Great Herbs for Kids

Great Herbs for Kids

While there are so many wonderful plant frow which to choose, the following list is a good place to start. Select plants that appeal to the senses, are familiar or intriguing, and those that kids can use in cooking or craft projects. Be sure to take your growing conditions and zone into consideration.

Please keep in mind a few safety rules when gardening with herbs and children.

• Always be sure that you correctly identify your plants and that they are safe for eating.

• Be sure that any plants you eat have not been exposed to harmful chemicals and make sure that they are washed thoroughly before you use them.

• Teach your children never to put any plant from the garden in their mouth without asking for permission from an adult first.


Lemon Balm - Melissa officinalis

Lemon Balm is easy to grow and maintain. In fact, take care with this plant because it is a prolific grower and can easily get out of control in the garden. It is recommended that this herb be planted in a container. If you intend to put Lemon Balm in your garden be sure to remove the flower heads before they set seed. Children will enjoy the lemony fragrance of this plant as well as the texture of its leaves. Lemon Balm is easy to start from seed, making it an ideal pick for seed starting projects with your children.

Light: partial shade to full sun
Growth: perennial
Culture: well-drained, medium rich soil, keep moist
Zone: hardy to zone 5
Use: culinary, crafts
Landscape use: borders, containers
Sensory benefits: smell, touch, taste


Sage – Salvia sp.

Children will take great delight in watching the butterflies, birds, and bees that are attracted to these plants. Salvias also have fragrant leaves and striking flowers.

Light: full sun
Growth: perennial
Soil: well-drained
Zone: hardy to zone 5
Use: culinary, crafts
Landscape use: borders
Sensory benefits: smell, visual, hearing
Species to try: Salvia elegans (pineapple sage), S. officinalis (garden sage)


Lavender – Lavandula sp.

Lavender is a great pick for kid's because of its fragrant leaves and flowers. The plants are known to attract birds, butterflies, and bees. Many varieties also adapt well for use in containers. In addition, the colorful flowers can be used for crafts and cooking. Lavender is durable and will endure some neglect and abuse which makes it a great choice for young children learning to garden.

Light: full sun
Growth: perennial
Culture: well-drained, alkaline soil
Zones: 5-8
Use: culinary, crafts
Landscape use: massed borders,
Sensory benefits: smell, visual
Good picks: Lavandula angustifolia,
L. angustifolia
'Munstead,'
L. officinalis


Lamb’s Ear – Stachys byzantina

Lamb's ear is a great herb for touching. Children will be delighted with the soft, downy leaves. This plant is often grown more for it's foliage than its flowers. However, when they are not cut back the flower spikes are also an enjoyable addition to the garden.

Light: full sun
Growth: perennial
Culture: well-drained, medium rich soil
Zone: 3-9
Use: culinary, crafts
Landscape use: borders, massed planting
Sensory benefits: taste, smell, visual


Chives – Allium schoenoprasum

Chives are a colorful, easy to grow choice for gardening with kids. The flowers and stems are edible and when dried they are great for use in crafts. In addition, they are colorful and fun for children to smell.

Light: full sun
Growth: perennial
Culture: well-drained, medium rich soil
Zone: 3-9
Use: culinary, crafts
Landscape use: borders, massed planting
Sensory benefits: taste, smell, visual


Nasturtiums – Tropaeolum majus

Colorful flowers and fun shaped leaves make nasturtiums a great pick for growing with your children. Their seeds are large, making them easy for small fingers to handle when planting. Children will also enjoy trying out the freshly washed, peppery tasting leaves. In addition, they are easy to grow and can attract hummingbirds to your garden.

Light: full sun
Growth: annuals, some tender perennials
Culture: well-drained, average soil
Uses: culinary
Landscape use: borders, ground cover, container Sensory benefits: taste, visual
Good picks: Tropaeolum majus 'Empress of India,' T. majus 'Peach Melba,' T. majus 'Moonlight'


Scented geraniums – Pelargonium sp.

Scented geraniums are grown mainly for their foliage because of the wonderful scents they emit when their leaves are rubbed or brushed. They
come in peppermint, nutmeg, apple,strawberry, and rose -scented varieties to name a few. They work well in containers and small spaces,and can be grown successfully indoors and out. Children will enjoy the great sensory benefits that these plants provide.

Light: full sun
Zone: usually hardy to zone 9
Growth: perennials, usually hardy to zone 9
Sensory benefits:smell
Cultivation: well drained, neutral to alkaline soil, moist soil, plants can take some drought
Use: container plants, crafts, culinary (many species are not GRAS -generallyrecognized as safe)
Good picks: Pelargonium odoratissimum (apple geranium), P. tomentosum (peppermint geranium), P. graveolens (rose-scented geranium)


Lemon verbena – Aloysia citrodora

Lemon verbena has a pleasing lemony scent that delights children and adults alike. The scent remains long after the foliage is dried making the dried leaves a wonderful choice for potpourris.

Light: full sun to partial shade
Zone: Perennial in 8-12
Growth: Perennial in zones 8-11,
Culture: well-drained, medium-rich soil when exposed to frost it becomes deciduous
Use: culinary, medicinal, landscaping
Sensory benefits: taste, smell


Marigolds – Calendula sp.

Marigolds have many kid benefits. They are colorful, easy to grow, and easy to start fromseed. The flowers are edible and fun to taste. They
are a great choice for beginning and young gardeners because they will tolerate small amounts of abuse and neglect.

Light: full sun
Use: culinary, crafts, landscape borders
Growth: annual
Sensory benefits: visual, taste
Culture: slightly moist garden loam

Good picks: Calendula officinalis ‘Greenheart Orange,’ C. officinalis ‘Nana Apricots &Oranges,’ C. officinalis ‘Porcupine,’C. officinalis ‘Radio Extra Selected, ’C. officinalis ‘Touch of Red’


Mints – Mentha sp.

Mints offer many great choices for a children’s garden. Their fragrance delights gardeners of all ages. They are prolific growers and it is recommended that they be planted in containers to keep them in check.

Light: full sun to part shade
Zone: hardy to zone 5
Growth: perennials, some annuals
Use: culinary, crafts (potpourri)
Culture: slightly moist garden loam, well-drained
Sensory benefits: taste
Good picks: Mentha x piperita (peppermint), M.spicata (spearmint), M. suaveolens (pineapple or apple mint)

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