by Jennifer Poindexter
Have you ever heard of bitter herbs? They’re sometimes mentioned in health articles and were mentioned in the Bible as well.
If you’re unfamiliar, bitter herbs are a type of herb with a bitter flavor. They sometimes provide a variety of health benefits and hold religious value as well.
Whatever your reason for wanting to grow this type of herb, they are simple enough to grow around your home.
I’m going to provide you with a list of bitter herbs you might wish to consider adding to your home garden and provide general information about each to help you choose which herbs might be of interest to you.
Here are bitter herbs and plants you might like to grow.
Endive is a type of lettuce. It enjoys growing in full sun and, like most plants, requires well-draining soil to thrive.
It’s mainly used for culinary purposes and makes a wonderful salad. You can grow endive in planting zones four through nine
Coriander seeds occur when a cilantro plant goes to seed. Therefore, if you’re growing cilantro, you can have coriander as well. Cilantro prefers cooler temperatures but grows in full sun assuming the temperatures are correct.
You can grow cilantro as an annual in planting zones two through eleven. This is a versatile plant that has many culinary uses ranging from soups, rubs, marinades, and more.
Mugwort is a leafy green herb that’s used around the kitchen and for medicinal purposes. If you’re interested in growing mugwort, pick a spot which receives full sun. The growing location should also have consistently damp soil that’s well-draining.
Mugwort is hardy in planting zones three through eight. Ensure you can meet all the needs of the plant before attempting to add it to your home garden.
Potentilla is a charming plant that produces cheerful yellow blooms. If you think this plant could brighten up your landscape, make sure you provide the right growing conditions. It’s hardy in planting zones two through seven and isn’t picky about soil.
As long as the growing area drains adequately this plant should be happy. If you’re considering growing this herb, you might be interested to know it has a variety of medicinal purposes and can be used to make herbal tea as well.
Depending upon where you live, cinnamon may have to be a container plant to protect it. This plant prefers to grow in areas where the temperatures hang around 80-degrees Fahrenheit, and they can’t handle temperatures below 40-degrees Fahrenheit.
Cinnamon should be planted where it’ll receive full sun and in well-draining soil. It’s only hardy in planting zones nine through eleven, but you can move the plant indoors during colder portions of the year. People grow cinnamon for a variety of medicinal and culinary purposes.
Yarrow is a taller plant that can reach heights of approximately three feet. At the end of its long stems are beautiful, clustered blooms. You can grow yarrow in planting zones three through nine.
However, be sure to plant it in well-draining soil. The herb prefers not to be oversaturated and does best in hot weather. You can grow this herb for its simple beauty or for the medicinal purposes it’s thought to have.
7. Common Sorrel
Common sorrel is a robust, green, leafy vegetable with dark red veins. It does have medicinal purposes but is frequently grown for its culinary uses. Common sorrel provides a refreshing twist on the typical salad as this herb provides a slight citrus flavor.
You can grow common sorrel from spring through summer in planting zones four and higher. It does prefer a sunny growing location with a minimum of six hours of sunlight per day.
Angelica is another plant which produces clusters of blooms. Though this plant is used for DIY medicinal care, it has a plethora of uses around the kitchen. You can use it in place of asparagus. It also tastes nice when used raw in salads.
This plant is biennial and is hardy in planting zones four through nine. Pick a spot with well-draining soil, cooler temperatures, and moderate sunlight to give angelica the greatest chance to thrive.
Valerian is mainly grown for medicinal purposes. However, it can also be grown for its beauty as this plant produces clusters of blooms on long stems.
If you’d like to grow valerian, consider your planting zone. This plant is hardy in zones three through nine. It also prefers moderate sunlight and damp soil. However, the soil must be well-draining.
10. Blessed Thistle
When you read the name of this plant you may be wondering why you’d consider growing a thistle? Some people use it for medicinal purposes and others use it in the kitchen. If you’re interested in growing this bitter plant, be sure you live in planting zones five through nine.
Blessed thistle can be harvested multiple times during a growing season. Be mindful that you plant in full sunlight and in a place with well-draining soil. Do these few things and blessed thistle should have what it needs to thrive around your home or garden.
Rue is a bush-like plant that produces small yellow flowers. This plant can grow to be as tall as two to three feet in height. Some people grow it for medicinal purposes and some use it as an insect repellent.
If you think rue has a place around your home, ensure it’s planted in full sun and surrounded by well-draining soil. Otherwise, it tends to grow where most other plants refuse. It’s hardy in planting zones four through nine.
