Perennial herbs may take time

to sprout.

Starting them in pots will help prevent the seeds

from being disturbed or forgotten in the garden.

Some need a period of moist cold before sprouting, and these should be planted in very early spring or even in the fall. Most herbs will be more potent and more winter-hardy if given excellent drainage. If you have heavy soil or live in a moist climate, consider planting on a mound, terrace, raised bed, herb spiral, or among stones. Adding gravel (not sand) to the top couple of inches of soil can help also. Shelter from winds can also increase winter survival.

Perennials should generally be divided or cut back every three years to get the best growth. How to know which?

If the plant has made a clump, sprouting from several points in the ground, you should divide it. Pry the clump apart into 3 or 4 pieces, each with some roots and some sprouts. Chives, Mexican Tarragon, Skullcap, and mints fall in this group.
If there is a single stem like a trunk arising from the ground and then branching, you will want to cut the plant back. The time to do this is immediately after blooming (within a month). Use scissors or shears to cut each branch so that the entire plant has been trimmed into a smaller, roughly ball-shaped, shrub. Make sure you do not cut back as far as the totally woody, bark-covered stems. You should leave at least an inch of growth that is flexible, and has little leaves, buds or scales along the stem where new branches will emerge. Lavender, Thyme, Sage, and Rosemary are all small shrubs that should be cut back in this way. 
What if your plant has neither a shrublike shape nor a clump of sprouts? Then leave it alone! Some plants like Lovage, Grindelia, and Lomatium will just go on  getting larger without needing any care.

 See The Medicinal Herb Grower in our book section for excellent advice on growing herbs and indeed all sorts or perennials, trees, and shrubs from seed.







Popular This Season:
Ham 7898 large

Amole, Soap Plant

Perennial bulb used as a soap (So gentle on fabric, hair, and delicate items, that museums use it.) Baked, it was an important food for Native peoples. The f...
  • Germination days: 12-14
  • Seed code: N
  • Planting depth: 1/8
Han 7905+licorice+mint

Anise Hyssop (Licorice Mint), Organic

Not invasive like true mints. Many uses: young leaves in salad, leaves in teas, spikes of edible lavender flowers attract butterflies. Popular permaculture p...
  • Days to maturity: 75-80
  • Planting depth: Shallow
  • Seeds per packet: 150
Has 7910 ashwagandha

Ashwagandha

Withania, "Indian ginseng". Tender perennial grown as an annual, like a tomato. Ashwagandha is used like ginseng, but it is easier and faster to grow. Powder...
  • Spacing: 16-24
  • Germination days: 14-28
  • Days to maturity: 90
Dsc 0484

Catnip

It's not just for cats! Aromatic perennial mint, more drought-tolerant than other mints. Edible flowers. Grows to 3', with downy, pale-green foliage and 4" f...
  • Seeds per packet: 125
  • Planting depth: 1/2-1
  • Spacing: 15
100 0057

Chives (Scallions) Onion, Organic

Easy and useful perennial herb with delicate onion taste. Showy edible flowers. Survives anything: drought, standing water, poor soil, ideal indoor herb, rep...
  • Spacing: 1-3
  • Days to maturity: 80
  • Seeds per packet: 150
Hsa 8350 2+ccpic +leo+michels

Culinary Sage

With soft, gray-green leaves and violet flowers, a classic seasoning in food and ancient medicine, also makes nice wreaths and dried bouquets. Handsome all y...
  • Days to maturity: 90-120
  • Spacing: 18
  • Germination days: 14-21
Hda 8080 pic pancrazio campagna

Dandelion

Toothed basal leaves, deep taproot, golden flowers, all edible. Dandelion has an astonishing range of health benefits. Young leaves good in mixed greens, bot...
  • Spacing: 6-8
  • Planting depth: Shallow
  • Seeds per packet: 200
Dscn9697

Echinacea purpurea, organic

Coneflower (Sampson root). Used to boost immune system, fight off developing colds and flu. Deep pink flowers with distinctive cone-shaped center. Roots dug ...
  • Spacing: 18-24
  • Germination days: 14-21
  • Seeds per packet: 100
Hel 8120 elecam 2pic enrico+romani

