Growing Tips

Anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)

Anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)

Agastaches (most varieties): full sun or partial shade, and will grow well in poorer clay, gravelly or sandy soil. Light to moderate water. Space 15” apart. Anise hyssop grows well with chamomile and horehound. It is a remedy for cold and flu, digestive/liver/intestinal problems; tea herb.
Angelica (Angelica archangelica): Grows to 3 feet. Space plants 15” apart. Likes rich, moist, well-drained soil and partial shade and needs moderate to heavy watering. This is a biennial herb, so allow to self-sow once it has flowered the second year. Used in women’s, men’s and children’s health, cold and fly, heart/circulatory, lungs.

Arnica Montana

Arnica Montana

Arnica (Arnica Montana): Likes slightly acidic, well-drained soil in full sun, but will tolerate most soils and some shade. Grows well under angelica, rudbeckias and elderberry shrubs. As a salve/lotion, arnica will assist the healing of injuries and bruising. Internally, it is best taken in homeopathic form.
Artemisias (most varieties): Plants prefer full sun and dryish soils. Cut back in late winter vigorous, bushy plants in spring. All are aromatic; mugwort and wormwood have medicinal properties (use with care); others are more ornamental.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum): Full sun, well-drained soil with light to moderate amounts of water. Plant 12” apart, and pinch back to form bushy plant. Removing flowers will prolong the life of this annual herb. Basil is a good companion plant for tomatoes and sweet peppers.  Basil aids digestive/liver/intestinal problems and headaches.

Lavender Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)

Lavender Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)

Bergamots (Monarda sp.): Bergamots prefer moist rich soil with humus, full sun or part shade, and will grow 2 to 3 feet tall. Space 12” apart and give moderate water. Planted near tomatoes, bergamots will enhance their growth by hastening pollination.  Monarda species help with colds and flu, the digestive system and lungs, as well as being used as a tea herb.
Borage (Borago officinalis): This annual plant will grow to 3’ tall and should be spaced at least 15” apart.  It will self-seed readily for the following year. Plant in full sun to light shade and water moderately. This is an excellent plant to grow in orchards and near strawberries, and is a magnet for grasshoppers, so can be used to draw these insects away from other, more vulnerable plants. Borage is used as a tea herb, for skin/hair/nails, and in women’s health issues.

Borage amongst the Flanders poppies

Borage amongst the Flanders poppies

Calendula (Calendula officinalis: This annual plant grows about 15” tall and should be spaced about 10” apart. Plant in full sun and provide light to moderate amounts of water. It will self-seed readily if some of the flowers are allowed to remain on the plant. Calendula aids the digestive system, immune system, and women’s health. Externally, it is an important first-aid remedy.
Catnip & Catmint (Nepeta sp.): Grows up to 24” tall and should be spaced 12” apart. It will grow in almost any environment from full sun to shade, and likes a moderate amount of water. It complements the growth of sage. Catnip is used in children’s health, stress relief, cold and flu, pain relief, and for the digestive and nervous systems.
Chamomile/German (Matricaria recutita): Space this annual 10” apart and water moderately. It will grow in full sun or partial shade in well-drained soil. Besides its use as a tea herb, chamomile is used in women and children’s health, as stress and pain relief, for bones and muscles, the digestive and nervous systems and skin/hair/nails.

True comfrey

True comfrey

Comfrey (Symphytum): Grows in moist, fertile, well-drained soil, preferring full sun but will tolerate some shade. Contains the healing agent alantoin. Root and leaves are used to heal cuts, abrasions, athletic injuries, and broken bones. Leaves and stalks are very beneficial in the compost pile, or in making a compost tea for watering plants.
Curry Plant (Helichrysum): This is a drought-tolerant plant native to the Mediterranean and hardy to 15˚. Planted in full sun and well-drained soil, it grows to about 2’ tall by 3’ wide.  Helichrysum is the source of an essential oil used in the perfume industry and aromatherapy.
Elecampane (Inula helenium): Grow in full sun to partial shade, and space this 4’-6’ plant 12” apart. Give light to moderate water. It likes rich, loamy soil, but is adaptable. This plant is used as a substitute for at-risk osha and lomatium herbs. Elecampane is used for cold and flu, lungs, eyes/ears/nose/throat problems and digestive/liver complaints. Externally, it makes a good antiseptic wash for cuts and wounds and skin infections.
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare): Plant in full sun and well-drained soil, and provide moderate amounts of water. Space 12” to 15” apart. It complements sunflowers, calendulas and nasturtiums and is a wonderful plant for hummingbirds and butterflies.  Fennel is a good tea herb, in addition to its use in women and children’s health, digestive/liver/intestinal problems, and for the lungs, eyes/ears/nose/throat.
Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium):  Plant in full sun to part shade in rich soil, though it will tolerate most soil types. Water moderately. Feverfew grows to at least 24” and should be spaced 12” apart. It will self-sow abundantly, which is helpful as the parent plant does not last more than a season or two. Anise hyssop, licorice and bergamots are good companion plants, and feverfew will act as an insect deterrent for other plants.  Feverfew is a famous remedy for headaches and migraines, and is used also as an anti-inflamatory for arthritis and nerve pain as in shingles and sciatica. It also has an antihistamine action.

