Herb plants come in annuals, perennials, and biennials like other types of plants. There are so many different types of herbs and each one is different. If you are interested in a specific type of herb, you should research that one to understand the care it needs and how to use it properly. This article will get you started in understanding general different types of herb plants and what they are used for.
Annuals like basil, cilantro, and summer savory will not survive a frost. They need to be planted from a seed or a small plant every year. Perennials like sage and winter savory can survive colder temperatures and will return year after year. Biennial herbs are plants that form leaves in their first growing season and flowers and seed in the second season, then die. Biennial herbs like parsley, angelica, or caraway should be sown in late spring directly into the garden. Prepare the soil first by working it to a fine texture and wet it slightly. Plant the seeds in shallow rows then firm the soil on top of them. Fine seeds can be planted in a mixture of sand which will allow them to spread more evenly. You can also cover the bed with wet burlap or paper in order to keep the soil moist during germination.
Herbs are also grouped into the categories for which they are used. Culinary herbs are probably the most useful to herb gardeners. They have a huge range of different uses in cooking. Because of their strong flavors, herbs like chives, thyme, basil, sage, savory, and marjoram are generally used in small quantities to add flavor to different types of food. Parsley is an extremely popular herb that is used mostly as a garnish. Aromatic herbs have pleasant smelling flowers or foliage. Oils from aromatic herbs like loyage, mint, and rosemary can be used to make different types of perfumes, toilet water, or other various scents. Parts of aromatic herb plants used intact can also be used in the home to scent linens or clothing. They can also be dried and made into potpourri which will enable them to be able to retain their aroma for a long period of time. Lavender and lemon verbena are great herbs to use for potpourri. Some herbs are also used for medicinal purposes. For centuries herbs have been thought to have the ability to cure the body. Present medical knowledge recognizes that some herbs are beneficial to one’s health, others are overrated. Herbs used for medicinal purposes should be used carefully. Some herbs are harmless but others can be dangerous if eaten.
Some herbs are not used for their flavor, power to heal or fragrance. Some herbs are also used for their beauty. Ornamental herbs have brightly colored flowers and foliage. Many have whitish or various light colored flowers like valerian which has crimson blossoms and borage and chicory which grow gorgeous blue flowers.
While herbs can be categorized into these different categories of uses, many herbs have multiple purposes. For example, mint may be used for cooking, tea, and pest control. Whatever the reason you have an interest in herbs, by understanding herb garden plants you are able to pick the herbs that will be most useful to you.