Medicinal Herb Gardening
From Seeds to Sprouts, Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Cultivating Medicinal Plants
Ready to get dirt under your nails?
If you’re the type of herbalist that likes to get down and dirty in the soil, you’ve come to just the place. We’ve compiled an array of our most popular herb gardening articles—sure to sprout inspiration!
Whether you’re seeking herb garden layout ideas, or you’re searching for the nitty-gritty of soils and substrates, one of these articles is sure to fill your wheelbarrow. This round-up even includes tips for growing medicinal herbs in tiny yards, porches, and tight spaces. (Shout out to our urban gardeners!)
Don’t have a garden?
Porches, patios, and sunny windowsills are all prime time real estate for the herb gardener. Take a wink at our Container Gardening Hub for a collection of resources that will have you growing potted plants like a pro.
So, no matter your experience level or the size of your space, if you’re eager to sow more seeds of herbal knowledge, there’s something for you in the bounty beyond this garden gate.
Let’s dig in, shall we?
Here’s a list of all of our blog articles on medicinal herb cultivation:
- The Top 10 Medicinal Herbs for the Garden
- 9 Tips for Planning the Herb Garden of Your Dreams
- 7 Medicinal Herbs for Urban Gardeners
- Root Division: Multiply Your Medicinal Herb Harvest with These Plant Propagation Tips
- Herbal Seed Suppliers and Nurseries: Ethical Sources for Medicinal Seeds & Plants
- Guidelines to Growing Medicinal Herbs from Seed
- Cultivating Woodland Herbs: How to Grow Native Forest Medicinals
- Cultivating Woodland Herbs: Planning a Medicinal Forest Garden
- Get Growing: Ten of Our Favorite Resources for Spring Herb Gardening
- Medicinal Herb Gardening for Beginners
- Essential Gardening Tools for the Home Gardener
- Compost Magic for the Medicinal Herb Garden
- Growing Healing Herbs for the Home Garden: Elderberry, Lemon Balm & Rose
- The Medicine That Grows In-Between: Lamb’s Quarters, Plantain, and Red Clover
- A Tour of Mountain Gardens with Joe Hollis
- Passionflower: From Seed to Fruit and Back Again
- The Best Herb Gardening, Farming, and Permaculture Books for Herbalists
- How to Grow an Herbal Tea Garden
- The Healing Garden, a new book by Juliet Blankespoor
These medicinal herbs embody the whole package—providing nourishment, medicine, and beauty to boot! We hand-picked these ten botanical beauties for their ease of cultivation, medicinal potency, and versatility of use from the kitchen to the medicine cabinet. Say hello to your new botanical besties, right here.
There’s an art, and a science, to laying out the perfect medicinal herb garden—this article will help you balance both like a cultivation maven. Whether you have access to an expansive plot or a small patch of earth, this checklist is brimming with practical tips you won’t want to miss. You’ll even get the low-down on making use of shady spaces and wet spots, along with suggestions for shade- and moisture-loving medicinals. Take these 9 Tips to heart and before you know it, you’ll be strolling through your dream garden with bushels of bee balm and bergamot in tow.
It’s not the size of the garden that matters! This guide for growing medicinal herbs in small spaces is proof. By adopting a few clever cultivation techniques, even city slickers can have a productive medicinal paradise, lush with herbs for kitchen and apothecary. All it takes is a few feet of earth (or a few containers!), a little herbal know-how, and a handful of easy-to-grow herbal sweethearts to bring a bounty of medicinals right to your doorstep…or on it!
Don’t let the word “division” scare you. This article is about the kind of math any herb nerd can get behind—turning one plant into ten! Without spending a dime, you can multiply your medicinal harvest and fill out your herb garden by splicing one plant into several (or even up to twenty, depending on the species and age of the plant!). But not so fast, before you get hori-hori happy, be sure to soak up all of our tips on the right tools, timing, and technique to ensure your newborn divisionlings survive and thrive!
If it’s seeds that you’re seeking, look no further. We’ve rounded-up our favorite medicinal herb seed suppliers and nurseries in the U.S.A. and Canada—many of whom ship internationally too! This article features small-scale and regional suppliers, as well, for those that prefer to keep things local. We know from experience that finding non-GMO, open-pollinated, and even rare medicinal seeds and plants from ethical sources can be tough, until now. If you’re keen on cultivating seed sovereignty, hop over here for some seed shopping therapy.
You’ve just received your first shipment of medicinal herb seeds…now what? Even if you’re a bonafide green thumb, you may not realize that germinating medicinals can be much trickier than sowing your average vegetable seeds. So come, let us take you by the hand and introduce you to the wide-world of seed trays, soil blocks, stratification, and germination stations. With a little time (and a lot of love!), you’ll have an herbal seedling set-up sure to make any botanical geek green with envy.
