Classifications of Herbs

Herbs have been companions of man for many, many centuries. You have seen the many uses to which herbs can be put, accompanying and serving man through his life.

Herb garden plants thrive not only outside in the garden, but year after year they reveal their undefinable ability to grow to one’s heart. The variety of fragrances, the display of brilliant colors, the pride of their majestic growth, the surrounding liveliness of humming insects, all these imponderables and more make lasting impressions upon the soul of the observant grower.

Herbs are classified as tender annuals (like basil, marjoram, borage, nasturtium), as Hardy annuals (like chamomile, heart’s ease), as Biennials (like clary sage, angelica, mullein), as Tender Perennials (like rosemary, curry plant) and as Hardy Perennials (like lavender, sage, hyssop, chives).

The annuals have to be seeded each year unless conditions are favorable enough in the garden to have these annuals seed themselves. The biennials also should be seeded each year so that, for example, a mullein will be in flower each year. These plants form leaves only the first year and flower the following year. The perennials last for many years with proper care and be started from either seed or a purchased plant which over the years can be divided or used for cuttings. Placing the herbs in the garden should take into consideration these differences of above mentioned categories. Perennials quite often are planted as the framework of a garden around which the annuals are grouped.

To start herb seed indoors is easier than anyone think. There are just a few rules to follow and steps to take. Herbs to be started indoors for later transplanting are best started from seed no earlier than March; otherwise they will get too spindly, weak or fall prey to insects and diseases.

On the other hand, a large variety of herb plants has to be propagated from stem cuttings because either the plants do not form seeds or the seeds do not come true to variety. A cutting is actually a term used for the sprig which is cut off the tip of a branch, and for information should be about three inches long.

These qualities and more of herbs can mean only that you have more reason than ever to raise herbs in your garden.