Maturation of Herbs, and Size of Plants Shipped
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Sister Mary Brigid
Posted on: February 12, 2002

Hello! My name is Sister Mary Brigid. I am trying to put together an order, and am curious about something. The herb plants that require a long time to mature into something useful...how mature are they when you ship them? I know the question is rather awkward, but hopefully you know what I am asking. Please reply as soon as possible. We are trying to start an herb garden at the Order house, and I am in charge of obtaining herbs the best way (seed or plant), but at the lowest prices! Thank you for your assistance.

Maturation times vary. Herbs encompass annuals, biennials, perennials, shrubs, trees, and even grasses and weeds – virtually the entire range of plant forms. Some will mature from the plants we ship within a 2-3 months, others will take several years to reach a harvestable size, and still others will take many years before they are useable.

Speaking of the common culinary herbs such as basil, english thyme, oregano, garden sage, chives, these will all reach harvestable size in the first season of growth – you will get a harvest either in late summer or certainly by the early fall. Even the tender perennials rosemary, lemon verbena, and stevia will produce a harvest by the end of the season, although they will not reach their full sizes the first season (and they will have to be brought indoors in most temperate areas).

Many medicinal, tea, and aromatic herbs are the same, but they again there are many of these that require two or more seasons to reach maturity and harvestable size.

It is impossible to generalize, but a rough guideline is that root herbs (herbs grown for their roots) need 2-3 years. Herbs that are grown for their flowers, seeds or fruits need 2-3 years unless they are annual. Most herbs grown for their leaves can be harvested the first year; but one of the few exceptions would be bay laurel which requires 2-3 years to reach harvestable size.

All of our potted herbs are shipped in 2-1/2" square pots. Unless they are prostrate in their growth habit, they usually stand between 4-6 inches tall excluding the pot. Plug packs are smaller; you can add about 2-4 weeks to the times to reach harvestable size, but all of the varieties we offer in plug packs will reach harvestable size in the first season, given, of course, proper care.

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