Pleated Horehound (Marrubium cylleneum)

Pleated Horehound (Marrubium cylleneum)

Horehound (Marrubium sp.): Can grow up to 24’ tall and should be spaced 12” apart. Plant in full sun and poor soil, and water lightly. Horehound grows well with thyme, rosemary and feverfew.  Marurrubiam vulgare is used in colds and flu, lung conditions and eyes/ears/nose/throat problems. Other species are more ornamental than medicinal.
Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis): This plant likes dry, well-drained soil in full sun and grows to 24”. Protect plant in severe winter conditions. Hyssop is used as a tea herb, and for the respiratory system as an antispasmodic. It is also antiseptic.
Lavenders (Lavandula sp.): This 2’ plant prefers dry soil and sunny, hot conditions, so water lightly. Space plants 12” apart. It grows well with hyssop, yarrow and Echinacea angustifolia.  In addition to its common use as a fragrance, lavender is beneficial to the respiratory system, women and children’s health, stress and pain relief, muscles/bones, brain/memory and skin/hair/nails.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis): Grows to about 24” and should be spaced 12” apart. Plant in full sun or partial shade, in well-drained soil and water moderately. Lemon balm is an excellent tea herb, and is used in children’s health, stress and pain relief, cold and flu, immune/lymph, digestive/liver/intestinal, and nervous system.
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra): As a Mediterranean plant, licorice likes full sun to part-shade and well-drained soil with only moderate water. It will die back in winter and come up vigorously in late spring. It gets larger over time—4’ to 5’– so plant 24” apart. Licorice is used frequently in teas, and for children’s health, stress relief, cold and flu, immune/lymph, digestive/liver/intestinal, lungs and eyes/ears/nose/throat problems.
Lovage (Levisticum officinalis): This 2’ to 3’ plant needs 24” spacing and can be grown in sun, shade or part shade, with well-drained soil and moderate amounts of water. Lovage contains some of the same properties as osha, which is an at-risk plant. As an anti-spasmodic, it is beneficial in lung conditions, cold and flu.
Marjoram/Sweet (Origanum majorana): This tender perennial plant enhances the growth and flavor of other nearby plants. It only grows 8” to 12” high, and prefers light, rich soil in full sun. Mulch helps retain moisture for the roots of this small plant. Marjoram helps in stress-related symptoms, improves circulation, is diuretic, antimicrobial, decongestant and antioxidant.
Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca): This herbaceous perennial grows 2’ to 4’ and should be spaced 20” apart. Plant in full sun or shade, in any type of soil and water moderately well.  Motherwort is used for the reproductive system, stress relief, heart/circulatory, digestive/liver/intestines and nervous system.
Motherwort/Siberian (Leonurus sibericus): This plant is a biennial, though sometimes annual plant. It can get to 6’ tall, so space 2’ apart in partial to full sun, regular garden soil and plenty of water. It produces much nectar and is an excellent, long-lasting cut flower.

Greek mullein towering above a 6 footer!

Greek mullein towering above a 6 footer!

