Growing herbs can be a great way to dip your toes into gardening. If you’re already a gardener, you know how convenient it is to have many of the herbs you need for cooking just steps from your front door. Herbs can provide an almost overwhelming bounty of flavor that can be easily stored and used all year long.
In this episode, we focus on woody perennial herbs. These easy-to-grow plants tend to get neglected, but they’re actually really easy to keep nice and tidy. With a few simple steps, you can care for your herbs while also harvesting your crop! Join us as we chat about pruning herbs, using lavender, sage, and rosemary as examples.
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In this episode, we discuss:
- The differences between the 3 categories of herbs: annual, biennial, and perennial.
- The importance of cutting back perennial herbs to prevent the stems from turning woody and affecting the growth habit of the plant in subsequent seasons.
- Best practices for cutting back herbs, with specific guidance for lavender, sage, and rosemary.
- Perennial herbs come back each year and generally will have a long life if properly cared for.
- Prune your perennial herbs at least once each season (use sharp pruners!). If you are planning to harvest your perennial herbs for culinary use, you’ll want to cut them back before they flower. Or, if you like to enjoy the colorful displays and the pollinator attracting capacity that most perennial herb flowers provide, cutting them after they have flowered is fine too.
- Don’t be afraid to prune! In general, perennial herbs should be cut back by a third to a half every growing season. This is the best way to prevent woody, unruly growth.
Heard on the Episode:
“Your perennial herbs don’t have to turn into unwieldy monsters, they’re actually really easy to keep nice and tidy, and by caring for them in this way, you’re also harvesting your crop!” - Hilary Dahl
“I like to cut my lavender back when there is still some life left in the flowers so I can use them for DIY projects. I hang the stalks to dry, and then collect the lavender blooms. This year, I'm making some lavender salts and sugars for holiday gifts.” - Kellie Phelan
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