Herbal teas are delicious, have lots of benefits and are easily grown at home
Growing herbs in your garden is a really satisfying process and at the end, you have delicious fragrant herbs to use in your kitchen. I’ve written previously about growing herbs on your windowsill for use in cooking, but lots of garden herbs lend themselves brilliantly to a refreshing cup of tea, too. Herbal teas are largely caffeine-free, and lots of them have health benefits too – from calming chamomile to invigorating lemon verbena. They don’t take much space to grow – you’ll just need a small tub or container with good drainage, some good compost and your plants – and they should come back year after year. Just remember to wash your leaves thoroughly before making your brew if they’ve been grown outside.
Here, I’ll share my top herbal teas to grow in your garden for use in brewing up! Time and experience will show you how strong you like certain teas, and how much of each herb to use in your pot or tea strainer. There will likely be plenty you will have heard of, but I’ve included some more unusual choices too so you can really get creative.
Growing mint for tea
Peppermint oil is well known to have soothing properties for the stomach, so peppermint tea makes a brilliant after-dinner digestive. Black Mitcham peppermint is a great variety to try as it’s quite hardy, and doesn’t have a strong or bitter taste. There are also lots of other types of mint to grow, including Moroccan mint which is perfect for brewing Moroccan-style mint tea, delicious with a spot of honey. Don’t forget, fresh mint can also be used in a punchy mojito or alcohol-free equivalent.
Make sure to keep your mint plant well-watered and pick leaves regularly to encourage new growth. Mint is a very vigorous plant, so is best grown in a pot to keep it under control! It may take over your herb garden if planted with other species, so giving it its own container is a good idea.
Growing chamomile for tea
Chamomile tea is a popular night time tea, because of its soothing properties and gently sweet taste. Chamomile is very easy to grow, with its fragrant feathery leaves and pretty daisy-like flowers, which are used to make the tea. Plant your chamomile in well-drained soil, water regularly and place the pot in a place that receives plenty of sunlight. Make sure to trim regularly so it doesn’t become leggy.
You can pick the flowers and dry them to keep in a jar for year-round tea, but the fresh flowers are equally delicious – you’ll need about a handful of fresh flowers for a cup of tea, and a sprig of mint can be added as well. Then, look forward to a relaxing night’s sleep!
Growing lemon verbena for tea
Lemon verbena is a beautifully strong citrus-scented shrubby herb, but it is a little more tender than peppermint and chamomile so must be moved into a cool, non-freezing place over winter so the roots don’t freeze. This is another plant that has traditionally been used to treat muscle spasms, and can be beneficial for gut health because of this.
Use the slender, pointed leaves fresh with hot water for a refreshing and uplifting brew, and make sure to trim it regularly, drying the trimmings you don’t use and storing in an airtight container for use throughout the winter months. Lemon verbena prefers full sun, and must be kept well-watered but not become soggy.
Growing pineapple sage for tea
Pineapple sage releases an attractive fruity scent when the leaves are crushed, and this is a slightly more unusual addition to your tea herb garden. It’s native to Mexico and Central America, so in colder areas may just be grown as an annual, but because of its vigorous growth you should still get your money’s worth as long as it is kept well watered. It will grow tall and spread out, and has impressive poker-like red flowers that put on quite a display.
Just pick the fresh leaves and brew to taste with hot water.
I hope this has given you some brew-tiful inspiration for getting creative with the herbs you grow in your plot this summer! Remember, all of these herbal teas are just as delicious cold – just allow your pot to cool, and place into a container in the fridge where slices of lemon and other herbs can be added for a refreshing iced tea.