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Growing herbs will not only add colour and beauty to your garden, but will have other, more subtle benefits. The dried herbs bought from the supermarket may have been irradiated to prolong their storage life, and are a world away when compared to the flavour and nutritional value of fresh herbs. So, always consider growing your own!
Herbs also provide a food source for honey bees. You can find information on growing bee forage here.
Syn. Bai Zhi, garden angelica, wild celery, Norwegian angelica
Angelica is a biennial, herbaceous, tall growing herb to 2 m high. It has large bright green leaves and flowerheads. The leaves and stems are used in cooking; the young green stems traditionally being crystallized and added to fruitcake. The oil is used to flavour alcohol including Chartreuse, Benedictine and vermouth. Young stems can be cooked like asparagus and eaten, added to pork and fish dishes or used in jam making. It has a range of medicinal uses. When in flower, angelica is highly attractive to beneficial insects and bees. The leaves and stems add fragrance to pot pourri. Grow it in partial shade in a well-drained, fertile soil. It germinates best between 10 - 21°C soil temperature; it is slow to germinate, taking up to 30 days; it also has a low germination percentage. A cold stratification treatment helps germination. Do this by sowing the seed into a seed tray and then placing the seed tray into a plastic bag and putting the whole lot into the fridge for 4 weeks. In cooler areas it is likely to self-sow. In temperate areas sow late spring to summer. In subtropical areas sow autumn; it grows as an annual, not a biennial in warmer climates. In tropical areas it is unlikely to do well. Space plants 1 m apart.
SA139approx. 60 seeds
Ocimum americanum, Ocimum basilicum, Ocimum citriodorum and Ocimum tenuiflorum
Basil is an annual warm season plant that does well in a range of climates. It is suitable for temperate, subtropical and tropical areas. Easy to grow, it can be sown from spring to mid-summer. Sow seed in warm conditions, the best germination soil temperature is 23 - 30°C. Germination will take 3 - 9 days. Sow into a seed-raising tray and cover seed lightly to 5 mm (¼") deep. Plant the seedlings out into a position in full sun with moderately rich, well-drained soil. Improve the soil before planting by adding compost; the pH range should be between 5.5 - 7. Space rows 30 - 45 cm apart with 20 cm between plants. The plant should be tip-pruned and the flower spikes should be removed regularly to increase bushiness. Use basil to flavour tomato dishes and to make pesto. Make extra pesto to freeze early in the season before the leaves become bitter. Always add basil at the end of the cooking time to maximise its flavour.
Basil - Sweet 'Genovese'
Aromatic annual herb to 75 cm with shiny green leaves. An essential herb in the summer garden, use in tomato dishes and to make pesto. Sow spring and summer. Suitable for temperate, subtropical and tropical areas. Days to harvest: 80.
SB125approx. 150 seeds
A pretty basil with lavender-pink flowers and violet stems. The large, dark green leaves have a strong, spicy, cinnamon fragrance. Cinnamon basil can be used in the same way as ordinary basil in pasta dishes but it is also popular in fruit salads and to flavour hot drinks.
SB320approx. 150 seeds
Basil 'Dark Opal'
'Dark Opal' is a very attractive dark purple basil with a good flavour. It grows well in a container and is ornamental. The leaves are mainly purple with 20% variegated or green; useful for adding colour to salads, garnishes and even cut flower arrangements. Days to harvest: 80
SB288approx. 150 seeds
Basil 'Greek Mini'
A pretty, compact, small-leafed basil growing into a domed shape. The vivid green, 1.5 cm leaves are very aromatic and have a robust basil flavour. Ideal for pots and borders, grows to about 30 cm in height.
SB183approx. 150 seeds
An attractive basil with an intense lemon fragrance due to the high concentration of the essential oil citral. It is an annual plant with a low spreading habit to 20 - 40 cm tall. The leaves are light green and can be used in herb teas, soups, salads and fish dishes. It is an irreplaceable ingredient in Indonesian and Thai cooking. Days to harvest: 60
SB283approx. 150 seeds
This colourful mix for the gourmet cook includes: 'Dark Opal', a purple leaf type decorative in salads; 'Lemon' and 'Lime', which are great in salad dressings and cooked with fish; 'Greek Mini'; 'Genovese' is an essential herb to flavour tomato dishes and to make pesto; 'Thai' has a strong licorice flavor and as the name suggests is used in Thai dishes. Always add basil at the end of the cooking time to maximise its flavour. Days to harvest: 77.
