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how long do herb plants last?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

how long is the average life of an herb plant? i see potted herb plants for cheap all the time, and i hate buying a whole bundle of herbs, only to use a small portion of them. it would be great to be able to just have a plant on hand and cut what i need as i need it.

post #2 of 22

Hi, Most of the potted Herbs you see in the supermarkets are in fact dozens of seedlings in a pot.

They don't last long like that (a few weeks or so) as they are all trying to grow, but have too much competition, plus of course they get kept in the kitchen where the light may not be good enough either.

To be fair the shops are really selling these pots to be snipped to death and then replaced. If you want your Herbs to last longer, then the best thing to do is split the bunch of seedlings up into individual plants and plant them either into the ground (weather permitting) or into pots, 3" to 4" should be fine for most.

I hope this helps, but if you need more information I will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

post #3 of 22

It depends on the plant and where you are going to grow it. For instance parsley, basil, thyme, mint, and such do very well in small pots growing by a window sill. Depending on how you take care of them, they will supply you for years. Some are perennial and will go to seed after 2 years, while others will provide some herb and then die off quickly. Cilantro and Basil come to mind and again its' all in how they are taken care of.  At work, we have a greenhouse, so that's not a real situation but in a household kitchen window, you can do some pretty cool herbs.

post #4 of 22

I've been growing herbs for about 30 years, so I've seen how long most will last.

 

Parsley is a biennial, which last 2 years before going to seed and dying. Chervil is another biennial. While it's supposed to be a biennial, cilantro goes to seed in just a few months here in Florida, so I don't bother planting it anymore, as all the supermarkets carry it fresh. 

Basil, dill, and sage are annuals, and must be replanted each year, although I have had sage plants last up to 3 years.

Thyme, rosemary, tarragon, oregano and its cousin marjoram, and mint are perennials and will practically live forever if the conditions are right. In fact, I wouldn't plant mint in the ground as it can spread and takeover a garden. Chives are another herb that will live for years if properly watered and fertilized.

 

For me, the necessary herbs are: parsley, thyme, basil and tarragon. Two are perennials, and  parsley has to be replanted every two years, and basil yearly. But I usually grow many other herbs every year including all the ones I listed above, but these four are what I consider essential.

post #5 of 22

WillBKool, I was under the impression that sage is a perennial? 

post #6 of 22

I have a sage plant that is pushing five years old, it never dies. It is subject to direct 30+ mph wind six months out of the year , 100+ temps in the summer and -20 in the winter.

post #7 of 22

I think we are talking potted herbs not ones planted in the ground right?  I have parsley on both sides of the garden and were planted in opposite years but they drop their seeds in the same place and I have never had to replant parsley in the 14 years I've had the garden.

I also have 8 sage plants that come back every year. I have a beautiful carpet of Marjoram several different thymes, lavender, and tarragon. 

post #8 of 22

I have had a rosemary plant that has lasted me 4 years, i constantly am snipping some off of it.  Best herb i have ever grown.

post #9 of 22

Rosemary, in my experience, doesn't die, and can become quite a bush, as does sage. 

I can never get parsley to grow - some bug or snail or something chops it off before i can - any ideas on how to deal with this would be welcome.  Maybe i'll add another thread on this.

i finally got a dill plant to stick and it's now four years and it keeps sprouting anew every year and i don't dare to touch it, prune it, repot it, or anything, because i've tried over many many years and never got one to last more than a month.  . 

Basil dies at the end of the year - purple basil seems to go to seed more slowly and i can keep having basil till into fall with that type, as long as i trim the flowers off.  Even if i don't it is pretty tame. 

Chives, no problem, no problem on thyme, origano, marjoram - they seem to keep on going, though i don;t remember which pot is which and sometimes i lose one. 

My herbs are in a slightly shadier spot on my terrace which stays in the 90s for most of the summer - 3 - 4 months, and is entirely in the sun (the "shady" side is only next to a wall that gives some shade in the afternoon.

 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #10 of 22

All depends where you live, exposure, soil enviorment. water etc.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #11 of 22

We are in South Florida and I understand that planting your herbs in above ground containers is the way to go...can anyone elaborate on that?

post #12 of 22

I have mint in the pot for six years now, it was a dried up sprig, then it grew.

Now after 4 years I have a single sprig from my pot of mint, that has covered 8' X 4' around a blueberries bush.

The blueberry bushes seem to like mint.

Wonder if the mint will cover the whole 20'X 50' blue berry patch or should I put up barrier & plant other kinds of mint?

post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by WillBkool View Post
 

I've been growing herbs for about 30 years, so I've seen how long most will last.

 

Parsley is a biennial, which last 2 years before going to seed and dying. Chervil is another biennial. While it's supposed to be a biennial, cilantro goes to seed in just a few months here in Florida, so I don't bother planting it anymore, as all the supermarkets carry it fresh. 

Basil, dill, and sage are annuals, and must be replanted each year, although I have had sage plants last up to 3 years.

