By Jennifer Poindexter
Have you thought of all the ways an herb garden can benefit you? Whether you like bold flavors on your food, soothing fresh tea, or even a source for homemade remedies, an herb garden could be just what you’re searching for.
Consider branching outside of the common herbs and become creative by growing a few unique or even ‘weird’ herbs in your herb garden. Here are a few options to inspire your herb growing adventures.
If you’re trying to quit sugar, you may have used stevia as an alternative sweetener. You no longer must purchase it from the store.
Instead, you can raise it yourself in your herb garden. It can be mixed with vodka to become an extract, or you can ground dried stevia leaves into a powder as a natural sweetening option. Be careful because stevia is 200 times sweeter than sugar.
Stevia is an annual in most places because it enjoys humid growing conditions. It also requires well-draining, acidic soil. Learn more details about growing stevia.
Rue (also known as common rue) is a versatile plant many would be interested in growing. It can be used fresh or as an oil when cooking for a boost of flavor.
However, rue also has many healing properties. People use it for pain relief for mild headaches, to help with arthritis pain, for soothing earaches, repelling insects, and more.
Rue is a perennial which grows well in most planting zones and growing conditions. Whether it’s rocky soil or dry weather, rue can handle it and still manage to thrive. Learn more about growing rue.
The first time I heard of marshmallow, I instantly thought of the gooey treats frequently roasted over a fire. This is not that kind of marshmallow.
Marshmallow is a gorgeous flowering perennial herb. Its root has been used for generations to treat a variety of minor illnesses such as the common cold, rashes, and upset stomach.
This herb enjoys damp but sandy soil. It will grow in full or partial sun but is known for being relatively low maintenance. Learn more about growing marshmallow.
Perilla is another herb which is pleasing to the eye. It has a unique flavor combination of mint and nuttiness.
It can be used for flavoring your foods in a unique way but can also help treat common ailments such as asthma or soothing an upset stomach.
Perilla can be grown in full to partial sun. It needs fertile soil which drains well but should be watered regularly. It also needs the tips of the plant to be removed on occasion to encourage horizontal growth instead of vertical. Learn how to grow perilla.
Feverfew has gorgeous green foliage which produces white flowers with vibrant yellow showing in the center.
Though feverfew can be dried and used as a seasoning for your food, it can also be used to treat minor aches and pains such as a headache.
Feverfew is common around the globe and is a choice herb for most areas. It can be a perennial in warmer planting zones and serves as an annual in cooler locations. Learn more about feverfew and how to grow feverfew.
Valerian is another herb known for its medicinal properties. The root is used to help with sleep issues, and some believe it can help with anxiety too.
It’s a gorgeous flowering herb which is a perennial in most climates. Even in colder climates, the herb’s foliage dies off during the winter months, but the roots remain strong enough to encourage regrowth in the spring.
To grow valerian, it requires full or partial sun and well-draining soil. This herb’s forgiveness makes it a great choice for gardeners in a variety of circumstances. Learn more about growing valerian.
Evening primrose is a gorgeous herb with a ton of benefits. The entire plant is safe for consumption and can be used in food or as an attempt to treat certain conditions naturally.
Many consume evening primrose because of the fatty acids it contains. It can also be used to help with PMS, menopause, and arthritis.
Evening primrose prefers full sun, well-draining soil, and will grow basically anywhere under these conditions. Learn more about growing evening primrose.
In my early days of gardening, I grew sorrel as an experiment not fully understanding what it was. It’s an easy herb to grow and is great to add to salads because of its peppery and sour flavor.
Sorrel is thought to help fight inflammation, battle respiratory illnesses, and can even serve as a natural diuretic.
It’s a perennial herb in most planting zones and requires little extra care. Plant sorrel in partial shade, water it regularly, split the plant when it becomes too large, and you should have sorrel for years to come. Learn more about growing sorrel.
Nettle has a bad reputation because of the stinging sensation you get when you touch it. Once cooked, the stinging goes away, and the herb can become quite helpful.
It’s thought to help manage blood sugar levels, help with blood pressure problems, it’s a natural anti-inflammatory, and might even be helpful to treat the common cold or allergies.
Nettle is another perennial herb which likes full or partial sun. It also enjoys moist roots which is why it’s commonly found growing beside riverbanks. Learn more about growing nettle.
Mexican tarragon is a brightly colored herb and will certainly stand out in your garden. It requires a little extra space in comparison with some of the other herbs mentioned.
It’s similar in appearance to a marigold and grows into a small bush with a height of approximately three feet.
Mexican tarragon is a perennial in warmer climates but becomes an annual in planting zones eight and under. It desires well-draining soil and plenty of raw nutrients to grow successfully. Learn more about growing Mexican tarragon.
Lovage is a taller herb which seems to be confused in its flavor profile. It goes by the nickname of “false celery” but tastes a little like parsley too.
