How to Grow Rare Herbs


Herbs are hard enough to find in most areas because they don't ship well, and dried herbs are not nearly as effective or tasty as fresh herbs. Rare herbs are not only challenging to find for seeds but also for finding ways to use them. With a little perseverance and time, you can grow your own rare herbs and start to reap the benefits of their flavors and medicinal uses.

Step 1

Find out the USDA growing zone for the area where you live. This will help you choose from hundreds of options for herbs you want to plant in your yard (this step is less critical if you have access to a greenhouse). The National Gardening Association has a search option on their website to find herbs for your area (Resources).

Step 2

Decide if you want to grow medicinal or culinary herbs, and purchase them. Arne Herbs of England lists some of the culinary herbs not typically found fresh in grocery stores as bay, chervil, horseradish, lemon balm, lovage, sweet marjoram, savory, sorrel, so grow them in your garden for a fresh supply. Medicinal herbs can include aloe vera, comfrey, echinacea, ginkgo biloba, golden seal and milk thistle. Handle with caution--some are toxic.

Step 3

Prepare your garden bed by removing all the weeds and larger rocks and debris that might impede the growth of the plant. Turn the soil over with a garden spade to a depth of at least 6 inches. Rake the area smooth to level out the soil.

Step 4

Start with just a few herbs and add to them every year. Dig a hole about the same size as your root ball if you purchased live plants and set the plant into it so that it sits level with the ground. Push the soil in around it so there are no air pockets. Sow seeds according to the directions that come with each packet.

Step 5

Remove weeds from around your herbs regularly.

Step 6

Water your herbs when they are young and then during periods of drought if you notice they are starting to wilt. Most plants will benefit from the use of well-rotted compost added to the soil around their base, and it will help conserve moisture for the roots.

Step 7

Take cuttings of your herbs. Many herbs will get spindly and weak if they are never trimmed. When you cut off a growing tip, often two new shoots will emerge making the plant bushier.

Step 8

Adjust your herb plants within your yard as needed. Many novice gardeners make the mistake of thinking planting is permanent. This is true for trees and a few perennials, but a lot of plants benefit from being moved to more ideal locations once you get to know how they react to the surroundings, your climate and growing conditions.

Step 9

Once you get three or four established, add a few more and learn about them.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden spade
  • Work gloves
  • Hoe
  • Rake


  • Arne Herbs: Rare Plants and Herbs Nursery
  • National Gardening Association: USDA Hardiness Zone Finder
Keywords: rare herb garden, planting rare herbs, growing herbs

About this Author

Based in Maryland, Heidi Braley, currently writes for local and online media outlets. Some of Braley's articles from the last 10 years are in the "Oley Newsletter," "Connections Magazine," GardenGuides and Braley's college life included Penn State University and Villanova University with her passions centered in nutrition and botany.