Herbs as a group are relatively easy to grow and can be very rewarding.
See our Herbs FAQ for more information.
There are many types of basil and we sell several popular varieties. Basil does not like cold weather. In fact, it is very tender and won’t like nighttime temperatures much below 50 degrees. Always wait until the weather is settled before planting out basil.
While basil in general is very tender and wants warm weather, this variety does not succumb to cold temperatures as easily. This makes it a more versatile basil plant as the volatility of our weather increases. Great for pesto and any other Italian cuisine.
Robust lemon flavor characterizes Mrs. Burns, an heirloom basil named after an organic gardener in Carlsbad, New Mexico and introduced in 1939. It has the strongest lemon scent and flavor of all the lemon basils, and also has undertones of cinnamon and mint, hints of spice and a strong floral note. Use this basil for tea, salad, soup and vinegar. It also complements fish and chicken nicely and is wonderful in desserts and baked goods. You can expect the plant to reach a couple feet in height and its white flowers are tinged with pink. Pinch the flowers back hard in order to keep the leaves coming and to avoid bitterness.
A stunning basil that grows to about 50 cm tall and has large ruffled jagged leaves. It aroma and flavor are accented with licorice and cinnamon. It has wonderful edible lavender pink flowers. Purple Ruffles Basil can grow with less sunshine than sweet basil but should still have 3 hours of sun per day. This basil is an annual like sweet basil so the flowers must be pinched off to stop the plant bolting. Beautiful in the vegetable and herb garden or as an ornamental.
This Genovese-type, Italian Large Leaf basil has a stronger flavor than sweet basil and with reddish-purple leaves, creating a unique look in salads. An All-America Selections Winner, Red Rubin performs well in the garden and in patio containers with the perfect combination of ornamental appeal and intense, spicy flavor. Flat, 3″ long leaves stand out horizontally, and are a copper-tinged purple color. Ht. 18-24″. Use the edible flowers in any recipe that calls for basil, or to garnish drinks, salads, soups, pasta, and desserts.
The authentic Neapolitan Basil for Italian cuisine. Large leaf Genovese type basil with leaves up to 4″ long. Great for pesto and any cuisine calling for basil. This is the basil to grow if you want lots and lots of basil. Unlike typical genovese basil varieties, this one is much slower to bolt and easier to manage flower blossoms for an entire season of harvesting.
Sweet Thai has a clove-like licorice flavor with a hearty aroma that compliments the hot spicy flavors of Thai cuisine. Compact plants sport relatively small green leaves with dark purple stems and blossoms. Attractive purple stems and blooms can be used in bouquets and dried arrangements. Sweet Thai Basil is also known as “Horapha” in Thailand, and as “Hun Que” in Vietnam.
Thai Holy Basil (also known as Holy Basil, Tulsi, or Ocimum sanctum) is a sacred Hindu basil with 1 1/2″ long green leaves and purple stems. According to Ayurvedic tradition, Holy Basil is one of the best herbs to prepare the heart and mind for spiritual practices, treat colds and flu, relieve various skin conditions, and reduce fever.
Holy basil is a common ingredient in Thai cuisine and in teas and is used medicinally for digestion and immune system support and is regarded as a purifying herb. Holy basil is a good basil to use in cooking as it holds up to heat. The flavor is spicy, almost clove-like with undertones of lemon.
The herbs below are either cold tolerant, or winter hardy in our climate.
Use for dill weed and grow for seeds. For the best dill in our area, grow in partial shade during our hot summers. But dill is not as difficult to grow in heat as cilantro is. For spring and fall growing, it is especially easy. If you like dill weed, you can cut it young and dry it, and plant more in August for fall and winter harvests. Allow your dill then grow back and flower and you will have tons and tons of dill seed for pickling, etc. Dill is a delightful herb with many culinary uses. Native to southern Europe, it is a staple in Greek cooking. It is common in Scandinavian and German food as well. Fresh or dried, dill leaves add a distinctive flavor to salads, fish, vegetable casseroles and soups.
Those who love it can’t do without it and those who abhor it can’t get far enough away! If you are of the former disposition when it comes to cilantro, this is the variety for you to grow in this region.
