Tarragon, cilantro & other herbs - why are they so difficult to grow?

As far as I’ve ever read, much less seen, French (aka “true”) tarragon doesn’t set seed at all. Personally, I’ve never even seen it in flower, though in theory it will produce sterile flowers at some point in its lifecycle, given the right conditions (and I don’t even know what those are…) The same is true of most mints (though not the entire “mint family”) - I’ve lived near plenty of “feral”, naturalized to the point of invasiveness, colonies of mint, but don’t ever remember seeing even diminutive/vestigial flowers…

There is a “true” tarragon relative sold as “Russian tarragon” that’s grows easily from seed, but again as far as I know, no one uses it as a culinary herb, including Russians, in or outside of Russia (though true tarragon is very popular among Russians, including as a soft drink flavoring (which imo is definitely an acquired taste…:grin:)


Thanks, I read more. Estragon (Artemisia dracunculus cv sativa ou odora) can have flowers, but they are sterile (because they are hybrids). Multiplication only by cuttings and division. I did remember buying tarragon seeds probably the Russian variety ( Artemisia dracunculus var inodora ), though I didn’t succeed at all in germination. Supposedly, they should be easy to grow from seeds.


The flowers on French tarragon don’t amount to much. As to mint, I’ve grown spearmint, peppermint, and lemon mint and they all flowered. Spearmint in particular you have to keep on eye on it - I hate going away for long in the summer because it will put out a LOT of flowers.


Do you get seeds? I got flowers, but didn’t seem to have seeds, they can become invasive by growing runners.

My tarragon does well, even in a pot. I have a southern exposure. I’ve also given up on cilantro and I don’t think I’ll do basil this year. It starts out great (potted) then it just goes.

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How big is your pot?

I have a small pot I bought last year, I didn’t have time to repot it and it survived the winter. Now it’s time to do it!

For over ten years my French tarragon was very lush and healthy. Just did not come back this year, just an empty spot in the raised bed:(. I still have hopes that it might spring forth when we finally warm up here in ct.

Either it’s late this year or it has reached the end of its lifespan, 10 years is very old for a perennial plant. A renewed one will probably give you more fragrance.

It was in a window box with some other herbs. Haven’t done tarragon in a couple of years

Current aerogarden herbs.


Wow those look great. I’ve been looking into aerogardens as an alternative for growing my herbs outside too. How do you like them, and what’s your experience been with them?

I have two now, and like them a lot. The results are sort of amazing, presumably becuase of the air on the roots, and the latest ones make it hard to mess up. My newest one is the “Bounty” which has a stronger light, raises the light higher, lets you know when to add water and “nutes”, and you can get a nice seed starting accessory.

It helps to get the plugs and start your own seeds, and it helps to be thoughtful about what you grow and will actually use. I have to cut the basil back way faster than I can eat it.

Of course, they cost some coin, and you could probably buy a lot of fresh herbs with that much money.
BTW, my husband is annoyed by both the light, and the sound of the pump. The light IS pretty bright, but the Bounty is otherwise fairly attractive to me.

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Parsley, basil, French and Mexican tarragon, thyme, shiso, chive, borrage in a horse trough on our front walk. It looked odd at first but now seems settled in. Very convenient to dash and grab a handful when cooking.


In case you’re growing these herbs again. My experience has always been that these “soft” herbs always need very well drained soil. If their roots stay “wet” they don’t do well (I’m growing my basil in a new container this year and they are yellow and not growing well - I’m sure it is a drainage issue so I will be drilling more holes in the bottom).

My basil never does well. My rosemary is great though!

In the category of life’s ironies, rosemary is something I grow with great success, in the past chopping it to the ground yearly. But since i use so little in cooking, I now just “prune” a sprig from a neighbor when i do need it.

Sorrel is another bounty that I don’t use fast enough. Once started, it thrives without care.

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