Thyme, rosemary, tarragon, oregano and its cousin marjoram, and mint are perennials and will practically live forever if the conditions are right. In fact, I wouldn't plant mint in the ground as it can spread and takeover a garden. Chives are another herb that will live for years if properly watered and fertilized.

 

For me, the necessary herbs are: parsley, thyme, basil and tarragon. Two are perennials, and  parsley has to be replanted every two years, and basil yearly. But I usually grow many other herbs every year including all the ones I listed above, but these four are what I consider essential.

 

Do you save your seeds at all?

post #14 of 22
Coriander/cilantro will grow a few weeks then go to seed. If conditions are right the seeds will grow. Pretty soon I have many plants in all stages.
Cut parsley will last 5 or 6 weeks in the fridge in a bag, if it is fresh when you get it to start with.
post #15 of 22

I see a lot of people saying they don't last long. I'd honestly suggest to buy seed packs rather then store bought herb plants. I've had basil last for the better half of a year(6 - 8 months). Off what was equivalent to a 1gal pot. My last harvest produced about 7.9 ounces. The trick is to find an area where their is plenty shade. They like to bolt once it starts to get warm, like lettuce. Start them in the window or build a little planter in a shady spot and they'll last as long as the heat or the cold will let them.

post #16 of 22
I was searching to establish life expectancy of parsley, found this forum and joined! Grown herbs for some years and this year parsley growing in a large 'grow bag' type container outside has survived winter so look forward to continuing harvesting for a while yet. Have rosemary in garden, this present bush must be at least ten years old and picked almost daily. I am reluctantant to cut from it when well frozen some mornings in case resulting bruising may cause harm. Have sage in large pot for more than ten years now, but yes basel needs renewal even in the greenhouse. Chives in a chimney pot for over twenty years now.
Mike (love cooking with herbs from the garden)
post #17 of 22

First year sleep second year creep third year leap is what I go by (everything but esp vines and herbs) but I plant everything in the ground.

There is a small pond in the back yard that has grown a Meyer lemon shrub to an enormous size.

Prolly has a small leak but for sure (the pond) keeps the roots of everything planted in that vicinity nice and cool during our hot and dry Texas summers.

The rosemary is huge as is a Spanish lavender (have a swarm of thousands of bees when it blooms...wish I could find the hive).

An assortment of other herbs do well in that area as well.

Except thyme...I cannot get a stand of time anywhere in the yard.

Gave up on mint and dill as well as they are too aggressive for me!

 

mimi

 

Pruning encourages new growth, but never cut back more than 1/3 of any herb or it may die off (talking in ground beds here).

I prune everything back just after the first cold snap and share out among the neighbors.

Then just leave everything alone until the next spring (the last few winters have been mild enuf to not bother covering anything).

As the ground starts warming up there is a huge growth spurt just in time for the fresh new veg of the year!

 

m.

post #18 of 22

Parsley is a biennial. When planted outdoors, it's hardy until the ground freezes, then it dies back. Biennials, in their 2nd year, basically come back up only long enough to flower, set seed and die. When it is grown outside in the ground, parsley will often re-seed itself. My mother had a small patch in her yard that she turned entirely over to parsley plants that reseeded themselves every year. She liked to make tabbouleh, for one thing. For another, an established patch will often become a breeding ground for Black Swallow Tail Butterflies. Their larvae love parsley.

 

black-swallowtail.jpg

post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by WillBkool View Post
 

I've been growing herbs for about 30 years, so I've seen how long most will last.

 

 

Basil, dill, and sage are annuals, and must be replanted each year, although I have had sage plants last up to 3 years.

Someone told me chopping the basil flowers off will make it last longer, but I'll have to try it as my plant died less than 6 months later after the purchase :(

post #20 of 22

The basil plant in the kitchen window probably plots my demise on a regular basis.

 

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #21 of 22

With basil, pinching back the flowers as soon as they start to form keeps it from going to seed and dying back. The plant will then put its energy into leaf and root growth, rather than into setting seed. Like all living things, from the standpoint of nature, it is a plant's job to procreate. Unless its energy is diverted elsewhere, it will go toward flowering which leads to setting seed which then leads to dying back.

 

You can actually keep basil in pots, indoors for quite a few months, given adequate light and water. It is an annual, though, so the plants don't last forever. Aggressive "pinching back" before plants start to get tall, helps to stimulate side growth, which makes for sturdier, bushier plants.

 

Oh, Teamfat--that poor pathetic plant---oh, my. Not enough soil, not enough water, and starved for light--inescapable this time of year in the northern hemisphere for basil. Lack of light  is what makes plants spindly. If plants were sentient, I'd definitely be worried about that plant's desire for revenge.

post #22 of 22

Fear not, the weather is warming up a bit. That basil plant and another herb or two will be going into a much larger pot with some of the great compost taken from the pile by the side of the garage. This weekend if all goes well. A better place to put it is part of the overall plan with the wall shelves, the porch shelves, etc. that I'm working on. And the cats' "solarium" will be upgraded as well.

 

mjb.

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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