Elecampane

Striking 8' flower stalks above a rosette of very large green leaves. Produces big golden flowers from the second year on. Roots are potent antibacterial/ant...
  • Spacing: 18-36
  • Germination days: 12-14
  • When to plant: Early fall
Hfe 8150 feverfew lg

Feverfew

Hardy to -20F. Dainty plant with lacy leaves and daisy flowers, fast-growing, compact, and often used in herb and flower beds, or as a beneficial insect attr...
  • Spacing: 10-15
  • Germination days: 14-20
  • Seeds per packet: 250
Vle 4010 garlic+chives

Garlic Chives Onions, Organic

Carpets of flowers and tasty leaves in shade.Somewhat like chives, with broad, flat medium green leaves up to 14" long. Masses of bell-like white flowers in ...
  • Spacing: 1-3
  • Days to maturity: 70
  • Germination days: 10-14
Hor 8310 cc2pic forest+%26+kim+starr

Greek Oregano

The "pizza herb" classic in tomato and Italian dishes. Perennial in any well-drained soil and full sun. Plant spring to mid-summer. One of the best herbs for...
  • Seeds per packet: 600
  • Spacing: 18-24
  • Planting depth: Shallow
Grindelia

Grindelia, Gumplant

Sought-after herb for asthma and other upper respiratory problems. Rare in commerce, but easy to grow. Three-foot plants are covered with yellow flowers. In ...
  • Planting depth: Barely cover
  • Seeds per packet: 50
  • Seed code: N
Peganum harmala syrian rue commonswikipedia

Harmel, Esfand, Syrian Rue

Ancient medicinal and ritual plant of the Middle East, in continual use for thousands of years in the rites of many cultures. Extremely drought-tolerant. It ...
  • Spacing: 9-12
  • Seeds per packet: 300
  • When to plant: Early spring
Hto 8458 hopi+tobacco fwikipedia

Hopi Tobacco

Ancient Native American plant with long history of ceremonial and spiritual uses. Can also be used to repel pests, keep moths out of clothing, and make a nat...
  • Planting depth: Barely cover
  • Spacing: 18
  • Seed code: N
Hho 8170 horeh pic +renzo+salvo

Horehound

This ancient perennial herb has had many uses, from flavoring candy to curing coughs and colds. Used for asthma. Fuzzy grey-green leaves with white woolly un...
  • Germination days: 14-20
  • Spacing: 9
  • Seeds per packet: 150
Hhy 8180hyssop

Hyssop (Bee plant), organic

Bees love the deep blue flowers. Leaves used in cooking, teas, and cough syrup. Used as tea for the common cold, hyssop is antiviral and expectorant. Handsom...
  • Seeds per packet: 160
  • Planting depth: Barely cover
  • Germination days: 14-21
Hja 8190jamaica

Jamaica, Hibiscus tea, Roselle

This tropical perennial is grown as an annual in the north. At the base of the big flowers are fruit-like calyces used to make a fruity "zinger" red tea with...
  • Spacing: 18-24
  • Seeds per packet: 10
  • Planting depth: Barely cover
Lady%27s+mantle

Lady's Mantle

Outstanding as a weed-smothering summer groundcover, with beautifully scalloped leaves that catch dew like pearls. Used for centuries as a women's herb. Astr...
  • When to plant: Late fall
  • Germination days: 15-20
  • Planting depth: Shallow
Lemon+balm+by+the+fava+bed

Lemon Balm

Makes a favorite tasty relaxing tea. Drought tolerant. Plant after last frost. Self-sows. Leaves used for tea with aromatic lemon flavor. Antiviral, sedative...
  • Seeds per packet: 320
  • Germination days: 15-20
  • Planting depth: Shallow
Hli 8230 licorice

Licorice

The original licorice stick is simply a dried root of this plant-still a sought-after treat. Amazingly sweet roots are harvested in third year. Fine-flavored...
  • Spacing: 36
  • Germination days: 7-10
  • Seeds per packet: 30
Hlo 8240 lovage+photo+by+leo+michels

Lovage

Sweet aromatic undertonesWith a complex flavor somewhere between celery and parsley.The root is used as substitute for Dong Quai. The leaves are terrific in...
  • Seeds per packet: 45
  • Spacing: 36
  • When to plant: Late summer
Hma 8250 marshmallow2 enrico+romani