SB304approx. 300 seeds
Nufar has a dark green, large leaf (up to 10cm long) on strong, upright plants. It is resistant to Basil Fusarium wilt, one of the most devastating diseases for basil growers. It is very high yielding and can be harvested several times. It is hardy, vigorous and slow to bolt. It has an excellent mild flavour and strong fragrance with just a hint of anise. Days to harvest: 77. This is an F1 hybrid so is not suitable for seed saving.
SB129approx. 150 seeds
syn. Tulsi, Holy Basil, Tulasi, Kraphao
Sacred Basil is native to India and revered by Hindus; it is often planted around shrines. The long purple flowers appear late spring to early winter; the green foliage has a spicy, clove-like fragrance. The leaves are used for herbal tea and added to salads. In herbal medicine the distilled oil is used as an antibiotic and insect repellent. It is attractive to bees and beneficial insects. It does well in containers and is traditionally grown for good luck near the front door of the house. Sacred Basil is an annual in cool areas, and a short-lived perennial in frost-free areas.
SB255approx. 150 seeds
Sacred Basil plants are available seasonally.
This beautiful ornamental will give an authentic Thai flavour to meals; it has a sweet, anise-clove fragrance with a hint of mint and citrus. Leaves are green at the base of the plant and grow purple towards the pale lavender flowers. Always add basil at the end of the cooking time to maximise its flavour. Days to harvest: 80.
SB131approx. 150 seeds
Syn. Bee balm, Oswego tea
Bergamot is an aromatic, perennial herb, native to the USA which grows naturally in deciduous forests. It is grown for its pretty mauve flowers, for use in herb teas and for dried flower arrangements. It is attractive to butterflies, beneficial insects and bees. Although a member of the mint family it forms clumps rather than runs. It does best in cooler climates and will go dormant in winter. Grow it in full sun with a moist, fertile soil. In subtropical areas it will prefer light shade but may be relatively short-lived as it dislikes humidity. Sow spring; autumn in frost-free areas only.
SB335approx. 100 seeds
Bergamot plants are available seasonally.
Annual, attracts bees, leaves and pink and blue flowers are edible; accumulates potassium and silica; self-sows. Sow spring and summer; autumn in frost-free areas only. Suitable for temperate and subtropical areas.
SB342approx. 30 seeds
Borago officinalis var. 'Alba'
White borage is a rare form of the common blue borage. It is a hardy, easy-to-grow annual with hairy leaves and pretty star-shaped white flowers that appear slightly later than the blue borage. The young leaves are believed to have a cucumber-like flavour and are eaten in salads. Chopping finely reduces the hairiness. The flowers can be candied or used to decorate a salad or fruit drink. The flowers are also excellent bee forage. The plant is a dynamic accumulator of potassium and silica. It is considered a companion plant for strawberries. Sow spring and summer; autumn in frost-free areas only. Suitable for temperate and subtropical areas.
SB347approx. 30 seeds
Syn. meridian fennel, Persian cumin
Caraway is an aromatic, biennial, herbaceous herb to 60 cm, mainly grown for its seeds. It prefers cooler climates. The seeds are traditionally used in baking, soups and stews. All parts of the plant are edible, the leaves can be used in salad, the roots cooked like parsnip. The small, white flowers appear in the 2nd year and are attractive to a wide range of beneficial insects including bees. Grow it in partial shade or full sun. It requires a well drained, fertile soil with a pH 6.5 - 7. It germinates best at 21°C soil temperature. In temperate areas sow late spring to summer. In subtropical areas sow autumn. In tropical areas it is unlikely to do well. Germination is slow and erratic.
SC576approx. 100 seeds
Catnip is a perennial evergreen herb. It is a hardy, compact, bushy herb to 80cm high that is frost tolerant. The grey-green, heart-shaped leaves are downy; the flowers are pale white with pink splashes and appear in summer. It has a pungent fragrance which is highly attractive and exciting to most cats. The leaves can be dried to make stuffed toys for cats to play with. The leaves are also used as a herbal 'nightcap' tea. It is attractive to bees and butterflies. Sow spring and summer; autumn in frost-free areas only. Suitable for temperate and subtropical areas.
