Top 6 Perennial Herbs for Arizona Gardens

Herbs that come back every year.  Best Zone 6 and 7 herb choices.   Types of Herbs for an Edible Garden. Annual and Perennial Herbs for Your Garden. Perennial herbs in Prescott. Herb garden design ideas.  Is thyme a perennial?  Herbs for Arizona.  Best heritage Heirloom herbs.

Many herbs are perennial, meaning they can be planted once and left to grow for many years. Perennial herbs are essential to garden designs because they remain healthy and attractive through all growing seasons.  Perennials are easy to divide, allowing you to perpetuate your herbs and those of your friends.

Don't have time to view the entire article? Skim through the highlights below:

  • “Perennial” and “Permanent”  start with "P". A reminder that they return year after year 
  • Most natural herbs that grow well in Arizona gardens: 
    • Echinacea aka Cone Flower       
    • Lavender
    • Mint
    • Creeping Rosemary
    • Upright Rosemary
    • Sage
    • Thyme
  • Divide herbs by taking cuttings from a healthy clump and plant in a new location

#1 Echinacea is useful not only for healing, but also as a beautiful accent in any style of garden. Echinacea (also known as the purple coneflower) grows in virtually any garden situation. From moist, fertile soil, to dry and arid conditions, echinacea has a variety that will thrive in your garden and spread through gardens like wildflowers.

#2 Lavender is used for everything, from cooking to healing. Try growing this elegant herb alongside your best flowers. From shades of purple and blue to white, lavender is an exceptionally beautiful perennial herb. Be sure to plant lavender with ample growing space. You will be shocked at how large the plants can develop after a few years.

Another trick with lavender is to grow it in a container, glazed ceramic or porous. Then, as the weather becomes colder, you can move your container to a protected area for the winter. Cold and damp are sure killers of lavenders. Wet roots are the biggest concern, so give your plants lots of potting soil and plenty of drainage.

#3 Mint is invasive, but it is also an essential addition to any hard-to-cultivate garden. It will spread anywhere you allow it and many places you don't! Try to plant your mint in a bucket that is buried. This should keep this hardy herb container in one spot.

Mint is a beautifully scented plant. Try growing a variety of mints if you're really interested in using it for a  gently refreshing herbal tea. Remember that mint varieties mingle very easily, so allow plenty of space between each plant. This helps ensure that the bees and butterflies don't cross-pollinate the plants. Some gardeners choose to plant mint beds out of sight of one another, which seems to be an effective way to keep them pure.

#4 Rosemary is the toughest of all herbs for the sunniest locations in a landscape, but be careful which variety you plant, as not all are winter hardy at high altitude. There are two basic types of Rosemary, upright and the creeping groundcover.

Upright Rosemary grows into an evergreen bush about hip high.  Blue flowers cover this rounded bush in March just as bees start to forage in the native landscape.  Best mountain hardy varieties areTuscan, Barbeque, and Roman Beauty. 

Groundcover, or Creeping Rosemary, has the same aromatic flavors as its bushy cousin but lies much closer to the ground.  Perfect for creeping between boulders, flowing from raised garden beds, and softening a rock lawn.   Best mountain hardy varieties are Arp, Huntington Carpet, and Blue Ice Bog.  

#5 Sage is a wonderfully versatile herb in the garden. It comes in many varieties of color and growth habits. Try using it as a filler around other tall garden plants. Sage will grow for many years, returning after even the harshest winters.

After about five years or so, it is unavoidable that sage can become rangy and lose its vitality. If you have more than one sage plant, you can replace your woody plant with another sage from your own landscape, or plant a new flavor to try something different.  We have nearly 10 varieties at the garden center: from pineapple sage to stunning tricolor variegated specimens, so have fun with sage. 

#6 Thyme is one of the herbs that will grow in any garden. It's perfect for gardeners who aren't particularly hands-on, because the less fussing with thyme the healthier it becomes. This herb has a lot of forms in both upright and trailing habits, so there's one to fit almost any situation and design.

Use thyme as a filler between stones in a walkway, or choose a lawn created of nothing but thyme.  It offers a graceful scent when stepped on and can handle moderate traffic and dog spotting. Thyme grows well in areas that are too dry andor for many other herbs, including mint.

Until next issue, I'll be helping local gardeners put together stunning herbal choices here at Watters Garden Center. 

Ken Lain can be found throughout the week at Watters Garden Center, 1815 W. Iron Springs Rd in Prescott, or contacted through his web site at WattersGardenCenter.com or  FB.com/WattersGardenCenter

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Gardening Classes

If you can’t attend these classes, watch the Livestream on Facebook each Saturday morning. Like our Page to be notified when we go Live.

June – July Summer Garden Classes

June 14 @ 3:30 pm - Gardening for Newcomers Learn all the mountain secrets to local garden success.  This is an information packed class guaranteed to increase garden blooms and fruit this year.  Learn about growing zones, frost dates, soils and more; you'll know exactly what to do in the gardens after this class.

June 22 @ 9:30 am - Blooms that Impress.  June is the ideal month to plant perennials in the yard. Students learn how to design seasonally for a continual 4-season bloom in the garden. Notable mentions will be the native and heat-loving flowers that bloom without any care at all. All local & All Free.

June 28 @ 3:30 pm – Animal Resistant Plants - What's Eatin' Your Garden?

Yes, there are plants that actually taste bad to the critters, but still, look gorgeous in the garden! This class is crucial for gardeners trying to enjoy our beautiful outdoor environment and abundant wildlife, but not have their landscape become lunch. Learn which plants deer, javelina, and rabbits usually shy away from, and where they will best grow in your garden. 

July 6 @ 9:30 am - Containers that Bloom like Crazy!  The right container with the right plants can bring a space in the landscape from so-so to stunning. Watters Garden Center has been creating container designs for decades.  Our 3-step program puts the floral style back into your garden.  The class is free to onlookers, but the first 12 students to sign up can create their own design with professional guidance for a $35 fee (pots provided).  

July 12 @ 3:30 pm - Juicier Fruits, Grapes & Berries. Central Yavapai county is famous for our wine grapes but you can grow so much more.  We will have experts on hand that can share the best-producing raspberries, a blackberry bush that produces HUGE berries, more table grapes, gooseberries, currants, elderberries and more. Join in the garden harvest for big, juicy fruiting plants.  

July 20 @ 9:30 am - Easy Grow Roses – There are so many different roses to choose from--more than your grandmother ever knew about!  Learn the difference between hybrid tea, floribunda, shrub, carpet and so much more.  Talking points include the best rose varieties, care, and placement for non-stop blooms.  Free to local gardeners that want more fragrance & color in the yard.

July 27 @ 9:30 am - Perennial Flowers with Impressive Blooms  July rains make this the ideal month to plant perennials in the garden.  Students learn how to design for a continual four-season bloom.  Notable mentions will be our local native bloomers.

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Ken Lain, the Mountain Gardener

Ken Lain is attracted to sunshine, beauty, happiness, success and health through gardening, and wishes to point the way to others. Throughout the week Ken can be found at Watters Garden Center located at 1815 W. Iron Springs Rd, Prescott, or contacted through his web site at www.wattersgardencenter.com

Website: www.wattersgardencenter.com