Rare Herbs to Grow in Your Garden: A Guide to the Exotic

Last Updated on April 15, 2024 by Real Men Sow

You can add unusual and rare herbs to grow in your garden to increase the variety and aesthetic value. You don’t have to limit your options when it comes to growing herbs that you know or use regularly in the kitchen. This will also open up new culinary possibilities and natural remedies.

Anise hyssop (Agastache Foeniculum)

The herb anise hyssop has a similar flavour to anise. However, it’s neither anise seed nor hyssop or a combination of both. This herb is a member of the mint family and adds a mild minty, liquorice taste to vegetable dishes and salads. The leaves can be used to make tea, or the seeds can be used in baking as an anise substitute. Lavender blossoms in impressive spikes are a beautiful addition to any herb garden.

Anise hyssop is compatible with most herbs, even alliums like chives or garlic. The growing media should be kept moist until the plants have been established. The soil can be allowed to dry between watering.

Lovage (Levisticum Officinale)

Loving your herb garden will give you a variety of herbs. The bright celery-like leaves are great for salads and can even be used as a substitute for parsley in some of your favorite recipes. The lovage seeds, which we are surprisingly familiar with as celery seeds, can be used to flavor soups, chilis and other dips.

Lovage likes full sun and well-draining soil. When watering, keep the potting mixture moist but not too soggy.

Marsh-mallow (Althaea Officinalis)

Because of the Greek word for “althos”, which means “healing,” marshmallow plants can be sold as herbal remedies. The tall, graceful spikes of flowers are white or pale pink in color. The roots of the marsh-mallow plants contain mucilage. This is a gelatinous substance that was used by the French to make a confection which has evolved into the fluffy, white marshmallow.

Epazote (Dysphania ambrosioides)

Epazote, which is well-known for its pungent taste, is used in traditional Mexican medicine and Mexican cuisine. It is thought to regulate digestion, reduce stomach cramps, and help with gas and bloating. 

It is often used to flavor dishes that contain black beans. Avoid excessive consumption of epazote. Excessive consumption of epazote can lead to nausea and convulsions.

French sorrel (Rumex Scutatus)

The french sorrel plant’s lance-shaped leaves can grow to 6-12 inches in length. They are similar to spinach and can be used in many dishes that require an acidic, citrus flavor. It is homeopathically used to treat chronic and sudden-onset pain.

French sorrel has a long taproot so it is best to grow it in deep containers. The potting mix should be allowed to dry slightly between waterings.

Sweet cicely (Myrrhis odorata)

Sweet cicely was widely cultivated in the past to ease stomach pains and relieve coughs. You can either cook it as spinach or raw for salads and egg dishes. The stalks can be cut and used in the same way as celery. Roots can also be used to make wine.

Avoid planting sweet cicely in the vicinity of parsley, as they attract the same pests. To stop plants spreading voraciously, remove flower blooms before they start to set seeds.

Lettuce-leaf basil (Ocimum Basilicum)

Yes, yes. Basil isn’t a difficult or uncommon herb to grow. However, lettuce-leaf basil deserves to be included in this list. The leaves are brilliantly green and can grow to as long as 5 inches in length. They look a lot like lettuce leaves. They are milder and sweeter and can be used to wrap chicken or fish for grilling. Their large size and subdued flavor make them ideal for salads and sandwiches.

Lettuce basil leaves like full sun, so it is important to keep them moist. However, they should not be overwatered as soil-borne fungal diseases can quickly kill young plants.

Use a loose medium to grow your marsh-mallows. You can also add sand to standard potting mixes. They love full sun and moist soils.

Saffron (Crocus Sativus)

The most expensive spice in the world is saffron, which is made from purple saffron Crocus plants, which are autumn-blooming crocus. This mysterious spice is derived from its bold, threadlike red stigmas. It gives rice dishes and paella a distinctive yellow color. The plant only produces three stigmas per bloom and they can only bloom for one week. This results in a very high price.

Saffron requires well-draining soil with moderately high organic matter. Full sun will cause the bulbs to rot.

Stevia (Stevia Rebaudiana)

Stevia is well-known in recent health efforts to reduce sugar intake by using natural, alternate products. Its leaves are 30 times sweeter than sugar and can either be dried or fresh. One plant can produce up to 1/2 pound of dried, calorie free leaves.

Stevia plants thrive in containers, but they prefer their own space. If you are planting in the ground, they prefer 18 inches between plants. After flowers have appeared, be sure to collect the whole plant before you cut more than one.

Borage (Borago Officinalis)

Borage’s cucumber-flavored leaves, also known as starflower, are used in teas and other beverages. Bright, star-shaped, blue flowers add a touch of flavor to salads, sandwiches, and dips. 

They lose their flavor if they are dried so make sure to use them fresh. Borage requires full sun. Root rot can occur if the soil is too moist.

Toothache plant (Acmella Oleracea)

The toothache plant, as its name implies, has been used for centuries to relieve toothaches. To induce a tingling sensation or numbing sensation in the mouth, you can chew the leaves or golden yellow flowers for just a few seconds. When growing a toothache plant keep the soil moist but not too wet.

Tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum)

Tulsi, also known as holy basil and grown in most of the Indian subcontinent, is a revered herb in Hinduism. It is one the most important herbs in Ayurvedic medicine. Tulsi essential oils, paste, as well as powder, have many proven benefits. Tulsi’s essential oils, paste, and powder have many proven benefits.

Tulipsi can be treated as an annual. Make sure the soil is not too dry or waterlogged. Plants, like other herbs, prefer fertile soil that is well-drained and gets full sun.

Fairy Wand (Chamaelirium luteum)

Because of its tiny, pink or white flowers, fairy wand, a native to Eastern North America is also called angel’s fishing rod. Native Americans use the herbaceous perennial plant extensively to improve fertility and treat problems with menstruation.

Although plants are drought-tolerant, they can be started from seeds. However, dividing rhizomes for propagation is preferred.

Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium)

The perennial daisy plant, which closely resembles chamomile and is used worldwide as a traditional medicine to treat and prevent headaches. The small daisy-like flowers, which are white with bright yellow centers, and the feathery leaves that give off a citrus scent are believed to repel bees.

Feverfew prefers well-drained, but not dry, potting soils. If it is allowed to go to seeds, keep an eye on it as it can reseed freely and become invasive.

Vietnamese coriander (Persicaria Odorata)

The Vietnamese coriander is similar in taste to American cilantro, but it can withstand higher temperatures and not bolt. It is often used in Southeast Asian cuisines as a substitute for peppermint. It has a strong, smoky flavor.

Keep the soil moist and not plant it with other herbs. Its creeping nature makes it grow into the groundcover, taking over space and pushing out other plants.

Real Men Sow
Real Men Sow

Hello, I’m Pete and I’m currently based in the west of Scotland, in a small place called Rosneath, where I’m exploring my garden adventures. I personally started gardening around 6 years ago and initially, I started out by growing my favorite fruits and berries, such as strawberries, Raspberries & Gooseberries. Since then I’ve added a lot of vegetables and working closely with my neighbor, it’s been a lot of fun.