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Why is Tarragon hard to grow

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  • Why is Tarragon hard to grow

    I bought a pot from a garden centre, repotted and it did the usual sickly slow growth with dying leaves. As it said on the label it likes poor soil I added sand to the compost and still very small new growth with lots of browning leaves. Why is it so hard to grow perennial herbs?

  • #2
    Hi Katherine, It shouldn't be that hard to grow. What sort of position do you have it in? Are you saying you planted it straight into compost rather than a light potting mix?
    You cannot solve a problem with the same level of consciousness that created it - Einstein


    • #3
      Mine dies right back during winter and shoots again in summer. Are you sure it isn't just responding to a change in seasons?


      • #4
        Originally posted by Grahame View Post
        Hi Katherine, It shouldn't be that hard to grow. What sort of position do you have it in? Are you saying you planted it straight into compost rather than a light potting mix?
        Tarragon has really REALLY annoying seed to plant growing conditions & I too have grown to hate starting this plant off. I can get Lemongrass to grow easier which makes no sense what so ever to me.
        If you still have a job, get everything in order, and quit. Do it as soon as you can, because we’ve never had a more important work to do. -Kyle Chamberlin

        Permaculture is a concise design of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have diversity, stability, & resilience of natural ecosystems.
        -Bill Mollison

        It's just my 2 cents,
        Paka no hida


        • #5
          Be sure that you only plant French Tarragon. It is the culinary type that has new growth that tastes buttery, and older growth that goes into kind of a licorice. It has slender, pointy leaves. The other tarragon, that is often what the seeds are, or one that doesn't have "French" in front of it, is usually a kind of Russian Tarragon that tastes like gasoline to me. I've never found seeds for French tarragon, but I haven't looked that hard. It's usually in all the nurseries.

          Mine grows best in fertile soil, not heavy clay, lots of compost, regular watering. It's not a really heavy feeder, but you'll get more if you feed it at least once a month. You want new growth to always be shooting off it if you like the buttery taste.
          "Life flows on within you and without you"...George Harrison
          Coastal California, USA, Mediterranean climate - no summer rain, a little frost mid-winter


          • #6
            My one dies back and re-grows
            It is tough as old boots and one of the few survivors of the last drought.


            • #7
              It needs trimming after transplanting as most herbs.


              • #8
                Tarragon does not like wet feet. Lemongrass does(at least for my observations). I've never actually grown Tarragon, for the record.

                From wikipedia:

                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. It is normally purchased as a plant, and some care must be taken to ensure that true French tarragon is purchased. A perennial, it normally goes dormant in winter.[3] It likes a hot, sunny spot, without excessive watering.[3]

                Russian tarragon (A. dracunculoides L.) can be grown from seed but is much weaker in flavor when compared to the French variety.[3] However, Russian tarragon is a far more hardy and vigorous plant, spreading at the roots and growing over a meter tall. This tarragon actually prefers poor soils and happily tolerates drought and neglect. It is not as strongly aromatic and flavorsome as its French cousin, but it produces many more leaves from early spring onwards that are mild and good in salads and cooked food. Russian tarrogon loses what flavor it has as it ages and is widely considered useless as a culinary herb, though it is sometimes used in crafts. The young stems in early spring can be cooked as an asparagus substitute. Horticulturists recommend that Russian tarragon be grown indoors from seed and planted out in the summer. The spreading plants can be divided easily.

                A better substitute for French tarragon is Spanish tarragon (Tagetes lucida), also known as Mexican mint marigold, Mexican tarragon, Texas tarrogon, or Winter tarragon. The flavor is stronger than Russian tarragon and does not diminish significantly with age. Though it is a member of the marigold family, the flavor is much more reminiscent of French tarragon, with a hint of anise.