Herbs For Spanish Inspired Dishes: How To Grow A Spanish Herb Garden

spanish herb
spanish herb
(Image credit: barmalini)

Vivid and fiery are two words that apply to the classic cuisine of Spain, and it is often spices and herbs that give dishes like paella and pil-pil prawns their punch. While producing saffron is probably far beyond the capabilities of a backyard garden, there are many Spanish herbs and spices you can grow. Growing Spanish herbs isn’t any harder than growing veggies in your backyard and they add immense flavor to your meals. For tips on how to grow a Spanish herb garden, read on.

Herbs for Spanish Inspired Dishes

If you love the rich drama of Spanish dishes, it’s certainly worth your while to add Spanish herb plants to your garden. Some are classic herbs you can use in many cuisines, although a few are signature Spanish herbs and spices. To grow a Spanish herb garden, you need to plant the ones that you love the best. A few herbs for Spanish inspired dishes include classic favorites like:

For hotter, more distinctive Spanish herbs and spices, think cayenne pepper, garlic, cilantro, pimento, and ñora (used to make paprika).

About Spanish Herb Plants

Some Spanish herb plants are perennials and some are annuals. You can plant both in the garden bed but you can also start a container garden to grow herbs for Spanish inspired dishes. If you decide to start growing Spanish herbs in the garden, you’ll have to group herbs with similar needs. This can be easier in containers if you find that the plants you wish to grow have very different requirements. Most of the Spanish herbs prefer a site that gets all day sun. These include basil, oregano, cilantro, rosemary, laurel, parsley, and thyme. While some require generous irrigation (like basil, cilantro, and parsley), others, like rosemary and thyme, need only occasional water. Some herbs should be grown in containers just because of how aggressively they spread. Mint, for example, is an aggressive plant and can take over the yard. Many experts recommend that mint be grown in containers rather than in beds. It thrives in sun or partial shade. Other signature Spanish herbs and spices cannot practically be raised in a home garden. Saffron is one of them. This is the spice that adds the yellow color and bright taste to paella. To produce just 2 pounds (1 kg.) of saffron requires 85,000 Crocus sativus flowers.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.