Perennial herbs are a fantastic addition to any garden, providing a continuous supply of beauty, fresh flavors, and powerful therapeutic compounds perfect for home remedies.

Here are 11 of my favorite perennial herbs that you can plant once and enjoy for a lifetime.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Rosemary is a woody, fragrant herb that thrives in warm, sunny conditions. It adds a robust flavor to many dishes and can be used fresh or dried.

  • For wellness. Rosemary contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. It can be used in aromatherapy to improve cognitive function, concentration, and memory. Rosemary oil may be diluted and applied topically to soothe sore muscles or improve circulation.

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

Thyme is a low-growing herb with tiny leaves and a strong, earthy flavor. It’s excellent for seasoning meats, soups, and stews.

  • For wellness. Thyme has antimicrobial properties and may help support respiratory health. Thyme tea or steam inhalation with thyme essential oil can help remedy coughs, congestion, and sore throats. Dilute thyme oil and apply topically for a natural disinfectant for minor cuts and wounds.

Sage (Salvia officinalis)

Sage is a versatile herb with a slightly peppery flavor. It pairs well with poultry dishes and is delicious when dried as a crispy garnish.

  • For wellness. Brewing sage tea is a simple way to enjoy its health benefits. To make tea, steep fresh or dried sage leaves in hot water for 5-10 minutes and drink warm or cold. Sage has antioxidant properties that support digestion, alleviate a sore throat, and promote overall well-being.

Mint (Mentha spp.)

Mint is a fast-spreading herb with a refreshing, cool flavor. It’s perfect for teas, cocktails, desserts, and savory dishes like salads or sauces.

  • For wellness. Peppermint is renowned for its refreshing flavor and digestive benefits. Peppermint tea can help relieve indigestion, bloating, and nausea. Peppermint oil applied topically or inhaled through steam inhalation may also provide relief from headaches and congestion.

Oregano (Origanum vulgare)

Oregano is a staple herb in Mediterranean cuisine, known for its pungent flavor. It’s great in tomato-based sauces, on pizzas, and in marinades.

  • For wellness. Inhaling the steam from oregano-infused water can help relieve respiratory symptoms such as congestion, coughs, and sinusitis. Add a handful of fresh oregano leaves (or a few drops of oregano essential oil) to a pot of hot water. Lean over the pot, cover your head with a towel, and inhale the steam for several minutes.

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)

Chives are a member of the onion family, with a mild onion flavor. They’re often used as a garnish for salads, soups, and baked potatoes.

  • For wellness. Chives contain natural antibacterial properties that can help kill odor-causing bacteria in the mouth. Chewing on fresh chives or adding them to salads and other dishes can help freshen your breath naturally.

Lavender (Lavandula spp.)

Lavender isn’t just for potpourri; it adds a subtle floral flavor to sweet and savory dishes. Use it sparingly in desserts, marinades, or teas.

  • For wellness. Lavender is known for its calming and soothing properties. It can be used to make lavender tea or infused oil for aromatherapy, which may help alleviate stress and anxiety and promote relaxation. Additionally, lavender oil can be applied topically to soothe minor burns, insect bites, or headaches.

Tips for growing perennial herbs

Here are some general tips for growing perennial herbs:

  • Choose the right location. Most perennial herbs prefer full sun, so select a sunny spot in your garden or balcony where they can receive at least 6-8 hours of sunlight each day. Ensure the area has well-draining soil to prevent waterlogging, as most herbs dislike soggy conditions.
  • Prepare the soil. Before planting, amend the soil with organic matter such as compost to improve its structure and fertility. Perennial herbs generally prefer slightly acidic soil to neutral (pH 6.0-7.0). If soil is too compacted or clayey, consider adding sand or perlite to improve drainage.
  • Watering. While many perennial herbs are drought-tolerant once established, they still require regular watering, especially during hot and dry periods. Water deeply but infrequently, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot.
  • Mulching. Apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of your perennial herbs to help retain soil moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature. Mulching also adds organic matter to the soil as it breaks down over time.
  • Pruning and harvesting. Regular pruning helps maintain perennial herbs’ shape and vigor. Trim back overgrown or leggy growth to encourage bushier growth and prevent the plants from becoming too woody. Harvest herbs frequently to encourage new growth and ensure a steady supply of fresh foliage.
  • Fertilization. Perennial herbs generally do not require heavy fertilization, especially if planted in nutrient-rich soil. However, a light application of balanced fertilizer in spring can help promote healthy growth. Avoid over-fertilizing, as this can result in excessive foliage with reduced flavor.
  • Protection from pests and diseases. Monitor your perennial herbs regularly for signs of pests such as aphids, spider mites, or fungal diseases like powdery mildew. Address any issues promptly with organic pest control methods or fungicides if necessary.
  • Winter care. In colder climates, some perennial herbs may need extra protection during the winter months. Consider mulching around the base of the plants to insulate the roots and protect them from freezing temperatures. Potted herbs can be brought indoors or placed in a sheltered area during frosty weather.
  • Propagation. Many perennial herbs can be easily propagated from seeds, cuttings, or division. Experiment with different propagation methods to expand your herb garden and share plants with friends and family.

In my book Grow Your Own Pharmacy, I show you how to plant, care for, harvest, and use 51 healing plants for wellness. This full-color book contains original photos and projects and is suitable for novice and beginner herb enthusiasts. 

Happy Growing,

Hi There! Susan Here.

(aka the Earthen Mamma)

As a Certified Health Coach, Master Gardener, and Author, my goal is to equip and inspire you to live the healthy and sustainable life you deserve.

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