Subject: Planting Time for Herbs in Texas
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Name Not Given
Posted on: February 21, 2008

My aunt wanted me to enquire about when the best time would be to plant the following herbs for her herb garden: basil, cilantro, lavender, rosemary and thyme?

P.S. We live in Fort Worth, Texas.

If you plan to use seeds to start your plants, you can either direct sow outside or start the plants in the house and plant them in their summer or permanent positions when they are big enough and the outside temperature is suitable for their growth.

The plants your aunt wishes to grow all require different germinating temperatures.

Basil should be germinated at about 80 degrees Fahrenheit (about 30C) and should not go outside until night temperatures are above 50 F(or 10C). You probably will have to grow this plant from seed as most varieties are too fragile and as a result we do not ship plantlets of most varieties. Cilantro or coriander needs cool temperatures (about 10C or 50F) to germinate and will last much longer if kept cool. It will need to be renewed with new seedlings about once every two weeks unless you decide to grow Vietnamese or Mexican coriander. For outside in your heat and dry conditions I would recommend Mexican coriander. The latter two plants are only available as potted plants from Richters.

Lavender seed needs cool temperatures to germinate and English-type lavenders often need a bit of freezing to give good germination.

Rosemary seed germinates best at about 65F (or 18C). The Arp variety or any other named variety is only available as cutting propagated plants.

Thyme is only available as seed for a few varieties but those are easy to grow. Indoor starting is advisable, because seedlings start out very small and at first are slow growing. Very shallow sowing and keeping the seedbed at room temperature, results in speedy germination.

If you plan to purchase started plants for most of your plants, try to order as soon as possible and we will try to ship after your last frost date to allow you to get them into the soil at the optimum time. However we cannot ship plants while temperatures at our end are bitterly cold, since the plants might freeze in transit. If they arrive after your summer heat has started, make sure you shade them for at least two weeks and keep them amply watered during dry periods.

Fort Worth and Dallas, Texas are in zone 7, which means that a lot of lavenders, Arp rosemary and most thymes will over-winter just fine outside once they are established. Make sure you mulch the soil so that the roots don’t dry out too fast and so that the temperature of the soil remains more even.

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