Herbs Need Little Attention

in #gardening4 years ago

The biggest challenge with most herbs is keeping them under control. Perennial herbs need little water once they are established and can grow in poor soil without any fertilizer. In fact fertilizer may actually hurt them more than help them. I grow four perennial herbs: Rosemary, Thyme, Chives, and Oregano; and keep them in a small dedicate box separate from my other beds.



Rosemary is the only one of the four that does not always survive the winter here in zone 7. This plant did survive last winter and has grown rather large this summer.


In December before the harsh winter weather sets in I cut it back hard and store the cuttings in a plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper draw. It lasts all winter and by the time it dries out my next plant is usually ready for picking the following year.

Thyme always seems to survive the winters here so I usually don’t replant it unless it becomes unruly with a lot of dead wood. This plant was just put in this year so it is in good shape.


New chives pop up every spring from the existing root system and provide early garden onions for my salads. I cut them back in the fall and cover with some leaves or compost to provide a little protection but that’s probably not even necessary. They form pretty purple flowers in May and I will encourage them to drop their seeds to thicken up the plants for next year if they have become a little sparse.


Oregano is the most evasive and needs to be cut back a number of times in the summer. It gets a nice purple flower and attracts a lot of pollinators so I try to let some of the flowers go.



I grow two annuals in addition to my perennials – basil and parsley. These two herbs are not without problems, at least for me. Basil gets Downey Mildew every year in August which is a disease caused by spores in the air which blacken the underside of the leaves and turns the tops yellow and then black. Eventually the leaves start wilting and dropping and the plant begins looking very sick. Beautiful basil plants that once looked like this:


Now look like this:


And it happens fast. Usually it only takes a week for the plants to go downhill and die off. I planted new ones but they are struggling with the disease also. I’m trying neem and one is responding nicely so hopefully I can keep it going for a while.


The problem I have with parsley is its tendency to bolt very early. I anticipate this every year now and reseed in July so I have parsley for the fall. It’s doing well.


The only other herb I grow is Dill and that is more for attracting beneficial insects as I’ve talked about in previous articles. It does a great job of attracting parasitic wasps and is very aesthetic scattered through the garden when it flowers.




Dill does not really need to be reseeded every year since it does a great job of doing that on its own. I actually find myself pulling out much more than I keep. Another weed ugh….

Thanks for reading my herb post. If anyone has a cure for basil diseases please let me know.


You do have a good array of herbs my friend, i just love the flowers of dill, they make the garden look even more lovely !
I hope you get the solution for the basil disease soon.

Thank you chef!

Thanks for all of the great info! I'm going to read all this in detail later!

Great. I have a lot of posts out there specific to different types of vegetables so check out my feed. Hopefully you'll find some of it helpful.

Your basil and parsley look so GREAT!
This is the first year I have had herbs. Last year I had some, but only grew inside but since I didn't have the correct set up, they did not thrive. Now I have the perennials outside and they are thriving. Looking forward to next year's herb garden as I already have it planned out with expansion of herbs.

My dill was kind of hit or miss this year in the greenhouse. I had two good cuttings... and now... nothing.
Nothing for the basil issue here, mine has been growing hand over foot and I've been dehydrating twice a week.

Thanks and thanks for the resteem. You're lucky with the basil. It gets me every year anymore. Big beautiful bushes go to sticks in no time. Good luck next year with your herbs.

I had that with the basil (which I have always heard is the easiest to grow) when I only did it indoors last year. I have learned so much from trial and error over the last year.

I already have my husband's honey-do-list of what to tear out of the front flower beds so I can be prepared for next season. The person who lived here before us loved, and I mean LOVED, hostas. I can handle one or two spattered about, but this person had 18 of them in the front flower bed. Whew!

The rosemary is my favorite because it smells so good. I am going to get into the herbs much more this spring. This post has inspired me. I only grew veggies this year.

Thanks for commenting. I'm glad this inspired you. Herbs are easy once you get the hang of it.

This is a great post! I tried to plant herbs in my backyard and they dried up because of the intense heat it does here in Texas.

Thanks. Maybe try getting them established early in the spring next year before the heat hits.

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Good tips! I also grow mint - but in a pot otherwise it takes over everything. Yummy with lamb, potatoes, or in drinks :)

Thanks. Yes I heard mint is very evasive also. I never grew it.

Mint is invasive but it does attract pollinators, just chop it back if it gets to big (because it will) but it returns nicely every spring. Love it in my iced tea!
I'll have to remember to put a bunch of rosemary clippings in the fridge before the weather gets cold. Thanks for sharing.

Maybe I'll try some in a pot next year.