Please help with my BIG question

marymargaret21November 22, 2009

How much sun do these herbs like (the sun loving ones like?!)

I live in N. MS. I know from long experience that gardening books are nearly useless (with a few exceptions), when it comes to telling me how much SUN a plant wants! The exceptions would be sunflowers, black eyed susans, etc. They will take any amount of summer south or west sun. BUT not much else will!

I get the feeling all of these sun loving herbs want SOME protection from the mighty Mississippi summer sun.

Am I right? This is my main worry!!! Would love your help on this one. When planting something for the first time this is always my big question!

Thanks, take care, MaryMargaret

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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Which herbs are you talking about specifically? Your list didn't seem to make it with your post.

Just so you know, there is a heat zone map of the US available from the American Horticultural Society here. You can look up via google the heat zone for some of the plants you are interested in and see how they compare to your own heat zone.


    Bookmark   November 22, 2009 at 3:35PM
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Anise hyssop, basil, borage, caraway, chamomile, chives, cilantro, clary, comfrey dill, fennel, feverfew, lavender??, marjoram oregano rosemary rue sage tarragon thyme wormwood
Which of these (or all of them?) would prefer the full south sun garden and which would prefer the east (partial shade to full sun garden).

Full south sun means just that. A good bit more shade in the East but in most places sunnier more than shady.

Where I put these herbs will make the difference between success and failure. Or rather happy plants and struggling ones.

Please, please help me with this one. I just don't know and a gardening book will not help me.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2009 at 4:18PM
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All of those except the chamomile and coriander (cilantro) can take quite fierce full sun. The borage may wilt a bit in the worst of the afternoons, but will cope with plenty of water.

Chamomile can't take the heat or the sun in a hot climate.

I regard coriander as a waste of time and effort in a hot climate. It bolts to seed before you can blink. Best to regard it as a winter crop, and replant every 2-3 weeks for a good supply of leaves. Find a shady spot for it and don't expect miracles.

Comfrey will take full sun, but in a hot climate will need plenty of water. It likes its soil constantly moist - even boggy.

We are talking MATURE plants here. All baby plants will need some hardening off before they can take the full force of the sun. You can provide some relief by placing potted plants nearby to provide shade from the worst of it, until they grow up a bit.

Remember, too, that none of these is a desert plant. They still like a regular drink - more when they're young. Just make sure you have provided excellent drainage for all of them.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2009 at 5:16PM
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7 North MS

Sounds like east garden with some shade (part to full sun) is the best place to grow herbs, not the full south sun garden. What do you think? I'll try a few of the herbs, the most sun loving ones, in the full south garden to see how they do. Plant most of them in the east garden where they will get a break from sun and heat.

I do appreciate your help, because I'm afraid the south garden is just too much sun. But I could be wrong.

I would love for you all to weigh in on this one, still unsure!!!

    Bookmark   November 22, 2009 at 5:36PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Check out this thread warm weather herbs for some thoughts on southern gardening.

There are books on southern gardening that probably would be helpful. I don't live in the south so I'm not familiar with the book titles but they've been posted here in the past. Use the search function at the bottom of the first page of this forum to search for the back posts with that info.


    Bookmark   November 22, 2009 at 11:52PM
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I appreciate the suggestion and it sounds like a good one. I do not mean to be argumentative, BUT I read southern gardening books all the time. They say "full sun" too, and full sun can be any where from 6 hours to 10 hours and that extra 4 hours of full sun the end of June, through July, and certainly August, can burn a sun loving plant to a crisp.

The biggest problem with southern gardening books is that don't deal well with the unique problems of growing plants in the South!!! If I find one that does, I'll buy it! And I don't understand why. Books are a place to start from and that's it.

I have to ask someone who has actually grown the plant I want to grow to know what to do! It matters exactly where you are trying to grow it in the South.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2009 at 8:37AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I live in the south and have for many years. I've never had problems with sun-loving plants burning to a crisp, or having any other sun-related problems in that late afternoon torrid heat. I do pick my plants wisely, however.

With some good reading under your belt, you'll soon learn that there are plants that require full sun in order to do best, but do not particularly like the heat.

Your list includes several plants that simply aren't well suited for deep south conditions, period. That is, unless you play with the timing of the planting, as Daisyduckworth suggests. You might also research heat loving cultivars, too. Lavender is not an ideal plant for the South, because of the heat, but don't try to grow it under shady conditions! There ARE some (reportedly) heat loving cultivars of lavender on the market, and I seem to recall a nursery in Alabama or South Carolina that propagated them.

I've grown many of the herbs on your list in full sun gardens in Northern Alabama and/or in coastal southern South Carolina. They include hyssop, basil, chives, rosemary, sage, and thyme. I've successfully grown some others with some 'tweaking'. (I consider dill a cooler season crop, for example. Full sun, but planted early in the season.) comes down to this: you'll find that you can grow a good many herbs and other plants (annuals, perennials, shrubs, etc.) in your full blazing Mississippi sun. You might find that web sites, rather than books, have more detailed information about which of those plants might fade out in the summer heat. Consider those spring or fall plants. They may or may not be able to tolerate shade.

Above all, soil or potting medium must be well drained. Be sure to provide mulch in the garden to keep that root-soil system cool!

    Bookmark   November 23, 2009 at 1:14PM
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hitexplanter(8 a)

If you want a great herb growing book for the south then I have a highly suggest "Southern Herb Growing by Hill and Barclay. They are from East Texas fairly close to Houston and will provide much about which, when, where and how to grow most everything on your list. Time of year in many cases and drainage are two very important considerations. Cilantro and dill really a fall to spring crop. Not a summer crop unless you reseed as already suggested. This book is simply the best I have found in my 15 years of growing in 100 plus temps for months and humidity that kills because of the heat. Happy Growing David

    Bookmark   November 23, 2009 at 4:36PM
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I don't believe it is the sun and temperatures you would have to worry about in northern Mississippi but the humidity. Humidity can be somewhat offset by planting plants further apart and planting so that the plants alternate in rows of the beds. Think of the way tires are made so that water is forced between the thred's. You should plant so any wind will be directed through and arround your plants.

When I was growing up we had very high humidity with 90-100+ temps for weeks every summer. Without the air being able to circulate plants stayed wet and rotted. Our weather has changed so I do not have to consider the old conditions but having the air circulate was most important. You may have to cut the branches of any surrounding shrubs so air can move under them.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2009 at 10:42PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Looking at your question through the other end of the telescope, so to speak, all of the herbs you name, except the basil, will grow very happily in a cool cloudy British garden. So, even if you decide to err on the side of caution and choose a shadier place in your garden it is unlikely any of those plants will have too little sun. Even now my rosemary,thyme, bay, fennel, feverfew,chives and sage are contentedly paddling through a gloomy, sodden English November with about 8 hours daylight and hardly any sun. Comfrey is a British native and grows by rivers. That tells you what conditins it likes.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2009 at 3:13PM
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I live in the hot, humid subtropics of Australia, and with the exceptions mentioned in my earlier reply, all the herbs you want do well in full sun. In summer, I put my potted mints into filtered sunlight.

When I say 'hot', I mean 'fry an egg on the pathway'. And 'humid' means 80-90% even when there's no rain in sight.

I repeat, however - baby plants need a bit more pampering and protection than the grown-ups.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2009 at 5:52PM
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Thanks, this has been a great deal of help. It helps to have many perspectives.

Take care!

    Bookmark   November 27, 2009 at 12:50PM
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