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Growing Your Own Herbal Tea

Posted in : easy, family, fresh, guest post, healthy, herb, lavender, natural, summer, tea, vegan, vegetarian on by : Jeanette Rueb Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

As we head into spring (or wishfully think about it), it’s time to consider what we can add to our kitchen from the Earth around where we live. Not only does growing your own produce save you money, but it doesn’t require a lot of space. Container gardening works well for many plants, from herbs and flowers to fruits and veggies.

This week, Apartment Eats is partnering with an up-and-coming gardening community, Garden Revival. You can find the full article on their blog (I’ve included a teaser snippet below). While you’re checking out what they have to offer, consider giving their Instagram page a follow and maybe joining their Discord community. They’ve featured some of my many, many houseplants on their Instagram, and I’ve been a part of their server for a while now. It’s a wonderful, family-friendly community that’ll help you turn your black thumb green. Once you grow your own produce, you can come back here to find a recipe! How do you like them apples?

Today’s post will cover the basics of growing some plants that can be dried for herbal tea. We’ll discuss growing zones, soil conditions, water, sun, and everything else you ought to need to get started growing your very own tea garden. As I mentioned above, Apartment Eats is only teasing two of the five plants discussed in the full article, so head over to GardenRev.com to read the rest. You’ll be doing me a solid by giving the community I love a little love of your own.

All of the plants we’ll cover today, with the exception of rosehips, can be hung to dry. If you’d like some tips on how to go about doing that, take a look at my article on How To Hang Dry Plants. Alternatively, if you’d like to learn how to press-dry plants to keep a journal of what you grow, Garden Revival has you covered. I also reference hardiness zones in each entry. They’re a handy way of describing what areas can grow which plants based on average minimum temperature. You can find out what USDA hardiness zone you’re in by using this map. Now, without any further ado — Plants!

Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)

Chamomile is a member of the daisy family, the same botanical family as another flower we’ll discuss later, echinacea. Roman chamomile is “true” chamomile, though German chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla syn. Matricaria recutita) is used interchangeably as an herb and grows under similar conditions.

When it comes to identification, Roman chamomile (also called Russian or English chamomile) grows as a creeping, perennial ground cover with feathery-looking leaves and small, white flowers bearing a bulbous yellow center. German chamomile, by contrast, is a reseeding annual that grows upright to roughly knee-height and produces larger, singular flowers on stalks, with elongated white petals and sunny yellow centers.

As a tea, chamomile is often used as a sleep and relaxation aid, a practice dating back to the Ancient Romans and Egyptians. It can also help alleviate inflammation, menstrual cramps, and some of the symptoms of hay fever (seasonal allergies), among other ailments. Sounds cool, right? Science thinks so, too. Here’s what you need to know to grow some for yourself.

Hardiness Zones: 3-9

Soil Conditions: Well-draining; tolerates poor soil; neutral pH

Water Needs: Low; drought-tolerant

Light Needs: Part shade to full sun

Fertilizer Needs: Minimal; over-fertilizing can sap flavor

Potential Pests: Pest-deterrent; susceptible to aphids, mealybugs, and thrips if drought-weakened

Harvesting: Summer; will continuously bloom if regularly harvested; pick flowerheads at full bloom, just before the petals begin to droop downward; lay in open air to dry

Container-Friendly?: Yes

Growable Indoors?: Yes

English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

lavender, field, flora, herb, perfume, nature, flower
Image Source: Pixnio

Lavender is a popular, easy-to-grow perennial plant that comes in more varieties than there are flavors of cereal. When it comes to tea and baking, English lavender and French lavender (Lavandula stoechas) are typically used. It’s an incredibly hardy plant, particularly if you have a habit of forgetting to water things or live in an area with garbage soil.

Identifying lavender is fairly straightforward. Most varieties you’ll encounter grow as a shrub with narrow leaves and clusters of bluish-purple flowers growing on a spike. English lavender grows to about knee-height and gets to be one to two times as wide as it is tall. Lavender is a bee’s best friend. The fragrant, colorful blooms draw fuzzy buzzy pollinators all season long!

Herbally, lavender is often used as a calming plant to ease anxiety, depression, and trouble sleeping. The scientific studies backing claims of its efficacy as a sort of herbal panacea look promising, but there are still some clinical hurdles to overcome. If nothing else, lavender makes a delicious addition to baked goods and relaxing cuppas alike, particularly when paired with lemon and honey.

Hardiness Zones: 5-8

Soil Conditions: Well-draining; tolerates poor soil; neutral pH

Water Needs: Dry to moderate; drought-tolerant

Light Needs: Full sun

Fertilizer Needs: Not needed

Potential Pests: Spittlebugs, aphids

Harvesting: Summer, just as the blooms begin to open; hang dry

Container-Friendly?: Yes — large, well-draining pots

Growable Indoors?: Yes, though possibly difficult due to space and light needed

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If you’re interested in reading about roses, mint, and echinacea, take a look at the full post HERE on Garden Revival’s website. Thanks for reading, and thanks for supporting gardeners everywhere by giving Garden Revival a little love.

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