Avid cooks and amateur naturopaths living in zone 6, rejoice! There are plenty of herb choices for zone 6 herb gardens. There are some hardy zone 6 herbs that can be grown outdoors, and other more tender herbs can be brought indoors when the weather begins to chill. In the following article, we’ll discuss what herbs grow in zone 6 and information about growing herbs in zone 6.
Growing Herbs in Zone 6
Many herbs, by nature, are naturally hardy, especially the perennial varieties that reliably return year after year. Others are far more tender and can’t really be attempted unless you’re living in zone 8 or above-- or you grow them indoors. If you love a certain herb that you want to cultivate but it isn’t suited to your zone 6 climate, you can grow the herb in a pot and then bring it indoors for the winter. Herbs like aloe vera do very well when grown inside like a houseplant, as does bay laurel, which can be grown as a patio plant and then brought indoors. You can also treat herbs like an annual and just replant them every year. Basil is an example of this. It can be grown as a perennial in zone 10 and above but for everyone else, treat it like an annual. You can also try protecting it from chilly winter temps. If you plan to leave a tender herb outside, plant it in a protected area such as a space between two buildings or between a building and a solid fence. Mulch it well in the fall and cross your fingers.
What Herbs Grow in Zone 6?
The following is a list of plants for zone 6 herb gardens.
- Angelica: Angelica is suited for growing in zones 4 through 9 and used in cooking, medicinally, and as a landscape plant. It has a sweet flavor and can grow up to 5 feet (1.5 m.) in height with rich soil and plenty of water.
- Catnip: Catnip (zones 3-9) is a member of the mint family that makes an excellent companion plant due to its strong aroma that repels pests. Cats love it too, and people use it as a soothing tea.
- Chamomile: Chamomile is suited to zones 5 through 8. This culinary and medicinal herb is used to make a popular tea with relaxing properties.
- Chives: Chives (zones 3-9) make a hardy zone 6 herb. This cold hardy perennial can be grown from seeds, divisions, or transplants. With a delicate onion flavor, chives should be divided every two to four years in the spring or fall.
- Comfrey: Comfrey is a medicinal herb known as knit bone and is suited to zones 3 through 8.
- Cilantro: Cilantro is a cold hardy annual that can be grown early in the spring and again late in the summer. Cilantro leaves are eaten in cooking for their bright flavor and the herb seeds are also used in various cuisines.
- Chervil: Chervil is a half-hardy annual that grows best in light shade. Chervil looks much like parsley but has a mild anise-like flavor.
- Dill: Dill can be direct sown in the garden four to five weeks before the last frost in the spring and is suited to zone 6.
- echinacea: Echinacea is often grown for its lovely, purple, daisy-like flowers in zones 3 through 10 but is also used as a medicinal herb to boost the immune system.
- Feverfew: Feverfew is a medicinal herb that has been used to treat migraine headaches and arthritis pain. The leaves are edible and can be added to salads, sandwiches, or made into tea.
- Lavender: Lavender varieties English and Grosso are suited to zone 6. Not so for their relations, the French and Spanish varieties, though, which thrive in zones 8 to 9. Lavender blossoms can be used in cooking, as aromatic potpourri, in crafts, wreaths, or as a scent in candles and soaps.
- Lemon Balm: Lemon balm (zones 5-9) has a light, lemony aroma that is often included in teas to promote relaxation but can also be used in cooking or herbal remedies.
- Marjoram: Marjoram is hardy to zones 4 to 8 and has been used to treat mild coughs and sore throats. It is commonly found in many Greek and Italian cuisines and is related to oregano.
- Mint: Mint is very easy to grow and comes in a multitude of varieties, not all of them suited for zone 6. With so many varieties, there’s bound to be a mint for your garden. Keep in mind that mint is a rabid spreader and can overtake areas of the garden, which can be a good thing or a bad thing.
- Oregano: Oregano thrives in zones 5 through 12 and is also popular in Greek and Italian cuisines.
- Parsley: Parsley is a biennial herb that is either curly-leaved or flat-leaved (Italian). Parsley leafs out in the first season and then comes back the second season to flower, seed, and die.
- Rosemary: Rosemary is commonly used for seasoning dishes, but this herb plant also makes an excellent ornamental specimen in the landscape.
- Rue: Rue is both a culinary and medicinal herb that is also used as a landscape plant. A small plant, rue has lacy, bitter flavored leaves that can be added to salads. Due to its intense aroma, many garden pests are deterred, so it also makes an excellent companion plant.
- Sage: Sage can be grown in zone 6. S. officinalis is most often used in cooking while S. sclarea has been used for centuries in eyewashes and, when added to potpourri, has a fixative property that makes the other scents last longer.
- St. John's Wort: St. John’s wort is a medicinal herb that can be grown in zones 4 through 9 and is an easy-to-grow natural antidepressant.
- Tarragon: Tarragon likes rich, well-draining soil and can be grown in zones 4 through 9. Its anise-like flavor has been used to treat indigestion and stress.
- Thyme: Thyme, a culinary and medicinal herb, can be grown in zones 4 through 9. French thyme is somewhat less hardy than its counterpart English thyme.
- Valerian: Valerian can be grown in zone 6 (zones 4-9) and its leaves have a sedative effect when used in tea.
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Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.