Marshmallow, Organic

Same family as hollyhock, with similar tall stalks and flowers. Edible flowers good in salads, tea, on cakes. Roots soothe inflamed skin, stomach, mucous mem...
  • Germination days: 21-35
  • Seeds per packet: 40
  • Planting depth: Shallow
Hme 8260 meadowsweet4

Meadowsweet, Organic

Queen of the MeadowVery hard to find seed, very useful herb. Aspirin is a synthetic version of meadowsweet's pain-relieving anti-inflammatory compoundsUnlike...
  • Germination days: 60-90
  • Planting depth: Barely cover
  • Seeds per packet: 100
Hta 8450 tageteslucida wikimedia manfred.sauseatvolloeko.de

Mexican Tarragon (Sweet Mace)

True French tarragon can only be grown from cuttings. This Mexican type is actually a kind of marigold, but tastes a lot like tarragon when dried. The fresh ...
  • Germination days: 5-7
  • Spacing: 10
  • Planting depth: Barely cover
Hmo 8300 mwort ccpic michels

Motherwort, Organic

Easy-to-grow, hardy and handsome plant with large hand-shaped leaves and spires of pink flowers to 5'. Grows in any sunny spot with reasonable drainage. Used...
  • Spacing: 24-36
  • Germination days: 14-21
  • Planting depth: 1/8
Hmo 8305 +mountain+mint

Mountain Mint

Hardy perennial wildflower with loads of fresh mint aroma, without the invasive roots of mint. Compact, good-looking landscape plant with spikes of pale lave...
  • Germination days: 14-21
  • Seeds per packet: 100
  • Spacing: 12
Rhodiola2

Rhodiola, roseroot

Rhodiola is one of the herbs that has been getting international attention lately for its adaptogenic properties. Adaptogens do not address any specific sing...
  • Spacing: 8
  • Seeds per packet: 20
  • Germination days: 5-10
Hch 8030 cham ccpic andrea+moro

Roman Chamomile

Hard-to-find seed. This perennial has been used for centuries for making herbal lawns. At its best in a cool climate-likes the same conditions as lettuce. St...
  • Seeds per packet: 1200
  • Planting depth: Shallow
  • Germination days: 10-14
Rosemary+

Rosemary

One of the most useful of all herbs. Drought tolerant, it needs a well-drained soil with lime. Seed germination is slow. Wonderful in almost any cooked dish,...
  • Germination days: 14-28
  • Spacing: 18-24
  • Planting depth: 1/8
Hbu 8000sanguisorba minor3burnet

Salad Burnet

Easy to grow and adaptable to all climates and soils, from bogs to very dry. Winter-hardy in all zones. Leaves used very young in salad mix. Medicinal: astri...
  • Spacing: 15
  • Planting depth: 1/8
  • Seeds per packet: 100
Tsc7765schisandra2

Schizandra (Magnolia Vine)

Also known as Magnolia Vine and Five Flavor Berry seed. Invaluable immune-enhancing and adaptogenic herb from China. The red berries are chewed, used in cook...
  • Germination days: Varies
  • Spacing: 24-36
  • Seeds per packet: 25
Self heal

Self-Heal

Has a long tradition as a wound-healing herb all over the world. Has been used to stop bleeding, close wounds, as a throat gargle for coughs and colds, and f...
  • Germination days: 7-21
  • Spacing: 8
  • Seeds per packet: 50
Skullcap+july+2013

Skullcap

True-blue flowers in shade.This native herb has been used to calm anxiety for centuries.Prized as the nerve tonic that has the "deepest" action, nourishing t...
  • Spacing: 8
  • Germination days: 14-21
  • Seeds per packet: 100
Hso 8364 jamie+pics+october+2010+252

Solidago, Goldenrod

Solidago means "to strengthen or make whole." Used for centuries for colds, headaches, toothache, and bladder/kidney problems. Now proven helpful for allergi...
  • Spacing: 10
  • Planting depth: Barely cover
  • Seed code: N
Hsp 8365spilanthes

Spilanthes, Toothache Plant, Organic

Easy to grow, immune-enhancing tonic, dentifrice, anesthetic. Chewing on a leaf or bud causes a tingling in the mouth, used in small amounts to give interest...
  • Germination days: 10-15
  • Planting depth: 1/8
  • Spacing: 6
Hst 8375 stevia ethel+aardvark wiki3

