cool weather herbs, warm weather herbs

kawaiineko_gardener(5a)April 1, 2009

A note to all who post on this thread. I live in a southern state, Florida. So as a result, anything that is planted is best done in the winter months and spring (basically our planting season is about September-April; our off season is the summer months......June, July, and August)

I know that with vegetables, some prefer and need cool weather to grow and thrive, and some prefer and need hot weather to grow and thrive.

I believe the same principles apply when it comes to herb gardening, despite the fact that I've never done herb gardening before.

I can't grow anything now because it's too late to plant anything due to where I live. Any information acquired from this thread is for future reference.

Below is a list of herbs I would eventually like to grow. Essentially they're all culinary herbs.






lemon grass







I managed to find a website that lists these herbs as herbs that prefer cool weather:









Is this an accurate list?

If such is the case then I'm assuming via process of elimination that these herbs prefer warm or hot weather


*Lemon grass


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Forget 'weather' and instead think 'climate'. All herbs originated from Somewhere, and once you know where Somewhere is, you can find out what the prevailing climate is Somewhere. Hence, you can find out just what conditions each herb prefers, and you can do your best to emulate those conditions.

For example, from your list:
Lemongrass is native mainly to South Asia. Climate in South Asia is tropical or nearly so. Tropical climate means hot and humid all year round, with frequent (often daily) heavy rain. Rain runs off quickly except in monsoonal seasons where flooding can occur.

From that, you can deduce the following: lemongrass likes the heat - that means HEAT. It likes a lot of water, but prefers that water to drain away quickly.

You can also deduce that: it doesn't take kindly to frost, and may not survive a severe winter. It may need to be brought indoors if you want to keep it alive, but it must have plenty of water.

From the fact that it's called lemonGRASS, you can deduce that it likes plenty of sunlight, and that it can be cut down heavily and still grow. Cut, grow, cut, grow.

You can research the rest of the herbs on your list in the same way to learn what is likely to do well where you live, and what won't without special care. Obviously, outside its preferred climate, a plant won't behave it quite the same way as 'at home'. It could grow more slowly; it might die extremes of weather (too hot or too cold); its growth might be stunted. Etc.

Take a look, while you're researching, at the temperatures the plant prefers to germinate from seed. That will tell you a lot, too. If it lives at high altitudes, it's probably accustomed to cooler temps, and its seeds might like refrigerating or freezing (stratifying) before they'll germinate.

So - botany and geography can't really be separated, when it comes to plants!

I live in the subtropics, so most plant will grow here all year round, and do very well, But I can't grow things like French Tarragon or Meadowsweet, and coriander is a winter-only crop, because even in shade the temperatures here are just too hot for them.

The link below is a good starting point for finding out the native habitat of a lot of herbs.

The URL below is a good site for learning about the kinds of conditions herbs require (including in many cases, temperatures).

Here is a link that might be useful: herbs and spices

    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 3:00AM
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some of the herbs in your COOL WEATHER list can grow well in warm/hot weather as well. So they are not COOL CROP per se but can tolerate cold freezing temperatures and stay alive.Those are:
sage, thyme, rosemary,winter savory, lavende, chives, parsley.
real COOL CROPS are cabage family, lettus, mustard greens...Of course these are not HERBS.

WARM weather loving herbs/veggies are annual where you have winters and subfreezing temperatures. Once established, they can thrive in cool weather as well. I know BASIL is like that but the very first frost will kill it. Summer savory and dill are other two that I know off.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 6:02AM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Besides finding the hardiness zone rating (how cold a plant can survive), you can find information on the heat zones a plant can also take. I included a link to the AHS heat zone map below so you can look up your location. With some googling around, you'll find the heat zones for the perennial plants you are interested in. That will help to give you an idea of how well the plant may do.

In the north (US) we use microclimates in our yards or maybe do covering and mulching to "cheat" and grow a plant that wouldn't normally survive the winter cold. There may be tricks that southern or Floridian gardeners can share to help you with the conditions of your location. There are regional and state forums here on GardenWeb which may help you make those connections. Or check out some of your local garden clubs or horticultural education centers to meet other gardeners in your location.


Here is a link that might be useful: AHS Heat Zone Map

    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 9:51AM
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Thank you to all who have given advice and suggestions. Appreciate it. Also appreciate links given.

