What are the best herbs to grow in Iowa?
Finding the best herbs to grow in Iowa was not as easy as I thought. Some require extensive care, others are prone to pests, and lots are just not simple & quick enough to grow.
That’s why I created a list of the 10 Best Herbs to Grow in Iowa!
This ultimate guide will give you the best herbs to grow, why you should grow them, and even how to grow them.
Read THIS Before Growing Herbs in Iowa
Knowing what hardiness zone Iowa is in is critical to understanding the best herbs that can be grown.
It can be the difference between your herb garden thriving and providing a bountiful yield or producing nothing.
Iowa is mostly considered Hardiness Zone 5, while some of the lower-level regions are Hardiness Zone 6.
10 Best Herbs to Grow in Iowa
Popular Varieties: Sweet, Genovese, Thai, Purple
Why Grow Basil in Iowa?
Thrives in Heat:
- As the summers get warmer basil continues to get grow and become more flavorful. Look no further for a low-maintenance herb.
- Basil may be the easiest herbs to grow. You do not need to fertilize it, only need to water it once to twice a week, and it can be planted in any soil.
Perfect for ANY Garden:
- Basil is perfect for urban gardening, window boxes, garden containers, and areas of little space. It is also great in traditional gardens, raised garden beds, and even indoors.
Harvested All Summer:
- Basil can be harvested all summer. The more you harvest basil the more it will grow.
THESE Could Harm Your Basil
- Basil is one of the most disease-prone herbs. Expect blight, fungus, and rot to affect your plant in the later summer months.
- If the weather drops below 35 degrees Fahrenheit expect your basil to not grow, become stunted, and die. This means you should grow your herb well after the last frost and harvest before the first frost of the fall.
Learn How To Grow Basil HERE
Popular Varieties: Italian, Common, Greek, Cuban
Why Grow Oregano in Iowa?
- Oregano is the hardiest herb when it comes to cold in Iowa. Unlike any other herb on this list, Oregano can be grown throughout the entire year.
- Oregano can also be considered an ornamental plant that is perfect for edges, garden containers, and traditional gardens. This means it can add color, features, and beauty to any type of yard.
- One of the greatest benefits of growing oregano is that it is a perennial plant. This means you plant it once and you can enjoy it every year!
THESE Could Harm Your Oregano
- Herbs are rarely invasive plants. But herbs can be. If you don’t prune your oregano it can quickly take over a garden and hurt your other plants.
- Unlike other herbs, extreme heat won’t kill your herbs. However, it will hurt its flavor and longevity of its use.
Learn How To Grow Oregano HERE
Popular Varieties: Peppermint, Spearmint, Chocolate
Why Grow Mint in Iowa?
Thrives in Cold:
- While some herbs are cold-hardy, Mint thrive in Iowa’s cold weather. If you want the tastiest peas you should grow them in winter and early spring.
- Mint is the easiest herb to grow. You do not need to fertilize it, barely need to water it, it can be planted in any soil, and you never have to prune it!
Perfect in Containers:
- The best spot to plant mint is in gardening containers. This is because you can grow them anywhere, such as your house, gardening pot, and even a window box.
THESE Could Harm Your Mint
- Mint is incredibly invasive. This means it will spread among your garden and potentially kill your other plants within a year. Because of this most gardeners will become frustrated and naturally destroy their mint.
Learn How to Grow Mint HERE
Popular Varieties: Garden, Pineapple, Purple, Golden
Why Grow Sage in Iowa?
Thrives in the heat:
- As the summers get warmer sage continues to get bigger and more plentiful. Look no further for a low-maintenance herb.
- Sage is one of the best herbs to grow in your garden to repel mosquitoes and other insects. You can leave it in your garden, burn it, or even rub it on you to repel bugs.
Perfect in All Types of Garden:
- Some herbs only do well in the ground. Not sage. You can grow them in containers, window boxes, raised garden beds, and even in poor soil.
THESE Could Harm Your Sage
- Sage is also one of the most disease-prone herbs, especially non-garden variants. Expect your herb to most vulnerable during spring or summer (even if you properly care for them).
Learn How to Grow Sage HERE
Popular Varieties: Common, Lemon, Woolly
Why Grow Thyme in Iowa?
Thrives in the heat & cold:
- Thyme is one of the most versatile herbs. Some varieties can be grown in cold weather, some can be grown in warmer weather, and some are perfect to be grown in both types of weather.
Provides All-Summer Harvest:
- Tyme is one of the few herbs that you will be harvest from as early as spring to late fall. This means you will be able to enjoy or store it all year long.
Easy to Grow:
- Thyme is incredibly easy to grow. All you do it plant it, water it, and continue watering throughout the summer. That’s it!