SC321approx. 100 seeds
Catnip plants are available seasonally.
Chamomile - English
Syn. Roman chamomile, Lawn Chamomile.
Perennial low-growing herb to 25 cm with feathery green leaves and small, sunny daisy flowers. Both leaves and flowers have a fresh, apple scent. The flowers are used to make a relaxing herb tea and as a hair rinse. Harvest the chamomile flowers when fully open, they can be used fresh or dried and stored for later use. Famous for use as a lawn but there is a lot of weeding involved. It does best in areas with cool summers. In temperate areas sow in spring and plant in full sun. In subtropical areas sow in autumn and plant in partial shade. It is likely to be short-lived in subtropical areas.
SC498approx. 100 seeds
English Chamomile plants are available seasonally.
Chamomile - German
Chamomilla recutita syn. Matricaria recutita
German chamomile has white and yellow, small, daisy flowers with a delightful apple fragrance; it is mainly used for making chamomile tea. It is hardy, drought tolerant and has a tendency to self-sow. The flowers can also be used as a hair rinse. It grows to 60 cm high with small daisy flowers. It prefers a well-drained soil in a sunny position. Sow seed in spring. Harvest the chamomile flowers when fully open, they can be used fresh or dried and stored for later use. Suitable for temperate and Mediterranean areas.
SC459approx. 100 seeds
Syn. French Parsley
Chervil is a low growing herb to 30 cm high with a mild aniseed taste; it is a close relative of parsley. It forms a rosette of sweetly scented, delicate ferny foliage and is ideal for container growing. Chervil thrives in cool conditions and does not tolerate heat; maintain soil moisture to prevent bolting. Used in egg dishes, soups, and with fish. Chervil is one of the four herbs in 'fines herbes' used in French cooking. It germinates best between 12 - 20°C soil temperature. In temperate areas sow late September, early October - December. In subtropical areas sow early spring and autumn. In tropical areas it is unlikely to do well. Germination takes 10 - 14 days, soaking the seed overnight helps to speed it up. Sow direct where it is to grow; as it dislikes being transplanted. Press the seed lightly into soil to 5 mm; it needs light to germinate. It is useful as a herb to grow in partial shade. It does best in a rich, moist, compost-enriched soil with a pH of 5.5 - 7. Try scattering the seed in a 1 m² area; the closeness of other chervil keeps the plants upright. Days to harvest: 30 - 40 days.
SC446approx. 100 seeds
Chervil is also available in larger pack sizes as a Microgreen
Mildly onion flavoured soft leaves with edible lavender pompom flowers; we won't make scrambled eggs without them! Suitable for temperate and subtropical areas. Onion Chives growing information
Onion Chives plants are available seasonally.
Syn. Chinese Chives
Flat leaf variety of chives with a garlic flavour, attractive white flowers; leaves and green flower buds used in Asian cooking. Suitable for temperate, subtropical and tropical areas. Garlic Chives growing information
SC147approx. 100 seeds
Garlic Chives plants are available seasonally.
Coriander is a frost hardy, fast growing annual to 60 cm high, with small white and mauve flowers in summer; it will self-sow readily. It likes a well-drained soil and full sun. Sow in spring; autumn in frost-free areas Sow seed direct where it is to grow, lightly cover with fine soil or compost. Thin plants to 10 cm apart. The green leaves are used in curries, salads, pesto, chutneys and salsa, the seeds are dry-roasted and used in curries, pickles and soups. The flowers attract beneficial insects including tachinid flies and bees.
The most common form of coriander grown. Sow spring, autumn in frost-free areas only. Suitable for temperate and subtropical areas (cool season only).
SC149approx. 100 seeds
Perennial with a very similar flavour to coriander but able to cope with hot, humid weather. A better choice for subtropical and tropical areas than common coriander as it also dries well and stands up to cooking.
SC307approx. 75 seeds
Mexican coriander plants are available seasonally.
