Herbs for Hot California Summers
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Diana Dorrier (Dee Dee)
Posted on: December 28, 2000

I live in Blythe, California, where the weather is very hot in the summer, at a temp of approximately 120*F during the day and not below 95*F at night. I want to plant herbs in an area on the South/West side of my house, however, I am afraid that they will not make it through the summer. What kind of herbs would grow in this climate and when is the best time to plant them? Or is it just hopeless?

It is true that many herbs cannot stand that kind of heat. You can try two approaches. One is to look for herbs that are rated to grow in zones 10 and 11 and what we call "tropical". Check our website at http://www.richters.com for zone information. Go to the "Richters InfoCentre" area and then to the herb growing infobase. For any herb that you are interested in you can check for hardiness in that area.

The second approach is to grow your herbs as annuals. In northern areas we do that a lot: growing herbs that are perennial in warmer areas as annuals in our area. Similarly, for herbs that won’t survive the summer heat, you could grow them over the fall, winter and spring seasons as an annual, allowing them to expire during the summer. You would plant these in, say, October or November, and harvest in February, March or April.

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