Herbs for Dry Places
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: LeRoy Looser
Posted on: February 16, 2006

Wondering what Herbs would do the best in two different situations. 1) decent soil, either part shade or full sun. Will need to go as long as 6 days without water when we are not around and temperature may be a bit hot. Will receive very little care (your Anise Hyssop has been doing well as has Sweet Annie) We are in Central Minnesota (Saint Paul area), USA.

Since most culinary herbs originate from the Mediterranean coast, once they are established, they should have no problems under your conditions. Check on the zone map on our website to be sure to choose plants that will over-winter in your area. Sages, oreganos and basils might be good ones to try.

2) A bit more tricky. Poor soil, a lot of pine trees around (Probably acid) little care and little water. Location about 60 miles North of Twin Cities. This is seasonal camp ground, we would be there during weekends only May to September.

As long as you do not remove the falling pine needles, these trees are wonderful for turning poor soil into humus-rich soil. It may be slightly to very acid, depending on the type of soil the trees grow on. As long as you do heavy mulching the lack of watering will not matter once the plants are established. Improve the soil in the planting area to include lots of humus and the plants will not need watering that often in the newly water retentive soil. I presume the pine cover is sparse and does not cut out too much light? In the "News & Info" section on our web-page, go to "Richters’ Info Centre" and in there go to "Richters’ Herb Growing Info Base" and type in the herb you are interested in and it will give you how much sun it needs and therefore if it will be suitable for your shady/half shady/ or sunny pine plantation. Do test your soil to see if it is acid, and if it is choose plants that are indicated in the catalogue as needing acid conditions. The problem is that these plants such as blueberries usually need a moist soil. However many herbs tolerate acid conditions and dry soil such as basils, penstemon, broom, buckwheat, calendula, caraway, carob, castor bean, catsfoot, celery, chicory, garlic chives, sweet cicely, clary, clivers, black cohosh, coltsfoot, comfrey, coriander, cumin, dill, elecampane, fennel, foxgloves, garlics, yellow gentian, ginsengs, indigo, lambs quarters, lemongrass, licorice, luffa, marigolds, marjoram, oreganos, meliot, mints if it does not stay too dry, mugwort, mulberry, mustards, Welsh onion, palmarosa, papaya, parsley, passion fruit, patchouli, chili peppers, pokeroot, California poppy, pyrethrum, queen anne’s lace, roselle, rosemaries, safflower, sages, sassafras, senna, sesame, shallots, stevia if kept moist enough, strawberries, sunflower, tamarind, tansy, most thymes, tobacco, wintergreen, wormwood, most vegetables. Again check that the plants overwinter in your area if they are perennials.

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