When you walk through our herb sections at our two Rainbow Gardens locations and you see the huge variety of selections we carry, it’ll be easy to see why we think everyone should incorporate herbs somewhere in their landscape. Herbs can be used for culinary, medicinal, and aromatherapy purposes, as well as planted in landscapes or pots simply for their beauty or as pollinator attractors. Today’s blog gives you a list of seasonal annual herbs and perennial herbs that are suited for growing in San Antonio, along with a few harvesting tips.
Herbs like basil love warm weather and will not tolerate cold temperatures.
Herbs like cilantro actually prefer cooler weather, and go to seed quickly in the heat.
Herbs like rosemary are perennial and adorn the landscape year round. We carry both upright and prostrate varieties.
Warm season annual herbs (plant or seed March-August)
- Sweet Basil
- Summer Savory
Cool season annual herbs (plant or seed September – February)
Perennial herbs for San Antonio
- Lemon Balm
- Lemon Grass
- Mexican Mint Marigold (plant this instead of French tarragon which does poorly here in San Antonio)
Although we advise harvesting herbs before they flower, some herbs bloom so beautifully, and bring in the pollinators so profusely, you might have to buy multiples so you can enjoy all aspects of the plant. Some of my favorite, gorgeous blooming herbs are: African Basil, Borage (featured pic at top of blog), Pineapple Sage, Bee Balm, Dill/Fennel, and Rosemary.
Tips When Harvesting Herbs
- Harvest herbs regularly. Herbs look best when they are full and compact; this is achieved by harvesting them often.
- Harvest herbs in the morning. Morning hours are when the oils in your herbs are most concentrated, so you’ll be harvesting them when their flavor is at its best.
- Harvest no more than 1/3 of the total foliage of your herbs at a time. Although we advise harvesting often, you still need to leave some foliage behind to keep the plant healthy.
- Harvest most herbs before they go to seed or flower (of course there are exceptions). You shouldn’t be letting your herbs go to seed (flower) unless: you are specifically planting herbs for their flowers to attract pollinators, you want to save the seed for future plants or you are planting the herb to use the seed itself (ex: caraway, coriander, dill, fennel).
In springtime, don’t delay planting your perennial and warm-season annual herbs so they have time to get established before the summer heat rages. And make plans to harvest your cool-season annual herbs in May, as they will be in peak season and will begin to decline shortly after.
~The Happy Gardener