Botanical name: Artemisia dracunculus
Plant type: Herb
Tarragon is a perennial herb with long, light green leaves and tiny greenish or yellowish white flowers. For cooking, use French tarragon. Russian tarragon can easily be mistaken for French, but Russian tarragon is coarser and less flavorful than French tarragon.
- You can't grow French tarragon from seeds. You must purchase the plants or take an established plant from a friend's garden. Get the transplants in the spring or fall.
- Plant the transplants in well-drained soil about 2 to 3 feet apart in order to give each plant room to grow. A full-grown plant should cover about 12 inches of soil.
- The plants should grow to around 2 or 3 feet in height.
- Tarragon is a good companion to most vegetables in the garden.
- Be sure to prune the plant regularly to prevent flowering and to keep the height to around 2 feet (otherwise the plant will fall over).
- If you live in a colder climate, be sure to put mulch around the plants in late fall in order to protect the roots during the winter.
- To help keep your plants healthy, divide them every 3 to 4 years in the spring or fall. New plants can grow from stem cuttings or root cuttings.
- Harvest your plant regularly. Two or three plants will suffice if you regularly prune them.
- Tarragon is best used fresh in the summer.
- You can freeze the leaves or dry them. If left to dry for too long, though, the leaves lose their flavor, so be careful. As soon as the leaves are dry, store them in airtight containers.
- French tarragon, which goes great with meats, poultry, and seafood
Wit & Wisdom
Put tarragon in your shoes before a long walk to give you strength.