This is the information I've managed to acquire about which herbs like cool weather and which prefer warm weather. I've acquired this information via doing MANY search engine searches.

Please inform me of how accurate this info is.

According to what I found......

Cilantro prefers full sun, but grows best in cool weather
Dill also prefers full sun, but grows best in cool weather
Parsley prefers full sun, but likes cool weather too

Chives I'm guessing like cool weather, cause they're a
member of the allium (onion family) and everything in the onion family (onion, shallots, scallions, etc.) like cool weather

As per warm weather herbs......

Basil likes full sun and warm weather
Oregano likes full sun and warm weather
Lemongrass likes full sun and warm weather

When I found info on growing herbs, they didn't specify the exact temperature ranges the above listed herbs preferred. They merely specified whether they like cool weather or warm weather.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 4:43PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Google and various websites tell me that:

Chives: Heat Zone 3 - 7
Basil: Heat Zone 1 - 11
Oregano: Heat Zone 2 - 10
Lemongrass: Heat Zone 4 - 12
Cilantro: Heat Zone 1 - 10
Dill: Heat Zone 1 - 12
Parsley: Heat Zone 1 - 9

And the AHS Heat Zone map tells me that Florida ranges from 8 to 12. Regular chives, it seems, would fry any place in Florida. But the rest may be possible depending upon your location, where you locate them and surely the time of year you are trying to grow them in.

Here's a great chance to meet and talk to your neighbors. See what they do - get some gardening tips & tricks from them. Gardeners LOVE to share advice! :)


    Bookmark   April 3, 2009 at 3:10PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I live in zone 8b and most of my herbs come and go as they please and some seem to stick around all the time. I give them haircuts when they start looking rangy. many are self seeders. I haven't planted basel in years. Basel grows in the garden path. and thai basel grows through the heat of a texas summer. it just is. Chives come bloom disappear come bloom disapear.It is on it's own. I use it when it is around and morn it when it is not. They are back. I have them in parted shade and they grow in the summer time too. die back inJuly but then reappear and bloom again in late september alongside oxblood lillies. Time grows all year as long as I water it through the heat of the summer. I killed a bunch of thyme in last years drought. cilantro is a cool weather plant but I have had it in my garden well into June by pinching down the flowers. My cilantro can get waist high when I was gardening at the community garden. it also self seeded and came when it was ready. I never had a problem with it dying out when clipped. I did let it get going good before I pinched it. This year we had oregano and sage all year. The cretan oregano is even more cold hardy than the italian. Can you tell that I am a lax gardener? My garden is a mess.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2009 at 12:47AM
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I have just found out that it is not just the day time temperature for thing that prefer cooler climate.
Humidity and night time temperature are also factors.

If it get real hot during the day but cools of considerable at night, most plant can tolerate that and do well. But places like Florida, Georgia, when it get hot in the summer, it is also very humid and it does not cool off at night. That is why onions, cilantro, parsley, .. cannot cope with it. I was told by an Idahoan web friend that in Boise, ID it sometime gets to 105F. But potatoes don't mind it much because it cools off at night and the humidit is very low. So in fact it is not just the air temperature that matters but also soil temperature. Plants life line lies in the soil. root system is just as much critical, if not more than what is abouve the ground.

You can do things to help keep soil temperature relatively cool by, providing shade and mulching with things that act like insulation. I would thik that straw (wheat, oats, pine) are better mulcl than other stuff like wood chips.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2009 at 9:36AM
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wantonamara-yeah-i garden like that too ; )

Kawaiineko-try Culantro or Papalo as a warm weather Cilantro substitute. There is a marigold-Tagetes lucida-that can be substitued for cool weather loving Tarragon. i'm just trying vietnamese mint for the first time and expect it to do well for me. i bet you could even plant these herbs now and get them to grow if you want . i plant things out of season all the time and can usually get them to grow without too much special attention. eventually they find their own rhythms.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 8:46PM
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louiseb(SW Fla z10)

I love herbs, and being in zone 10 does have its challenges. I have grown chives very successfully down here; along with parsley, thyme, rosemary (about 3 foot tall) and lots of other herbs too. Basil and dill do well for me - I have about 8 basil plants growing now that are producing well. Oregano, catnip, lemongrass, summer savory have all been a part of my herb garden the past few years. Creating microclimates is definitely the best way to stretch the "boundaries" of growing things that we are often told "won't grow where you are".

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 11:47PM
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