THESE Could Harm Your Thyme
Birds, Squirrels, Rabbits, & Chipmunks:
- These pests will generally not harm your actual thyme. What they will do though is immediately eat soft thyme leaves if you do not protect them with netting or rodent spray.
- Thyme is one of the few herbs that insects will destroy. Insects can quickly destroy your thyme leaves before flowers grow and can destroy the herb itself if not properly cared for.
Learn How to Grow Thyme HERE
Popular Varieties: Creeping, Tuscan, Arp
Why Grow Rosemary in Iowa?
Thrives in the heat & cold:
- Rosemary is another hardy herb. Some varieties can be grown in cold weather and some can be grown in warmer weather.
Lots & Lots of Harvest:
- Rosemary is one of the few herbs that you can harvest from late spring to late fall. This means you will be able to enjoy it all year long.
- Rosemary is a herb that works great to help to cross-pollinate other herbs. Plant rosemary next to beans, cabbage, and peppers for an even larger harvest.
THESE Could Harm Your Rosemary
- Beetles are ferocious. While they typically eat leaves of trees they can also destroy rosemary plants. To help prevent this I recommend using netting.
- Drought is one of the biggest threats to growing rosemary. Rosemary plants need a consistent amount of water to thrive and produce a large harvest.
Learn How to Grow Rosemary HERE
Popular Varieties: English Lavender, French Lavender, Lavadin
Why Grow Lavender in Iowa?
- These low-maintenance herbs love the heat. The hotter the summer the better they do. And the longer summer goes on the more lavender you will have.
Perfect Ornamental Plant:
- Lavender can also be considered an ornamental plant that is perfect for lawns, edges, garden containers, and traditional gardens. This means it can add color, features, and beauty to any type of yard.
Fits in ALL Gardens:
- Regardless of whether you live in northern or southern Iowa lavender grows great in all types of gardens. I especially love growing them in raised garden beds and garden containers.
- If you have trouble with insects infecting your herbs in Iowa then you should plant lavender. This herb is one of the few in Iowa that you won’t have to worry about insect infestation all year.
THESE Could Harm Your Lavender
- When the weather turns cold then your lavender won’t die, but it will stop growing, lose its fragrance, and won’t be ready to harvest until it grows back the following year.
Learn How to Grow Lavender HERE
Popular Varieties: German & Roman
Why Grow Green Chamomile in Iowa
Thrives in Droughts:
- Chamomile is another great herb that requires little to no additional watering than what it will get from rain. This makes it the perfect herb to grow in Iowa.
- One of the greatest benefits of growing chamomile is that it is a perennial plant. This means you plant it once and you can enjoy it every year! I recommend planting & growing chamomile anywhere in your yard!
THESE Could Harm Your Chamomile
- Rabbits, Deer, & even birds love eating chamomile. They’ll eat you’ll leave and even your flower buds if you do not protect them with netting or rodent spray.
- Like most perennial herbs, chamomile will begin dying off once frost touches it. This means you can only grow this herb in late spring to early autumn.
Learn How to Grow Chamomile HERE
Popular Varieties: Solo, Snow Mountain, Aglio
Why Grow Garlic in Iowa?
Thrives in Droughts:
- Garlic is one of the few herbs that can thrive in droughts and extreme heat. It requires little water, no care, and no fertilizer.
- Because Garlic is a perennial herb it can survive some of the most extreme temperatures compared to other herbs! You’ll notice it begins to grow in early spring and can survive all the way until late fall.
THESE Could Harm Your Garlic
- Rabbits, Deer, & even birds can dig up and destroy your garlic. Most people think animals and pests will not eat pests, but that is a common myth. Protect your garlic with netting or rodent spray.
The biggest tip I have when growing Garlic in Iowa is to place your herb in a space where you want it to grow every single year without having to move it. Most gardeners plant their herbs too close together or in an area that they decide later they want to grow other plants.
Popular Varieties: Bouquet, Dukat, Fernleaf
Why Grow Dill in Iowa?
- As you can tell there is a trend. Dill is another herb that does great in Iowa’s summer heat. The hotter, the better. But be careful, this means it could flower quicker and sour its flavor.
- This may be one of the most underrated factors for growing dill in Iowa. There are almost 4 main types of dill, all of which have a unique taste. This means you can pick your type for your specific need and climate.
THESE Could Harm Your Dill
Beetles are annoying and destroy many plants, including herbs. While they typically eat leaves of trees they also can infest dill leaves and stalks and kill this herb in less than a day. To help prevent this I recommend using netting.
Learn How to Grow Dill HERE
Common Growing Factors of Iowa’s Best Herbs
As a reminder, the below factors are common for the Best Herbs to Grow in Iowa:
- Thrives in Heat & Drought
- Thrives in Cold
- Can Grow anywhere in your yard
- Hardy against Pests & Insects
- Can be planted in ALL Types of Garden
- Great Cross-Pollinator
- Are Perennial Plants