Tarragon -- My success after 3 years of failure

dancinglemons(7B VA)August 7, 2013

Hello all,

I've posted on this forum before about problems with French Tarragon. I just could not get it to grow. It kept getting brown and crispy. Too much water, too much sun, not enough water, not enough sun and on and on and on. Well this spring I purchased 2 very healthy Tarragon plants from a reputable herb farm and set out to kill them again. My research told me that French Tarragon has a really finicky root growth pattern with roots growing every-which-way.

I plant almost exclusively in containers and here is what I did.

I used a 20 gallon container with lots of drainage holes. I put a 3 pound bag of medium river rocks in the bottom to prevent the roots from sitting in wet soil. Then made a mix of pine bark fines, ProMix potting mix and PermaTill (tiny, tiny rocks) for my growing medium. Just to be on the safe side I did a soil drench of Actinovate. It has been 2 months and my Tarragon is healthy and growing nicely. The proof will be in the spring of 2014 - if the plant comes back.

I just wanted to thank everyone here who gave me advice over the years.

Cheers,
DL

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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Tarragon is very difficult herb to grow successfully. Mine from last year, although overwintered but did not regrow well at all. I have over wintered them in years past . But again, never came back vigorously. I bought and planted 2 more this year. So far are doing real well.

One thing I have found out that they like cool, some sun, lots of water, some fertilizer. ...BUT they need a WELL DRAINING soil.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 1:11PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Tarragon is very difficult herb to grow successfully. Mine from last year, although overwintered but did not regrow well at all. I have over wintered them in years past . But again, never came back vigorously. I bought and planted 2 more this year. So far are doing real well.

One thing I have found out that they like cool, some sun, lots of water, some fertilizer. ...BUT they need a WELL DRAINING soil.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 1:12PM
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dancinglemons(7B VA)

seysonn ,

You are so right about the well draining soil. That is why I made a special mix for this year. Thanks for mentioning about the cool with some sun -- I forgot to put that in.

Cheers,
DL

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 3:54AM
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chervil2(z5 MA)

I have lost many French Tarragon plants over the years. Usually, they do not survive overwintering. I would love to grow this plant every year, but can not find it at my local nurseries.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 8:37PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I overwintered them in North GA, where winter lows dropped to about 20F. It was summer heat that killed them although I had them in a mostly shaded location.
Here at the PNW, they are much happier.

This post was edited by seysonn on Tue, Aug 27, 13 at 6:09

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 1:13AM
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david883(5/6)

I tried french tarragon in a pot a few years back.... died within weeks. Last year I couldn't find French tarragon but the nursery did have Texas Tarragon. I thought I'd try my hand at that. Last year was my first year in my house and I planted the tarragon, and other herbs, in tipped-over file cabinets in the yard. I thought maybe with a little more room for the roots to spread it would help. Forget about it. This year I bought French again. I almost didn't - I don't use tarragon that much and, while I do like it, its one I could do without in the garden. Well what do you know, it grew like crazy and has been very happy all season long. I truly think the reason is because it has been so cool all summer here. Somewhat humid as we've had a lot of rain but relatively cool (and personally, as someone who can't stand heat or humidity, I don't think the humidity has been that bad either).
I had mint last year in partial shade that wilted and died within a week or two. It was horribly hot last year - I mean I'd walk outside at 5am to water things before I left for work and was sweating by the time I was done! This year, up until we had a week in the 90s a few weeks ago, the mint has done fine.

If it gets hot next year I think I'll try putting the tarragon in a shady place and see how it does. Thanks for the post DL. Its a relief to hear I'm not the only one with FT troubles and even more of a relief to hear you've found a trick to keep it going!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 7:15AM
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