Herbs! Some Like Hot And Dry – Rosemary-Thyme-Lavender-Summer Savory-Sage


Almost all culinary herbs originally came from southern Europe in and around the Mediterranean sea. There have been a lot more herb plantings {rosemary, thyme, lavender, summer savory, and sage} killed with love{over watering} than have been killed by neglect.

The majority of herbs demand a well drained soil with a pH range of 6.0-7.5 for successful growth. Outdoors, avoid planting in heavy clay soils as well as wet areas. Also, avoid soils that have a high nutrient content. These rich soils may actually prove detrimental to the herb’s quality by promoting rapid, lush growth that will contain only small amounts of the volatile oils that give herbs their characteristic aromas and flavors. Containers used for growing herbs, whether indoors or outside, should always have holes in the bottom to insure proper drainage.

Most herbs require at least 6 hours of direct sunlight in order to grow well. All-day sun is even better. The more intense the light, the more oils will develop within the glands of foliage and stems, creating stronger fragrances and seasonings. A southern or western exposure will meet the needs of most herbs, although some may do well in a bright east facing location.

Indoors, it is crucial to give herbs the best light available. During winter, when days are shorter and typically darker, fluorescent lights will probably be necessary to maintain healthy plants. Twelve hours of artificial light daily is adequate for most indoor-grown herbs. Inadequate light will result in spindly, thin growth.

Water thoroughly only as needed by soaking the soil to a depth of 8 inches, to ensure that the root zone is receiving adequate moisture. Outdoors, container-grown herbs must be watered more frequently, even daily, if days are very hot and sunny. Indoors, water thoroughly when the soil feels dry a half inch or so below the surface. Tip: Never allow the plants to wilt between watering, but avoid constant soggy soil conditions. Constantly wet soil encourages root rots which are the most common problem of herbs grown indoors, especially during winter.

Fertilize sparingly. Too vigorous growth will produce foliage low in essential oils and therefore bland. Use a liquid fertilizer at half the label recommended strength once every 6-8 weeks or so for indoor plants and every 4-6 weeks for herbs in containers outdoors.

Mulching materials such as straw, marsh hay, compost, and leaves provide good winter protection for hardy perennial herbs. Depending on the size of the plant, a mulch 2-5 inches thick will keep the temperatures around the plant more constant during late fall and early spring, keeping winter damage to a minimum. Mulching can also be beneficial during hot, dry periods of the summer by helping to regulate soil temperature and moisture.

Source document: University of Minnesota Growing Herbs
Purdue University Herbs Culture and Use

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One response to “Herbs! Some Like Hot And Dry – Rosemary-Thyme-Lavender-Summer Savory-Sage

  1. Here in the UK it is always a bit hit and miss with the Mediterranean herbs. You have to be careful with the thyme and lavender varieties especially. The rosemary does ok…..

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