Herbs for the Tropics
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Kipp Pickerill
Posted on: August 17, 1998

I recently received your catalogue. I thoroughly enjoyed looking through it. For quite some time I have been planning and researching a specific restaurant concept. Put simple the concept is growing, cultivating, harvesting, preparing, cooking, and composting on one site. My goal is to cultivate vegetables and herbs uncommon to most, and purchase or produce the more common and inexpensive ones. The project is going to require a large amount of vegetation.

Some of the problems or information that I have had trouble acquiring include yields per plant/area and cultivation and harvest times. I plan to build in the tropical region of South Florida.

If you could give any advice it would be greatly appreciated.

Your first problem is going to be to find out which herbs do well in the tropics. We have had feedback from a couple of customers about the success or lack of it of some herbs not rated to be "hardy" in the tropics, but this generally does not include the uncommon herbs.

To get a feel for yields, I would suggest that you consult the book: "Culinary Herbs" by Ernest Small, offered in Richters catalogue under catalogue #B2375.

The herbs listed as tender perennials in our catalogue will generally do fine in the tropics. Most herbs require good drainage. If the plant is an exception, it is noted in parenthesis in the list given below. The list of common names -in order of latin names:

Plants that will NOT do well in the tropics: All shallots, cumin, sunflower, sesame.

Plants that probably will do well in the tropics: Indian licorice, yellow, red &white yarrow, gotu kola(moist to wet), tea(acid soil), calamus(moist to wet), Heather Queen agastache, Champagne agastache, leek(slow in tropics), chives, aloe, lemon verbena, vegetable & grain amaranth, love-lies-bleeding, pimpernel, yerba mansa, dills, vanilla grass, celeriac, burdock & gobo, horseradish, southernwood, sweet wormwood, mugwort, pleurisy root, orach, neem, mountain ebony, leopard lily, English daisy, showy calamint, Nepitella, Calendula, Chili peppers, heartseed, Chinese senna, Madagascar periwinkle, cockscomb, cornflower, carob, night jessamine, lambs quarters, epazote, huizontle, quinoa, ox-eye daisy, wild chicory, camphor tree, butterfly pea, coffee, broadleaf thyme, menthol plant, poison hemlock, coreopsis, coriander, kenikir, costus, pig’s ears, African cucumber, spagetti squash, turmeric, lemongrass, East Indian lemongrass, palmarosa(dry), citronella grass(dry), cardoon, queen Anne’s lace, Grecian foxglove, cinnamon yam, echinacea, eclipta, Mexican coriander, California poppy, eucalyptus, joe pye weed, pineapple guava, bo-tree, fennels, gardenia, chinese licorice(moist), cotton, silver licorice, acrolinium, sweet rocket, roselle, vap ca(moist to wet), camelion vap ca(moist to wet), iboza, yerba mate, water spinach(moist to wet), orris root, jasmine, bay laurel, henna, lion’s ear, curled cress, manuka, lespedeza, Chinese privet, garden statice, flax, Mexican oregano, luffa, chinaberry, meliot, water mint(moist to wet), emperor’s mint, Roman mint, Jamaican mint, balsam pear, bergamots(moist), mucuna, myrtles, nigella, basils, evening primrose, prickly pear, sweet marjoram, Syrian oregano, Cretian oregano, Italian oregano, Turkestan oregano, sea onion, jicama, corn poppy, opium poppy, passion fruit, passion flower, scented geraniums, boldo, date, pine nut, sugar pea, psyllium, Indian psyllium, patchouli(moist), waterpepper (moist to wet), Vietnamese coriander (moist to wet), french purslane, guava, kudzu, dwarf pomegranate, rauwolfia, mignonette, rosemary, Indian madder, blue sage, Peruvian sage, fruit sage, pineapple sage, cardinal sage, autumn sage, painted sage, Neapolitan santolina, green santolina, lemon savory, yerba buena, summer savory, Brazilian pepper, houseleek, dusty miller, saw palmetto, Greek mountain tea, jojoba, loveapple, tobacco nightshade, Indian nightshade, Japanese eggplant, Spanish broom, marigolds, tamarind, dandelion, tephrosia, silver germander, cat thyme, nasturtium, stinging nettle, vetiver, chast-tree, vitex, indrajao, immortelle, ginger.

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