Excellent eating quality and lots of leaves on this variety and it is slow to bolt for cilantro. But all cilantro is going to go to seed in the summer–that is just the nature of this plant, set to go to seed when days are long and nights are short. Plan on multiple plantings knowing the most productive plants will be those planted early in the season and those planted again in August. Mid-summer plantings will be difficult–always. Provide partial shade for cilantro except for your fall planting. Let your plants flower and grow and you will not only provide an attractive plant for beneficial insects, but you can harvest your coriander seed from its spent flowers.
Hardy perennial. 1–2′ hollow grasslike leaves enhance any dish with their subtle onion flavor. Lilac-colored flowers bloom in June and July, can be eaten or enjoyed in arrangements fresh or dried. Chives are used in Asia as a remedy for colds and flu. For best production, grow in well-drained soil and divide clumps every few years. Nearly indestructible even with neglect in extreme conditions. I have found they do like shade during at least part of the day if you have it. They are not too fond of our summers.
There is much confusion concerning the difference between oregano and marjoram. To many, oregano is more of a flavor than any one individual plant. However, if you want to “true” oregano, Greek oregano is the one to plant. It grows to 20 inches, with purple flowers and spade-shaped, olive-green leaves. Most frequently used with roasted, fried or grilled vegetables, meat and fish. Oregano also combines well with spicy foods.
Very prolific and cold hardy. Stems are also very sweet, thick, solid, crunchy. Larger than many curly parsley varieties, this dense triple-curled medium-green parsley holds its color without developing spots. It can also stand the heat and give you plenty of parsley from spring into the fall and winter.
The nicest curly parsley I have grown, plants easily grow a foot tall, giving you large bunches for repeated cuttings. Remember that parsley is a biennial. That means it will overwinter before it goes to seed, although extremely hot weather can cause it to flower prematurely, but Krausa has some resistance to this tendency. One it does get through the winter, you may get another cutting from it, but then it will go to seed. You may save this seed as this is an open-pollinated variety.
This northern Italian heirloom grows 12-18″ tall (always on the taller side for me). Tall Gigante plants are vigorous growers and have very big, deep green shiny leaves with an exceptionally mellow and sweet fuller flavor than standard plain Parsley. You will find that curly parsley is hardier than flat parsley, so be sure to have some of both in your garden. In the middle of winter, you’ll almost always find a few sprigs of the curly variety waiting to be harvested. Enjoy your flat parsley before the coldest weather of the winter–although it should be fine through Christmas.
This cultivar of rosemary was bred for cold hardiness and should survive where others may not. I’ve had success with mine for several years now, but finally did lose it in the unusually cold weather this winter. I wish I had covered it. It is a very good culinary variety and grows to a nice size and is normally cold hardy to Zone 6 (and we are Zone 7). If you lost your rosemary this year, you may want to consider this variety. In addition, a south facing protected area with full sun would be the ideal location for you rosemary. And if we have another winter like this, I suggest you cover your rosemary with burlap for those cold snaps.
Berggarten means “mountain garden” and this sage is a special selection of common garden sage. The flavor of this common sage is excellent and the leaves are larger and more rounded. Berggarten also flowers less readily than regular common sage giving you more of an opportunity to harvest. Grows up to 3′, with fuzzy grey-green oblong leaves and blue flowers. Used fresh or dried. Tasty in stuffing blends, with eggs, cheese, poultry, pork. Sage leaves can be fried and are delicious as an appetizer or garnish for meat.
Sage tea dries up mothers’ milk and helps reduce hot flashes. Sage is used medicinally for many ailments, including brain health, women’s reproductive issues and digestive issues. Likes well-drained rich soil with good nitrogen content. Perennial sage plants grow woody with age; replace every 3 years or so. Sage is also very hardy and will easily survive the worst of our Delaware winters.
This variegated accent plant is a form of regular culinary sage and can be used as such in any recipe calling for sage. The variegated pattern is stunning and a real standout in the garden as well as a beautiful garnish. Grayish green leaves are marbled with pink and purple. Lavender blue flower spikes appear mid-summer. The brightly colored leaves of Tricolor sage complement many different combinations in the garden.
