perennial herb in planting zones three through nine.
We eat a good bit of pasta around my house. This means we go through a lot of marinara sauce. For this reason, tomatoes and oregano are key items grown in our gardens.
Whether you’d like to grow oregano to make homemade pasta sauce or use it as a garnish for your dishes, it’s easy to grow and will return for years in planting zones five through twelve.
11. Lemon Balm
I first began growing lemon balm a few years ago. It was a wonderful resource for our bees. Over time, I grew to love this herb.
As you can tell by the name, it has a delicious lemon scent and flavor. However, it grows into a gorgeous bush that you can raise indoors or outdoors throughout the year. It’s hardy in zones three through seven.
Mint is an extremely useful herb that needs to be grown with caution. If you grow mint, it can be used to make teas or used as a garnish.
However, mint will take over your garden if you aren’t careful. For this reason, I raise it in separate raised beds or containers. Be mindful of where and how you plant mint because this herb will return each year in zones three through eight, whether you want it to or not.
Chives shouldn’t get confused with garlic chives. Regular chives produce rounded sprouts and have an onion flavor. Garlic chives, on the other hand, produce flat sprouts and have a garlic flavor.
Aside from these differences, the two plants look similar. Make sure you have room for your chive plants because they come back larger every year and will remain hardy in planting zones three through ten.
14. Winter Savory
Winter savory looks like a dainty green herb that produces delicate flowers. In fact, winter savory is quite durable.
It’s known for producing a harvest in most planting zones every month of the year. If you’d like an herb you can harvest year-round, winter savory is hardy in planting zones five and above.
Parsley is another herb which many people are familiar with. It has plenty of uses in the kitchen and an attractive flavor.
Therefore, you should consider adding this functional and desirable herb to your perennial herb garden. Parsley is hardy in zones four through nine.
Do you have a lot of stress in your life? I try to avoid stress at all costs, but there are times we all feel the pressure.
Chamomile tea is a wonderful beverage to sip on when you’ve had a hard day. You can make your own with this perennial herb which is hardy in zones three through nine.
I’ve had to battle for the rosemary in my perennial garden. It’s so good that I couldn’t keep our chickens out of it.
For years, I’d plant it and for years, they’d kill it by eating it down to the nub. If you want to grow rosemary, you can in planting zones seven through ten. Be sure to protect it because any animals you have around might enjoy it, too!
Fennel is a delicious herb that’s actually related to the carrot family. This plant is Mediterranean-based and was naturally meant as a cool-weather crop for this area.
In other regions, it will either grow as a perennial or a biennial. The term biennial means a plant will grow every other year instead of on a yearly basis. In zones six through ten, fennel is perennial. In zones two through five it’s a biennial.
There are two common varieties of tarragon. The first is a visually appealing herb known as Mexican tarragon. The second common variety is known more for its green foliage. This is French tarragon.
French tarragon is a perennial in zones five and higher. Mexican tarragon is used to a warmer climate. Therefore, it’s only a perennial in zones nine through eleven.
Cilantro is an absolute favorite around my home. Along with all the tomatoes we grow for sauce, we grow a few extra to make salsa.
Homegrown cilantro makes a tremendous difference in the flavor of the salsa. If you enjoy using cilantro around your kitchen, you can grow it as a perennial in planting zones three through eleven.
This concludes our tour of potential herbs that would thrive in a perennial garden. Hopefully these options have provided a few ideas for what will work best around your home.
If nothing else, I hope it has inspired you to go through with planting a perennial herb garden. The flavors are amazing, and the beauty is worth the effort.