Cumin - Black
Syn. kalonj, black onion seed, black sesame
Black Cumin is a pretty annual to 20 - 30 cm high with white or pale blue starry flowers. Grow it in a sunny position with well-drained soil. It is a spice used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines with a flavour reminiscent of a combination of onions, black pepper and oregano. In cooking, first toast the seeds in a hot pan and then grind well. The seeds are surprisingly nutritious, high in essential fatty acids. It can also be used as an egg replacement in vegan cooking by grinding the seeds and adding water to produce a gel. It is closely related to Love-in-a-Mist which also has edible seeds. Sow spring and summer; autumn in frost-free areas only. Suitable for temperate and subtropical areas.
SC494approx. 100 seeds
Syn. dillby; dill weed; shubit; adas manis (Indonesia); pak chee lao (Thai); thi la (Vietnam)
Annual, the leaves and seeds are used in cooking; the flowers attract a wide range of beneficial insects. Sow spring and summer, autumn. Suitable for temperate and subtropical areas.
SD100approx. 100 seeds
You can find Fennel seed here
An ornamental herb with pretty bright blue flower spikes in summer, it grows 30 - 60 cm high. It is considered an excellent bee plant, legend has it that beekeepers rubbed their hives with hyssop and other herbs to encourage bees to stay. Hyssop also attracts butterflies and beneficial insects. The flowers were used medicinally in the Middle Ages. It is believed to be a good companion plant for grapes. It is not in general use as a culinary herb but is used to flavour liqueurs, including Chartreuse and in perfumery. It is native to southern Europe and Eurasia and prefers a temperate climate with well-drained soil. It is an herbaceous perennial that is both heat and drought tolerant and it does best in full sun. Sow spring in temperate areas.
SH101approx. 100 seeds
Lemon balm is an herbaceous perennial with a delicate lemon scent. It is a non-running member of the mint family. The leaves are shiny with scalloped edges; small white flowers appear in late spring through midsummer. It attracts bees and butterflies. The fresh or dried leaves are made into a calming herb tea that is used to treat stress, indigestion and headaches. Sow seed in spring; in a cool, semi-shaded position. Suitable for temperate and subtropical areas; unlikely to do well in the tropics.
SL194approx. 100 seeds
Lemon balm plants are available seasonally.
Licorice is a perennial legume to 1.5 m tall that spreads by underground stolons; it dies back in winter. The mauve, pea-like flower spikes appear mid-summer. It prefers a well-drained soil in full sun. Licorice contains glycyrrhizin, which is 50 times sweeter than sugar. The dried roots, which are very hard and fibrous, taste sweet with a slightly bitter aftertaste. The root is used in confectionery and to sweeten medicines. Seed requires stratification.
SL123approx. 20 seeds
Licorice plants are available seasonally.
Marjoram - Sweet
Syn. Knotted marjoram
Has small greyish-green leaves with a milder flavour than close relative, oregano. It is an essential herb in Italian cooking and used in soups, salads, vinegars. It is especially good with egg, tomato and cheese dishes. It does well in a terracotta pot. Container growing is preferred in areas with cold, wet winters or humid, wet summers.
SM142approx. 100 seeds
Sweet Marjoram plants are available seasonally.
An easy to grow perennial, native to Mexico, it prefers full sun and a deep, fertile soil. It grows to 70 cm, producing a cluster of erect stems with long, narrow leaves, 4 cm long and 1 cm wide. Bright golden yellow flowers, 1 cm across, occur in clusters of up to 15 at the top of the plant in summer. The leaves have a distinct aniseed scent and flavour which is similar to French Tarragon but much stronger. Use sparingly as a substitute for French Tarragon in any recipe or make an aromatic tarragon vinegar. Suitable for tropical, subtropical and warm temperate areas. Sow spring. Mexican Tarragon growing information
SM127approx. 100 seeds
Mexican Tarragon plants are available seasonally.
Cryptotaenia japonica syn. C. canadensis
Syn. Trefoil, Japanese hornwort, Japanese parsley.
A perennial, leafy herb, 50 - 75 cm high, which has a tendency to self-sow in shaded, cool, woodland areas. It is short-lived in hot areas. The leaves are similar in appearance to flat leaf parsley and are used in a similar way. Stems can also be lightly steamed and chopped finely for use in soups and stir-fries. The flavour is reminiscent of celery mixed with a bit of parsley and coriander. Suitable for tropical, subtropical and temperate areas. In temperate areas sow the seeds in spring when the soil is 20 - 25°C. In subtropical areas sow March - May. In tropical areas sow April - June. Days to Harvest: 50.
