Herbs are the essential ingredients for flavor in many dishes. They are used to make teas and dried for sachets and potpourris. Some herbs are used to create soaps, candles and perfumes. Those living in North Carolina can propagate and harvest many types of herbs. Because many herbs require at least 6 hours of sunlight per day, North Carolina is an ideal growing environment for these beauties.
This annual herb grows well in the full sun climate of North Carolina. Its bright green foliage grows up to 24 inches tall and 12 inches wide. Its upright stems are billowing in shape and require full sun to thrive. Basil loves to be pinched back during the summer growing season. This helps the herb produce new, fresh shoots. Basil is particularly delicious in soups, pasta and salads.
Thyme is a hardy perennial that thrives in North Carolina. Its spreading growth and mat forming structure looks striking around flower beds and rock walls. Thyme grows up to 8 inches in height and 12 inches wide. Its creeping foliage is bright green and attracts bumblebees. Thyme is a favorite herb for planting in the front of containers because of it draping effect. It is also grown in between stepping-stones along a garden path for contrast and definition. Thyme is used to flavor soups and sauces and is also used in making potpourri.
This mound forming perennial has a slow growth pattern but lasts many seasons. Its velvety foliage is silvery-green and very aromatic. Sage grows up to 18 inches tall and 12 inches wide. The oval to oblong, wrinkled leaves range from 2 to 3 inches long with small hairs on the underneath side of the leaf. Beginning in late spring, sage produces spike-like flowers that range in color from blue and violet to red, pink and white. Sage also attracts hummingbirds and butterflies and is often added to stuffing for flavor.
A popular herb to grow in North Carolina is rosemary. This perennial plant grows taller than most herbs, up to 6 feet in height, and remains its vibrant green all season long. Rosemary grows in upright mounds that look like small bushes. Planted along the front walkway or flower bed, rosemary creates a stunning focal point to the landscape. Rosemary requires full sun to thrive and in the fall can be heavily pruned to ensure growth the following spring. It is also drought-tolerant and can withstand the hot, arid temperatures of North Carolina. Rosemary is often used to flavor bread and stews.