It can be used as a natural seasoning for your food or for medicinal purposes. It’s thought to help with urinary tract infections, can be used as a natural diuretic, or even in the prevention of kidney stones.
Lovage is a perennial in most places. It can be grown in full to partial sun and needs well-draining fertile soil. Learn more about growing lovage.
We’ve all probably heard how beneficial turmeric is for our health, but you may not know it’s an herb you can easily grow in your garden.
Turmeric is a flowering herb but what most are after is its rhizomes. The rhizomes are part of the root system and are used to add a unique flavor to your food. They are also thought to be a natural anti-inflammatory. The leaves can be consumed as well.
Borage is a flowering herb with gorgeous blue flowers sure to light up your herb garden. This herb is an annual which will grow in full or partial sun. Supply it with well-draining soil, and it should bloom beautifully all summer long.
Besides being easy to grow, borage is used for a variety of purposes. It’s considered a medicinal herb that helps with inflammation, depression, a minor cough, and it’s even thought to purify blood.
The borage leaves are edible and can be used as a tasty addition to any salad. Learn more about how to grow borage.
Winter savory is a perennial herb with lush green foliage. It’s the natural version of Pepto-Bismol because it’s thought to help with stomach cramps, nausea, and diarrhea.
It can also help when you’re suffering from a cough. Winter savory is dependable because, in planting zones five through eleven, it can be harvested year-round.
This unusual herb grows well where it has full sun and well-draining soil. Learn more about growing winter savory.
Anise hyssop is a stunning herb because of its purple flowers, shaped like a cat tail, shooting vertically out of its lush green foliage.
Besides its beauty, you might consider raising this herb in your garden because of its healing properties. For generations it was used as a cold and flu treatment. It can also be turned into a salve to treat skin irritations.
You can even eat the flowers if you enjoy a fresh lemon flavor. Anise hyssop can be a perennial in most planting zones, likes full to partial sun, and needs well-draining soil to survive. Learn more about growing anise hyssop.
The toothache plant is a unique herb in benefits and appearance. It has green foliage and produces bright yellow flowers which resemble thimbles.
The herb’s leaves can be ingested. They’re an excellent source for a variety of vitamins. The flowers can be used to help treat wounds or certain infections because of the antibacterial and antifungal properties they contain.
Toothache plants are only perennials in tropical climates. In cooler areas it can still be grown but as an annual. The plant will sprawl out, so be sure to give it plenty of room in an area with well-draining soil and full sun. Learn more about growing toothache plant.
Lemongrass is a green bush which packs a delicious lemon flavor and scent. It’s used commonly in Asian cuisine.
It can also be made into an oil or tea. Lemongrass is thought to cure many ailments such as stomach issues, respiratory problems, and can even be used as a disinfectant cleaner.
This herb will need to be spaced approximately two feet apart from other plants. It also needs fertile soil that’s well-draining and plenty of sunlight. Learn more about growing lemongrass.
Catnip is an herb you need to be careful of. It has many great benefits, but it will draw every cat in the neighborhood to your home.
This herb can be turned into a tea to relieve anxiety, help with sleep, and treat stomach ailments.
Catnip is an annual which loves warm weather. It prefers to grow in full sun with well-draining soil. You can also grow catnip in a container if you’d like to enjoy it a little longer indoors. Learn more about growing catnip.
Chinese Flowering Leek
The Chinese flowering leek is a perennial herb, and the entire plant is edible including the flowers. It’s also often called garlic chives.
If you enjoy the taste of garlic or onion, you’ll love the taste of this herb. It makes a delicious ingredient in any meal where garlic or onion are appropriate.
Chinese flowering leeks are said to be one of the easiest herbs to grow. They need a sunny location with well-draining soil and will need to be split every couple of years. Otherwise, they seem to prefer being neglected. Learn more about growing Chinese flowering leek.
If you’re familiar with herbs or herbal medicine, you’ve probably heard of holy basil. It’s a vibrant green plant filled with foliage.
It’s thought that holy basil can help with anxiety and blood sugar levels. It’s also great to use in the kitchen because it brings fresh color to a dish and a delightful peppery flavor.
Like many herbs, holy basil is a forgiving plant. It’s only an annual, but it can grow in full or partial sun with well-draining soil. Learn more about growing tulsi.
Horehound looks similar to other plants in the mint family, but it doesn’t have the same minty flavor. Some say it’s closer to the taste of licorice.
This herb can be used in tea to help treat a variety of ailments such as stomach issues and respiratory problems.
Horehound is a perennial in most planting zones. It needs full sun to grow well, but it doesn’t need quality soil. The sandier and less fertile the soil, the happier horehound will be to grow in it.
Growing an interesting herb garden can be an eye-opening experience. You can enjoy new, fresh flavors while also receiving natural benefits from these unusual herbs. Hopefully this list will inspire you to add ‘weird’ herbs to your garden. Learn more about growing horehound.