French tarragon creates a shrubby presence in the garden border, combining fine texture with wonderful green-to-gray foliage. Leaves dish up a sweet anise flavor used to create traditional Bearnaise sauce and the fines herbes blend vital to French cooking. In rich soil, plants practically jump out of the ground, thriving with little care. For best growth, remove flowering stems. With a sunny window and rich soil, you can raise French tarragon indoors. If light isn’t strong enough, stems will likely sprawl and leaf flavor will diminish, but you’ll still be able to savor the licorice taste. In the garden, pair French tarragon with bearded iris, burgundy-toned shrubs, or lilies for an eye-pleasing scene. In coldest zones, cut plants back in fall and mulch after the ground freezes.
Light: Part sun, Sun
Type: Herb, Perennial, Shrub
Height: 1 to 3 feet
Width: 1-2 feet wide
Flower color: Green
Foliage color: Gray/Silver
Seasonal features: Summer bloom
Problem solvers: Deer resistant
Special features: Good for containers, Low maintenance
Growing Tarragon Herb
Seedlings can be transplanted outdoors once temperatures have significantly warmed. Tarragon herb plants should be grown in areas receiving full sun. Space tarragon plants approximately 18 to 24 inches apart to ensure adequate air circulation as well. They should also be located in well-drained, fertile soil.
French Tarragon Plants
However, these hardy plants will tolerate and even thrive in areas having poor, dry or sandy soil. Tarragon has a vigorous root system, making it quite tolerant of arid conditions. Established plants do not require frequent watering, outside of extreme drought. Applying a generous layer of mulch in fall will help the plants throughout winter too. Tarragon can also be grown year round indoors as houseplants or in the greenhouse.
French tarragon plants can be grown the same as other tarragon varieties. What sets these plants apart from other tarragon plants is the fact that French tarragon cannot be grown from seeds. Instead, when growing tarragon of this variety, which is prized for its superior anise-like flavor, it must be propagated by cuttings or division only.
Harvesting and Storing Tarragon Herb Plants
You can harvest both the leaves and flowers of tarragon herb plants. Harvesting usually takes place in late summer. While best used fresh, tarragon plants can be frozen or dried until ready for use. Plants should be divided every three to five years as well.