Mulleins (Verbascum sp.): Mulleins are biennial and will tolerate poor soil and fierce sun with little water, but can produce monumental plants if grown in fertile soil. Grows 3’ to 7’ and can be spaced 2’ apart. Reseeds readily. Greek Mullein (V. olympicum) is the best Mullein species for flower production. Plant with mugwort (artemesia vulgaris), feverfew and echinacea. Mullein is used for allergy relief, eyes/ears/nose/throat, skin/hair/nails, the urinary system and pain relief.
Oregano/Greek (Origanum heracleoticum): Grow in full sun to partial shade in well-drained soil. Water light to moderately. Space 12” apart and it will grow up to 2” high. Oregano is used for cold and flu, and digestive conditions.
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea): Echinacea will grow 2 to 3 feet, and likes most soils, moderate water and full sun. It will do well near evening primrose and yarrow. Echinacea boosts the immune/lymph system,  and helps in respiratory conditions.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis): Upright varieties can grow 3’ to 5’, with an equivalent width. Prostrate (creeping) varieties are about 2’ tall. It prefers hot temperatures and dry, well drained soil conditions, though also enjoys extra humidity. Water light to moderately. Rosemary grows well interplanted with lavender, hyssop, santolina and California poppy. Rosemary is used for cold and flu, heart/circulatory, immune/lymph, muscles/bone, digestive/liver/intestinal, brain/memory, lungs, skin/hair/nails.
Rue (Ruta graveolens): Rue will tolerate hot and cool climates, as well as wet or dry environments. Plant in full sun and water light to moderately. It grows up to 24” and should be spaced about 12” apart. It is a great insect deterrent, so plant where aphids, whitefly and thrips are present. Rue is used in women’s health, and for eyes/ears/nose/throat.
Sage (Salvia officinalis): Grows to 24” and should be spaced about 12” apart. Plant in full sun, well-drained soil and give light to moderate water.  It grows well with calendula, pleurisy root and pentstemon. Sage is used in women’s health, for the respiratory and digestive systems and for the health of hair and skin. As an antiseptic is in useful in first-aid conditions. Growing conditions are similar for other species of sage.
Skullcap/Baical (Scutellaria baicalensis): This is the Chinese herb huang qin. It favors rich, moist soil in full sun.
Savory (Satureja sp): Summer savory is a mild, annual herb, as opposed to winter savory which is the sharper-flavored perennial. It is small, so does well planted in a container. Plant in full sun, in not-too-fertile soil and keep on the dry side. Savory is used for the digestive system, respiratory and urinary systems and skin/hair/nails.
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris): A short plant, only about 12”, it thrives in sandy, dry soil in full sun. It grows well in a rock garden.  Thyme is a great antiseptic and circulatory stimulant and is used for the respiratory and reproductive systems. Other species of thyme have similar growing conditions, though they tend to be less long-lived than T. vulgaris.

Valerian

Valerian

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis): Grows 3’ to 4’ and should be spaced about 15” apart. As long as it has moist soil it will grow in sun or shade, though part shade is best. Moderate to heavy watering is needed. It reseeds readily, so pay attention to the seed heads and cut them down if you do not want many more plants! Valerian primarily helps the nervous system as a relaxant.
White Sage (Salvia apiana): Found in southern California, white sage is not hardy to Oregon, so grow as an annual. It prefers a good soil, slightly alkaline, and full sun, and grows well with echinacea, evening primrose, yarrow, rosemary and lavender. White sage is useful for women’s health, digestive tract conditions, throat and skin, winter illnesses and respiratory conditions, as well as being a good insect repellent.
Wood Betony/Woundwort (Stachys officinalis ): One of the most common wild flowers throughout Britain, it grows in woods and along hedge banks (Little information available on growing preference!) Wood betony is a relaxant, and tonic for the nervous system. It  also benefits the digestion and acts as a decongestant when taken hot.
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium): Yarrow can reach 3 feet in height and will bloom from May to October. Space 12” apart. Planted in well-drained soil and full sun, it will flower in its second year. Known as an “herb of strength”, yarrow will enhance anything that grows nearby. Yarrow is astringent, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and a circulatory stimulant, and is used for the digestive system, in women and children’s health, and for fevers, colds and flu.

Sources for Therapeutic & Growing Information:

Carrots Love Tomatoes, Louise Riotte
Compiled Set of Publications Cultivation Set, Richo Cech
Grow 15 Herbs for the Kitchen, Sheryl L. Felty
Growing 101 Herbs that Heal, Tammi Hartung
Horizon Herb Catalog, Richo Cech
New Herb Bible, Caroline Foley, Jill Nice and Marcus A. Webb
The Herbal Kitchen, Kami McBride
The Medicinal Garden, Anne McIntyre
The Medicine Wheel Garden, E. Barrie Kavasch