As cherished species of native flora continue to dwindle, cultivating our own rare medicinal herbs is more important now than ever before. Not only can you create your own sustainable supply of endangered herbs—like black cohosh, goldenseal, and american ginseng—always at the ready for home-medicine making, you can also help to reduce the demand for the unethical and illegal harvest of these vanishing plants. And you may be surprised to find that many of these at-risk medicinals are quite easy to cultivate, too. From germination to propagation, you’ll unearth everything you need to get growing here.
Why grow native woodland herbs? Growing our own medicine—in any setting—creates an intimate connection with healing plants. There are some important environmental reasons for cultivating rare woodland medicinals as well. Further, many of the woodland herbs are easy to cultivate, as compared to our garden herbs. Learn more about growing forest medicinals here.
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Take a scenic tour of our favorite resources on growing medicinal herbs. This compilation features five of our very own herb-gardening guides from Blog Castanea’s archive, plus five more of our favorite books and (free!) YouTube videos on medicinal plant cultivation from the likes of Deb Soule and Joe Hollis. Get ready to restock your bookshelves and embark on a botanical video binge, here.
I love herbal medicine but I’ve never grown herbs—how do I begin an herb garden? Have you or someone you know been asking this question lately? Then read on for inspirational and empowering steps for growing medicinal herbs at home—we give even the brownest thumb enough fertilizer to succeed in medicinal herb gardening! We’ll help feed the roots for a DIY herb garden that will leave both you and your plants grounded.
Try cooking a meal without a sharp knife and a clean cutting board, or riding a bike with a flat tire, or playing the fiddle with an unrosined bow—doing so would really defeat the purpose and make these acts of joy unenjoyable! Similarly, attempting to garden without the right tools is a set-up for struggle and frustration. In this article, you’ll get acquainted with the essential gardening tools that can do what your hands alone cannot (cut through wood, carry water, haul large loads, dig through rocky soil). You’ll also find links to some of the businesses that sell these tools, and learn how to use and care for them properly.
Can you believe that you have the ability to turn garbage into beautiful soil? Well, with the help of millions of microorganisms, you can turn your waste into an incredibly useful material. Composting can be a magical art of transforming garbage into black gold. How sweet is that? Being a soil-builder instead of a landfill-contributor is righteous work for the times! Be a Green Magician! Both your herbs and the earth will thank you.
What do the patron herb of bees, the world’s most amorous bloom, and our favorite antiviral berry have in common? They’re featured here as an herbal dream team for the home gardener. It’s with poetry and panache that we present medicinal, edible, and cultivation profiles for three cherished healing plants: elderberry, lemon balm, and rose.
Your garden wants to feed you—not just with the cultivated plants you tuck into the soil, but with a profusion of wild greens and herbs that spring up “in-between” of their own accord. These feral guests surpass domestic veggies in nutrition and are brimming with medicine, which makes them worthy of our attention and care in cultivated spaces. Want to eat weeds with us? Read up on three of our favorites: lamb’s quarters, plantain, and red clover.
Enter the enchantment at Mountain Gardens—the home of Joe Hollis, who is an extraordinary gardener and expert on native North American and cultivated Chinese herbs. Joe has created his “paradise gardens” seed by seed over the past 40 years, and now has over a thousand species of useful plants from around the world—likely the largest collection of medicinal herbs anywhere on the planet!
The florally charismatic maypop (aka passionflower), with its drop-dead gorgeous flowers and exotic fruits that resemble green dragon eggs, is a truly helpful remedy for these times: it gently soothes the nerves and can ease insomnia, stress, and anxiety. Want to learn how to grow it? Our guide will take you from seed to flower to fruit and back again.
We’ve been planting our own herb gardens at the Chestnut School for decades. These lush sanctuaries are our primary source of medicine, and they fill our apothecaries to the brim year after year. More often than not, the plants are our teachers in the garden, but we also give loads of credit to a stellar selection of books on herb gardening, regenerative farming, and permaculture that we’ve turned to season after season.
We’ve compiled a list of brilliant books that will help you start your herb garden, medicinal farm, or permaculture paradise.
Do you already love drinking herbal tea? Are you getting most or all of your herbs from the store or online? Then maybe it’s time to call in your own herbal tea garden! Here, Mary Plantwalker serves up her tips for tending a tea garden so that you can grow your tea and drink it too! Curious which plants to get started with? You’ll also be treated to eight special featurettes on Mary’s most cherished homegrown tea herbs.
Join us in counting down to the release of Chestnut School Founder Juliet Blankespoor’s first book, slated to hit shelves in 2021! The Healing Garden: Cultivating & Handcrafting Herbal Remedies is the first book of its kind, bursting with information on growing and using healing plants, and lushly sown with seeding charts, medicine-making instructions, propagation techniques, and soils and substrates.
By subscribing to our newsletter below, you’ll be among the first to know when the book becomes available. (We’ll also send a few treats to your inbox, including our Guide for Budding Herbalists, beloved by thousands of herb nerds worldwide!)
After signing up, be sure to mosey over here for an exclusive sneak-preview of the pages.