10 Unique Herbs to Add to Your Garden this Year

Tea Camellia

If you like growing herbs, chances are you already have a nice sage specimen or patch of mint on your property somewhere. You probably also have a little thyme plant, a bit of oregano, some parsley, a skoch of chives and a few basil plants rounding out your collection. There may be a rosemary shrub in your life -- lucky you. We herb lovers adore the classics, but there are still lots of worthy herbs that never seem to get into the popular lists for one reason or another. Let's take a look at 10 herbs that deserve a second look -- and maybe a bit of real estate to thrive in.

Unique Herbs to Add to Your Garden

1) Tea camellia - This camellia is relatively easy to grow in mild climates, and can even be cultivated as a house plant. It's the original plant grown for tea in the orient. Want green tea? Grow your own. Look for Camellia sinensis.
Saffron Crocus

2) Fall crocus - You know about spring crocus, the early bloomer that sends up spring shoots when there's still snow on the ground. A fall growing variety has the remarkable distinction of producing the most expensive spice on earth: saffron. You can also grow the saffron crocus indoors.

3) Soapwort - So, you want to be green in the laundry room but even those homemade soap recipes use caustic ingredients. What can you do? Grow soapwort as a mild laundry detergent substitute. It produces a nice lather that loosens dirt without the harsh chemicals.

4) Scented geranium - Those lush, large geranium flowers you love to grow every summer are just the tip of the iceberg. There are dozens if not hundreds of geranium varieties, many of which produce exotic scents and delicate flowers. These little plants are easy to care for and very beguiling.
Scented Geranium

Evening Primrose
5) Evening primrose - Yes, some beautiful and useful herbs do grow in the shade. Evening primrose is a lovely little example. It's been used as an herbal remedy to treat everything from asthma to PMS. Some other good shade candidates are ginger, tarragon and sweet woodruff.


6) Valerian - If you want a good night's sleep, valerian can help. Valerian root is considered one of the best herbal sleep aids available, and it happens to be easy to grow. Although the root is considered the most potent part of the plant, even the leaves can produce a relaxing tea. Other sleep inducing herbs that can be grown in the shade include lemon balm and chamomile.

Paprika Pepper
7) Paprika - Although this spice made from a pepper plant is very popular in Europe, it doesn't have the following it deserves in the U.S. Here's an example: Paprika may be colorful on deviled eggs, but it releases its wonderfully complex flavor best when heated. Grow your own peppers and see. Paprika is as easy to grow as jalapenos -- without the intense heat. It's also easy to dry and even smoke.

8) Ginger - If you have a shady spot in your temperate garden, with soil that isn't obstructed by shallow tree roots, you too can grow ginger. This hot-sweet root spice is attractive in the garden and useful in cooking. It's also one of the best herbal teas for stomach upsets. After harvesting, store ginger root indefinitely in a jar filled with Sherry. (This also works with store bought ginger.) Speaking of which: You can start store bought ginger in a pot or in the garden. Now, how's that for simple. 

Bay Leaf
9) Bay leaf - Bay leaf comes from the bay laurel tree, a Mediterranean transplant that can grow to 40 feet high. Bay can be cultivated as a house or patio plant, but it may take a couple of attempts to find accommodations this popular herb demands.

10) Stevia - Yes, you can grow your own sweetener in the garden, and it doesn't take a lot of space to do it. Once you have a few thriving plants, create a syrup to use in beverages and recipes. It's fun to do.


Photo Credits

Camellia - By Pancrat (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (

Saffron crocus - By Photographer: User:Velela (File:Safrron stigmas crocus sativa.JPG) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

Soapwort - By Karelj (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

Scented geranium - By Captain-tucker (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons'Fair_Ellen'_in_NH.jpg

Evening Primrose - By Dr. Thomas G. Barnes, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Valerian - By Christian Hummert (Ixitixel) (eigenes Foro) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Ginger - By Venkatx5 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Bay leaf - By Gary Houston Ghouston 16:40, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC) (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Stevia - jpg By Gabriela F. Ruellan (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons


  1. This makes me want to grow paprika even more I use it in almost all of my dishes


Share some ideas.