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Great Herbs for Kids


Lemon Balm | Sage | Lavender | Lamb’s Ear | Chives | Nasturtiums


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.

Lemon Balm photoLight: 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

Photo courtesy of Robin Siktberg©2009

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.

Sage photoLight: 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)

Photo courtesy of Robin Siktberg©2009

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.

Lavender photoLight: 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

Photo courtesy of Stockxpert.com

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.

Lamb's ear photoLight: 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

Photo courtesy of Robin Siktberg©2009

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.

Chives photoLight: 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

Photo courtesy of Robin Siktberg©2009

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.

Nasturtiums photoLight: 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'

Photo courtesy of Robin Siktberg©2009