This perennial thrives in hot, barren soils and grows about anywhere. It is native to northwestern United States, Russia and Asia, and it is closely related to sagebrush. It is both a medicinal herb as well as a popular culinary herb. Tarragon plants can reach 60 inches in height, and they have thin, blade-like leaves that are wonderfully aromatic with a sweet anise-like flavor.
Useful gardening information
Start seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost. Press the seeds into the soil and lightly cover with soil.
Transplant the young herb plants outdoors after temperatures warm up.
Plants prefer sunshine and sharply draining soils that are sandy or rocky.
Once established, plants require little care. Keep the soil on the dry side. Harvest the leaves and flowers throughout the summer. Dry or freeze for long-term use.
Links to useful information on the web:
Tarragon herb nutrition facts
Tarragon Cooking Tips
HR224 Russian Tarragon ( Artemesia dracunculus )
Russian Tarragon is highly used in French cooking. It flavors vinegar, fish, meats, vegetables, cheese and sauces. The leaves can be used in cooking both fresh and dried. Medically, Tarragon herb is used in teas to stimulate digestion and ease intestinal distension.
A perennial plant for zones 4-9.
TRM683 Winter Tarragon ( Tagetes lucida )
Also known as Spanish Tarragon.
French tarragon is the variety generally considered best for the kitchen, but is never grown from seed as the flowers are sterile; instead it is propagated by root division.
A better substitute for French tarragon is winter tarragon. It is much more reminiscent of French tarragon, with a hint of anise.
Although not in the same genus as the other tarragons, winter tarragon has a stronger flavor than Russian tarragon that does not diminish significantly with age.
Growing to 3 or 4 feet, Tagetes lucida is handsome in the garden and may be cut for use all summer and fall. Even if left untrimmed, the leaves remain usable and fresh throughout the growing season.
Try growing winter tarragon in an herb garden, flower bed, or container. Let it be the bright spot in your herb garden, which often needs a boost by summer's end. The upright plants pair well with other fall bloomers such as pineapple sage. Plants bloom lightly in the spring, then profusely in the fall.
Hardy to at least 5 degrees, and very easy to grow.
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