Did you know there are an estimated 600 different types of mint worldwide! Spearmint is a basic variety Mentha spicata with large flavorful leaves. Use it in iced tea or any other cold drink including mojitos of course. Spearmint may by cut and hung upside down to dry. Cut often to stave off flowering. Any mint will spread all over the place and you should be careful where you plant it. The best place for a mint plant is probably in a pot or it will takeover any area in which it is planted. Mint enjoys partial shade, especially in our climate. It can grow in direct sun, but will not stay nice for cutting very long into the summer. Mint is very hardy and if you do plant it in a pot or large container such as a half barrel, you can leave it outside all winter.
This is the real thing, propagated from root division and not by seed. Tarragon is one of the four fines herbes of French cooking and is especially good for chicken, fish and egg dishes. Many customers have requested this herb from Hattie’s Garden in the past and we are happy to have obtained small “plugs” from Hillcrest Nursery in Maryland, certified organic for more than 30 years. Beware the often sold Russian tarragon, a weedy plant with little value in cooking and little flavor compared to French tarragon.
A favorite for cooking. This savory herb is a versatile seasoning for soups, chicken, seafood, vegetables, and sauces. Leaves are easy to use since they are small enough you don’t need to cut them. The flowers of the thyme plant are very attractive to butterflies and bees and the plant will bloom in early summer. Really enhances meat, cheese and egg dishes. Thyme is a hardy perennial.
This lemon scented thyme is a perennial and makes a wonderful addition to the garden. In addition to its ability to act as a ground cover, spreading about 12″ and only 4″ in height, it will bloom with beautiful pink to lavender flowers in mid to late summer. the blooms are a source of nectar for bees and butterflies. Lemon Thyme is the best of both worlds — a soft herbal thyme flavor along with the subtle essence of lemon without any bitterness sometimes associated with other thyme. Use the leaves for flavor in cooking, raw in salads, and for a herbal teas.
These herbs (also known as warm weather) should be planted after all danger of frost is past.
This hot weather lover will give you cilantro taste in the heat of the summer when other cilantro has gone to seed. Use about half the amount to achieve similar flavor. For those of you with limited sunlight, this is a great choice and easy to grow. You can grow this herb in the shadier parts of the garden. A tropical plant, Vietnamese Cilantro also likes plenty of moisture. This mysterious and exotic herb is used in many ways throughout the world. Use the leaves fresh and young leaves are best. A prolific grower, don’t be afraid to cut this plant back to encourage new, more tender leaves. You may bring this inside to overwinter as it has low light requirements.
Although perennial, Pineapple Sage is not hardy like the other culinary sages and will not survive our winters. It is a beautiful and large plant, growing 4 to 5 feet tall and spreading at least as far. Pineapple Sage attracts butterflies and hummingbirds when it flowers with hundreds of small scarlet whorls in autumn. We use it at Hattie’s Garden as a cut flower for some of our fall bouquets and love to watch the hummingbirds getting the nectar they need for their long journey south. The leaves and flowers are edible and really do smell like pineapple. Leaves are often used dried or fresh in tea, or use a leafy stem as garnish for a cold summer drink. It has long been a part of traditional Mexican medicine for treatment of anxiety and to lower high blood pressure.
Grown for its sweet leaves and used as a sweetener or a sugar substitute. Stevia is a tender perennial and so we grow it as an “annual.” Frost will damage it, so wait until the weather is warm before planting it in the garden. One plant will produce lots and lots of leaves that you can either dry or make a stevia extract from the leaves. You’ll find plenty of recipes online. Stevia has been used as a sweetener for 100s of years in parts of South America and for more than 30 years as a widely used commercial sweetener.
Normally grown as an annual, sweet marjoram is actual a tender perennial and will survive here in a mild winter or with added protection. 1′ plant with grey-green rounded leaves of enchanting sweet fragrance. In some Middle-eastern countries marjoram is synonymous with oregano. Sweet pine and citrus flavor, and easy to dry for later use.
Cut the tops as the plants begin to flower and dry slowly in the shade. To use fresh, cut often to prevent flowering. Adds flavor to soups, stews and stuffings. Marjoram is used interchangeably with oregano and has a somewhat milder flavor. Great for seasoning soups, stews, dressings and sauce.