SM123approx. 30 seeds
Parsley is a staple herb, to 30 cm high. It can be planted as a productive, attractive edge to garden beds. It will also grow well in containers. It is the richest in iron of any vegetable. In cooler, temperate area it is biannual. In subtropical and tropical areas it rarely survives the wet season. It germinates best between 12 - 25°C soil temperature. In temperate areas sow late September, early October - December. In subtropical areas sow early spring and autumn. In tropical areas sow April - August. Germination is slow, taking 3 - 6 weeks, soaking the seed overnight helps to speed it up. Days to harvest: 70 - 75 days; always pull the whole leaf away from the base and don't leave a leaf stub.
Parsley 'Triple Curl'
An old familiar parsley variety that is also the most popular. It has very attractive dark green, highly curled leaves in a rosette.
SP100approx. 100 seeds
Parsley 'Giant of Italy'
This is a vigorous, aromatic plant with flat, deep green, shiny leaves. It has a mellow, sweet flavour, rich taste and is hardy and easy to grow. It is suitable for temperate, subtropical and tropical (in the dry season) areas.
SP102approx. 100 seeds
Mentha x piperita
Peppermint is prone to cross-pollination so when growing it from seed, there is likely to be some variation in the plants. It is a herbaceous perennial, growing to 60 - 100 cm in height; cut the plants back to the ground after flowering. It is mainly used for herb tea, the closely related spearmint has a milder taste and is used in the traditional mint sauce. To harvest and dry for tea, cut the stems before flowering begins and hang the bunches in a cool, dry place. In small gardens always grow mint in a large container, to avoid it taking over. Sow the seeds in spring when the soil is 21 - 25°C. It will grow in full sun or semi-shade, in temperate, subtropical and tropical areas. Peppermint propagates easily from cuttings.
SP219approx. 75 seeds
Peppermint plants are available seasonally.
Sage is difficult to grow in a garden bed in hot, humid areas but it will do reasonably well on a deck or verandah under a roof or just tucked under the eaves. This is a good way to grow any of the Mediterranean herbs such as rosemary or thyme, which otherwise can be short-lived in the subtropics.
Sow seed immediately, sage seed does not store well and is slow to germinate.
Sage - Common
Common sage is the main type used for cooking. The grey-green leaves and blue-purple flowers are very pretty. It is a short-lived perennial herb to 50 cm high with an upright, shrubby growth habit. It is frost hardy and drought tolerant. The leaves can be used fresh or dried in a range of savoury dishes, particularly as a bouquet garni, with cheese or duck dishes and as a herb tea. To dry, cut small bunches and hang upside down in a warm, dark, dry place. It makes an attractive cottage garden plant. This herb is known to be difficult to germinate with a low germination percentage. Germination will be improved by soaking the seed at 30°C for 12 hours before sowing. Then sow by pressing the seeds lightly into the seed raising mix but do not cover, as the seeds need light to germinate. Germination takes 10 to 14 days. It is suitable for temperate areas, sow Spring when the soil temperature has reached at least 25°C. If you live in a subtropical area, try growing it in a terracotta pot and moving it under the eaves during the wet season.
SS194approx. 40 seeds
Syn. Garden Burnet
Salad Burnet has a long history for both its edible leaves and its medicinal properties. It is an attractive, clumping perennial with soft, green leaves in a loose rosette. It is both drought hardy and very cold hardy. It grows to 40 cm in height before it flowers, while the flower heads can be up to 75 cm tall. The small, white flowers are attractive to butterflies. The young leaves with their cucumber-like flavour are harvested to use in salads or dressings. The leaves can also be added to soup and make a very aromatic herb vinegar. If you don't use the leaves regularly then cut back the whole plant from time to time to encourage tender new growth. Salad Burnet prefers a slightly alkaline soil so add a little lime. It will do best in a sunny position but will tolerate some shade and needs plenty of water in hot weather for the leaves to stay tender. It will grow all year around. Sow spring in temperate areas, in subtropical areas sow spring or autumn. It germinates best between 10 - 21°C soil temperature and it is a bit slow to germinate, taking up to 21 days. Suitable for temperate and subtropical areas; unlikely to do well in the tropics.
