Are you planning to grow French tarragon in your garden?
French tarragon is an essential herb in French cuisine and it is surprisingly very easy to grow. I have been growing my own French tarragon for many years now and it comes out extremely good every single time. While the herb is easy to plant and harvest, there are some important tips and tricks that one should know before planting this herb.
In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about growing French tarragon in your garden.
All You Need to Know about French Tarragon
French tarragon (artemisiadracunculus) is an aromatic herb commonly used in French cuisine. These plants give off an aromatic scent that resembles the scent of sweet anise (https://www.finegardening.com/article/french-tarragon). The plant tastes like licorice. French tarragon should not be confused with Russian tarragon or Mexican tarragon. Each of these have a distinct flavor and aroma. It is commonly used in poultry, fish, and egg dishes. It is also used in flavored vinegar, vinaigrettes, vinegar shrubs, compound butter, and salad dressings. Some people also use it in beverages, and for flavoring herb crusts.
Russian tarragon has a less intense flavor as compared to its French counterpart. Many times, Russian tarragon is mislabeled as French tarragon. You should always taste the leaves before buying them. An anise flavor and a tingle on the tip of the tongue are the characteristics you should be looking for when buying French tarragon.
Growing French Tarragon
It is easy to plant, cultivate, and harvest this herb. Here is everything you need to know about growing French tarragon yourself.
The French variety of tarragon can easily be cultivated and grown in pots or directly into the ground. It is also known as ‘little dragon‘ because of its serpentine-like twisting root structure. The tarragon plants grow only from the roots and not seeds. These roots rapidly spread when planted in a garden (https://bonnieplants.com/how-to-grow/growing-french-tarragon/). Due to its rapid growth, it is best to give these plants there own spot in the garden so that they can grow to their maximum.
Choose a site that receives plenty of sunlight and has good drainage. Remove a couple of inches of soil in width and depth for the plantation. Use worm castings, mature compost, or well-rotted manure to amend the soil and to add organic matter to it. You can also add bone meal, peat moss, or perlite to amend the soil (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XerGTjmc3kY).
Once you have amended the soil, place the root ball in the hole, and fill the hole in. Use amended soil to cover the crown and place the root firmly in place. Use water to settle the root.
If you are planting the tarragon plant in pots, choose a pot size at least 2-3 inches bigger than the root ball (https://www.almanac.com/plant/tarragon). Add a layer of drainage material in the pot and set the root ball in it. Cover the root with amended soil just like the method mentioned above.
Tarragon plant grows to about 2-3 feet in height and is a good companion to most of the other vegetables that may be growing in your garden.
Caring for French Tarragon Plant
- It is important to regularly prune the plant to prevent flowering (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LwEX4rbEmk). It will also keep the height to a maximum of 3 feet, otherwise, the plant may fall over.
- Mulching should be done in late fall in colder climates to protect the roots from extreme cold.
- You can grow new plants from root cuttings or stem cuttings.
Diseases and Pests
French tarragon plants may be affected by the following pests/diseases:
- Downy mildew
- White and other forms of rust
- Powdery mildew
- Stem and fungal diseases
It is important to keep your plant roots well-drained to prevent these issues. Also, each plant should have space to breathe and for airflow. This will prevent mildew and rust from damaging your tarragon.
Harvesting French Tarragon
Harvesting your tarragon plant is also simple and easy.
- Harvesting of the tarragon plant should be done regularly. Regular pruning will suffice two to three plants.
- Fresh tarragon is used best in summer.
- The leaves can be frozen or dried for storage. However, leaving them to dry for too long makes the leaves lose their flavor. Therefore, store them in an airtight container as soon as they dry out.
Where does tarragon grow best?
Tarragon grows best in areas that receive full sun.
Is tarragon easy to grow?
Yes, tarragon is one of the easiest herbs to grow.
Can French tarragon be grown indoors?
Yes, French tarragon can be grown indoors in pots. Refer to the information mentioned above.
Does tarragon grow back each year?
Tarragon is a perennial herb. Divide the plant every third year to renew it.
This was all you needed to know about how to grow tarragon (artemisiadracunculus). It is important to keep in mind that there is a difference between French and Russian tarragon. Make sure you get the leaves of the French variety to grow your French tarragon. Here is a recap of the important things to keep in mind when growing tarragon:
- It only grows from established plants and not seeds
- It should be planted 2-3 feet apart in well-drained soil
- It grows 2-3 feet in height
- Add fertilizers to get healthy plants
Do you have any questions about how to grow tarragon? If yes, comment below and we will get back to you.