While the scorching summer is far from the ideal time to start many garden pursuits, some perennial herbs are delicious exceptions. Local master gardener Adrienne Diaz, who also teaches classes at Naples Botanical Garden, shares three picks for hardy herbs that are easy to grow, low maintenance, and actually thrive in the blazing heat and full sun.
African Blue Basil is one of a few types of basil that are perennial and, unlike many cultivated varieties, it can grow up to 5 feet tall. This plant does not produce seeds and can only be multiplied from cuttings. It requires very little water, so make sure to provide good drainage when the summer rains hit.
Why we love it: It grows fast, plus the plant’s long, purple stems and flowers also make a lovely fragrant spray when gathered in bunches.
Chives grow in attractive clusters, making them a perfect edging or border plant for a garden. They also grow well in containers. Once rooted, the plant requires very little watering. Easily harvest chives by cutting the leaves starting from the outer edge of the clump. Leave about a half-inch of stem above the soil level so the plant can regrow.
Why we love it: It is easy to grow, and even its pretty lavender and white blooms are edible.
Cuban Oregano, also known as Spanish thyme or Indian borage, is a succulent herb with fuzzy, velvety leaves. It also makes an attractive ornamental houseplant. It’s mainly grown from cuttings, which can take up to two weeks to root, and it thrives in well-drained soil.
Why we love it: The herb has a delicious aroma and only a little is needed to add significant flavor to dishes. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is popular as a medicinal tea to soothe indigestion and other ailments.
Rosemary is ideal for beachside homes, as the herb tolerates salt spray and thrives in full sun. The woody shrub with needle-like leaves can reach up to 4 feet tall. Native to the Mediterranean region, rosemary requires well-drained alkaline soil; be careful not to overwater it.
Why we love it: Aside from its distinct flavor enhancing everything from olive oil to fresh bread, rosemary oil is also commonly used in aromatherapy for pain relief and to combat mental fatigue.