SS290approx. 30 seeds
Salad Burnet plants are available seasonally.
Syn. Sweet Leaf
Stevia originated in South America where it was widely used as a sugar substitute. It is an herbaceous perennial growing to 1 m high. It is suitable for temperate and subtropical areas. It is easy to grow. Sow the seed in warm conditions, the best germination soil temperature is 22°C. Germination will take 7 - 14 days. Sow into seedling trays filled with moist seed raising mix. Seedlings grow slowly, so allow 7 to 8 weeks from seed to transplanting. Plant the seedlings out into a position in full sun with a fertile, well-drained soil. Improve the soil before planting by adding compost; the pH range should be between 5 - 7.5. Space plants 30 cm apart. The plant should be tip-pruned regularly to increase bushiness. Harvest leafy stems before flowering occurs in late summer and dry upside down in bunches. Stevioside, the chemical which is extracted from the leaves of the plant, is said to be 300 times sweeter than sugar but contains no calories. The leaves can be dried and used in cooking or made into a syrup. Stevia growing information
SS224approx. 25 seeds
Stevia 'Candy' plants are available seasonally.
Thyme - Common
Common thyme is the main type used for cooking. It is a perennial herb to 30 cm high with a semi-upright growth habit. The pale pink flowers appear in spring and summer. The leaves can be used fresh or dried in a wide range of savoury dishes. To dry, cut small bunches and hang upside down in a warm, dark, dry place. Once fully dry, rub the leaves off the stems and store in an airtight jar. It makes an attractive edging plant and can be grown in rockeries. Suitable for temperate areas, sow spring after all danger of frost has passed.
ST160approx. 100 seeds
Syn. Bean herb, Mountain savory.
Winter savory is an easy to grow, low growing, perennial herb with small white flowers. It is very similar in appearance to thyme but with a spicier, peppery flavour. It is used to make vinegars, added to stuffings, potato salads, soups and stews. Savory is popular for people on low salt diets for its ability to season a dish without the need for salt and pepper. This is another reason why it is added to dried beans, as adding salt during cooking will toughens the skins making the beans hard to soften. It does well in a terracotta pot. Container growing is preferred in areas with cold, wet winters or very humid areas. Sow spring; autumn in frost-free areas only. Suitable for temperate and subtropical areas.
SW149approx. 100 seeds
Winter Savory plants are available seasonally.
Yarrow - White
Syn. gordaldo, sanguinary, milfoil, plumajillo
Yarrow is a hardy, medicinal, perennial herb used since ancient times. Yarrow leaves combined with peppermint and elderflower is a traditional tea used for colds and flu. The fern-like leaves are arranged in a rosette with ornamental flattened white flowerheads appearing in early summer. The flowers attract bees, butterflies and beneficial insects. The low growing, spreading habit makes it useful as a groundcover. The young shoots can be picked for salad, as they have a slight peppery taste. It can be used as a feed for livestock. The flowers can be used in flower arrangements, either fresh or dried. Handfuls of yarrow are believed to speed up the decomposition of the compost heap and to add soil nutrients such as copper, nitrates, phosphates and potash to the compost. It is also used in biodynamic preparations. The plants spread to form clumps and can become weedy so choose its position carefully. Plants prefer a sunny open position in a well-drained soil but will tolerate light shade. The seeds germinate between 18 - 22°C soil temperature; sow spring in temperate areas; spring or autumn in subtropical areas. Days to bloom: 120 - 130 days
SY100approx. 30 seeds
Yarrow plants are available seasonally.
Syn. Syrian oregano, za'atar, Biblical hyssop, wild marjoram
Zaatar is a perennial herb, a relative of oregano, native to the Mediterranean. The attractive greyish-green leaves have a spicy smell and flavour, a combination of sweet marjoram, thyme and oregano. It can be used to flavour hummus, dips and soups. Harvest stems when they reach 6-10 cm long. The plants have a semi-upright habit to 40 cm high. It will grow well in a container. It prefers a well-drained, slightly alkaline soil in a sunny position and will tolerate poorer soils. Sow in spring.
SZ109approx. 100 seeds
Egyptian Spinach also known as Molokhia is available as seed.
Green Harvest specialises in seeds which are:
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