uncommon herbs

5 Uncommon Herbs for Your Garden

Uncommon Herbs: Five for the Garden

We all are familiar with the more common culinary herbs like basil, oregano, thyme and parsley. Here are 5 more uncommon herbs you may want to plant.

uncommon herbs

Comfrey in bloom

Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) is a striking perennial herb to include in the garden. It is a bold and leafy plant, with 4 to 5 foot stems, large rough leaves and small hanging bunches of pink or blue bell flowers. Originally comfrey was grown as a valuable herbal in medicinal gardens. The common names boneset, knitbone and bruise wort indicate its use in poultices for sprains, swellings and bruises.

With deep roots that draw minerals, it is rich in potassium, nitrogen and phosphate. The composted leaves make a good fertilizer. Simply soak a one part comfrey leaves to three parts water, let sit for a week and strain the rich tea.

Use it as you would any liquid fertilizer for your tomatoes, cucumbers, squash or root crops. In fall, as the flowers die down, cut the plant completely back and chop it up. Add it to your compost where they’ll add a rich store of essential minerals.

uncommon herbs


Lovage (Levisticum officinale) is another tall perennial herb, reaching often to six feet in height. Lovage leaves look a little like lettuce but has a robust taste, similar to sweet celery.

In the kitchen, lovage can sweeten your soup, salad, or turkey stuffing.  There is no way you can use all the leaves of this gigantic herb, but it easy to grow and an attractive addition at the back of the herb garden.

Used mainly as a soup herb, lovage can also flavor any savory dish with its dark green spicy leaves. Use it sparingly at first, until you are used to its strength and flavor. Use the newest fresh leaves chopped into green or potato salads, or mixed with sour cream onto baked potatoes.

uncommon herbsGarlic chives (Allium tuberosum) have recently made inroads in western markets and cuisine, although they have always been used in the East.

If you’re a garlic lover, you will appreciate the subtle taste of garlic these add to your cooking. Great for adding a bit of flavor to a dish, you can use both the leaves and the bud-topped flower stalks. In the garden, they are good companion plants, driving off many pests that don’t care for the scent.

Make sure you snip away the faded flower heads before they drop seeds, or you’ll have a job rooting out thousands of seedlings the next year. This is one of the uncommon herbs that can also be grown in containers.

uncommon herbs

Salad Burnet

Salad burnet (Sanguisorba minor) is pretty enough to edge a flowerbed, with low rosettes of lacy blue-green foliage. The youngest leaves are a great addition to salads.

In Europe, the leaves are used along with chervil, chives, parsley, sorrel and yogurt or cream cheese to make a green sauce that is traditionally used with boiled eggs or potatoes. The burnet leaves have a subtle cucumber flavor, just a bit tart and spicy. Older leaves are not used, as the delicate flavor is lost as they age.

Angelica (Angelica archangelica) was once thought by 17th century herbalists to have the ability to ward off evil spirits, spells and witchcraft. It was also used for digestive ailments, and is still an ingredient in liqueurs.

The whole plant has a unique scent and is used in some perfumes. In the kitchen, it makes a nice spring tea or can be used in stewed fruits, since the stalks have a sweet flavor. A decorative herb, you can grow this tall plant just for its big cartwheels of yellow-green flowers. Angelica is a biennial, and will easily seed itself as it ripens in the second year.

uncommon herbs

Angelica in bloom

So there you have it – 5 uncommon herbs to consider adding to your herb garden next year.

Or are you already growing them? Are there others you grow that I haven’t included?

Leave us a comment below.

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