Chamomile is frequently used to make a relaxing herbal tea. Yet, it’s also grown for its simple beauty. Whatever reason you choose to incorporate this plant around your home, be sure you get the growing conditions right.
This herb can be grown using various gardening methods and prefers full to partial sunlight (depending upon climate). It also needs well-draining, nutrient dense soil. You can grow chamomile in planting zones two through nine.
13. Neem Tree
Neem tree is frequently used by boiling the leaves in water and spreading the water across your skin for hydration. If you’d like to grow a plant that has a variety of benefits, the neem tree might be for you.
This plant should be grown where it will receive bright light. It also likes to remain consistently damp but should be planted in well-draining soil to avoid oversaturation. The neem tree is only hardy in planting zones ten through twelve, so it should be grown in a container in other planting zones to allow for easy movement when the temperatures become cold.
Centaury is a beautiful herb which produces dainty purple flowers. As if the beauty isn’t enough, the plant can be used to make herbal teas as well. If you’d like to add centaury to your landscape, be sure to provide adequate growing conditions.
Be sure to plant the herb in partial sunlight and in well-draining soil. This plant serves as an annual in planting zones one through nine. Be careful when planting centaury as it can become invasive in certain areas.
Peppermint is a useful herb to keep around. It makes a delicious herbal tea and is thought to have medicinal qualities.
The plant grows best in zones five through ten. It likes full to partial sunlight and consistently damp soil that’s well-draining.
Dandelion has a distinct taste but makes an herbal tea many enjoy. You can also use the dandelion greens as a delicious side dish.
Most people don’t have issues growing this plant as they grow naturally in many areas. Dandelions prefer full sun and well-draining soil. Plus, they’re hardy in planting zones three through ten.
Goldenseal has ridged green foliage that produces a red center. As the center opens, it transforms into a golden flower. Most people grow this plant for its medicinal purposes.
If you’d like to add goldenseal to your home garden, pick an area that has nutrient rich soil that’s also well-draining. The growing location should have partial shade as this is the plant’s preference. Goldenseal is hardy in planting zones three through eight.
Chicory has many uses around the kitchen. Some people use it in place of celery. They also cook the leaves and roots as well.
You can enjoy growing chicory around your home if you plant it in full sun and well-draining soil. It prefers temperatures between 45- and 75-degrees Fahrenheit. Chicory is hardy in planting zones three through ten.
Horehound is used to make old-fashioned candy but has other medicinal uses as well. The herb has a unique flavor which slightly resembles black licorice.
If you’d like this flavor profile in your herb garden, be sure to plant the herb in full sun and in soil that’s well-draining. You can grow horehound in planting zones four and higher.
20. Milk Thistle
Milk thistle is another option which might leave you wondering why you should grow it since it is, in fact, a thistle. In most cases, it’s for the beauty of the plant and it does have a few medicinal qualities as well.
Even if you have low-quality soil, milk thistle will grow as it’s not picky. It can grow in full to partial sunlight and is hardy in planting zones five through nine.
Wormwood is a leafy herb. This plant is used in wine-making, for some culinary purposes, and it also is thought to have medicinal uses as well.
You can grow wormwood as a perennial in planting zones four through eight. To grow this plant, you need a sunny location and well-draining soil.
Buckbean is an interesting plant that produces lily-like blooms that look slightly hairy. This herb is sometimes used for flavoring and is thought to have medicinal purposes as well.
You should grow buckbean in full to partial sunlight and in areas with larger amounts of water. It’s hardy in planting zones three through ten.
Barberries are a great ingredient to grow around your home or garden. This plant produces small berries which are a nice addition to salads, rice, or quinoa dishes.
If you’d like to grow this plant, be sure to grow it in full to partial sunlight and with well-draining soil. Barberries are hardy in planting zones four through eight.
Gentian is typically grown for its roots as they’re thought to have medicinal purposes. You may also grow this plant because of its gorgeous flowers.
When choosing to grow gentian, be sure to plant in well-draining soil that’s consistently damp. You should also choose a location that has full to partial sunlight depending upon the temperatures in your area. Gentian is hardy in planting zones four through seven.
This concludes our list of bitter plants and herbs. Hopefully, you’ve found something that fits your specific needs.
If you’re interested in creating your own bitter herb garden, pick the herb that works for your planting zone and growing conditions. Then start your journey of growing bitter herbs.