Stevia, Organic

Leaves used as an herbal sugar substitute. 10-16 times sweeter than sugar without the calories. It needs mild temperatures between 36-80F. In cold-winter are...
  • Germination days: 14-25
  • Seeds per packet: 20
  • Spacing: 24
Hst 8420nettle

Stinging Nettle, Organic

Prefers moist soil and partial sun. Leaves and stems irritate skin when touched; drying, cooking, or even just wilting will remove the sting. One of the best...
  • Planting depth: Shallow
  • Spacing: 24
  • Germination days: 14-21
Hma 8248 ccpic2 forest+%26+kim+starr

Sweet Marjoram

Related to oregano, with similar leaves and size, but much sweeter more complex flavor and enchanting fragrance. Besides using in stews and sauces, try a bou...
  • Planting depth: Shallow
  • Spacing: 8
  • Germination days: 14-21
Hth 8450 thyme 600x800

Thyme

Evergreen perennial enjoys a light, rich soil, good drainage, lime and full sun. Good in rock walls or pots. Indispensable culinary herb used to season nearl...
  • Seeds per packet: 1000
  • Germination days: 14-21
  • Spacing: 6
Lavender

True English Lavender

Beloved, unique fragrance from both leaves and flowers. Used in sachets, potpourri, and cooking. Medicinal uses range from headaches and depression to insect...
  • When to plant: Late fall
  • Germination days: 15-20
  • Planting depth: Shallow
Hva 8470v +valerian leo+michels cc

Valerian

Widely-used herbal sleep aid,old-time favorite in the garden. Bears branched heads of honey-scented flowers in summer. Garden Heliotrope, Cat's Valerian. Ve...
  • Planting depth: Barely cover
  • Seeds per packet: 50
  • Spacing: 18
Hve 8460 +ccpic gianluca+nicolella

Vervain

Herbal ground cover stays evergreen. Wands of small lavender flowers dance above it in spring. Draws beneficial insects over an extremely long bloom period. ...
  • Spacing: 8-12
  • Germination days: 14-21
  • Seeds per packet: 300
Hsa 8360 white+sage csusb

White Sage , Organic

Indigenous sage used ceremonially by native people, tied into bundles and burned as incense "smudge sticks". Likes a well-drained, dry, sunny spot. Perennial...
  • Days to maturity: 90-120
  • Spacing: 24
  • Germination days: 14-21
Hfe 8151 img 0713 2

Wild Fennel

Easy-to-grow source of fennel leaf and seed for salad mixes, pasta sauces, meat and fish dishes, and herbal teas. Secret ingredient of the best pasta sauces....
  • Planting depth: Barely
  • Days to maturity: 40-70
  • Spacing: 18-24
Hwi 8472 w savory mazzoni

Winter Savory

A great herbal groundcover. Tough evergreen with glossy dark green leaves and pale flowers all summer. Taste between summer savory and thyme. Soothes intesti...
  • Germination days: 10-15
  • Planting depth: Barely cover
  • Seeds per packet: 150
Hwo 8478  marinella+zepigi

Wood Betony, Organic

Tea or tincture of the fresh leaves is used to relieve pain and for headache and stress. Modern herbalists prescribe wood betony to treat anxiety, gallstones...
  • Spacing: 12-24
  • Germination days: 14-21
  • Seeds per packet: 100
Wormwood

Wormwood

Tall drought-tolerant perennial repels insects, deer, and burrowing animals like gophers. Excellent with perennials and shrubs (like roses) or around the edg...
  • When to plant: Late winter
  • Seeds per packet: 1000
  • Spacing: 12-24
Yarrow web

Yarrow

Ancient healing herb, used for worldwide to stop bleeding, heal wounds, break fevers, and for headaches, colds, and flu. A handful of leaves in the bath soak...
  • When to plant: Late winter
  • Seeds per packet: 1000
  • Planting depth: 1/8
Hye 4390 yerba  web

Yerba Mansa

In demand as a substitute for Goldenseal.Native plant grows much like strawberries, and loves heat.California Natives used this herb extensively to prevent a...
  • When to plant: Late winter
  • Seeds per packet: 50
  • Germination days: 14-21