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Planning Your Herbal Tea Garden

Fear not, DIY herbal tea newbies! Planning an herb garden isn't complicated at all. It's fun, it's easy, and it's a wonderful way to while away a blustery day, waiting for spring to arrive!

Lemongrass, lavender and mint plants in the gardenLemongrass, Mint & Lavender in a Small Garden Bed

Just follow a few simple steps to plan your flavor-filled herbal tea garden:

  • Find your available planting spots

  • Create a basic garden plan (optional, but recommended!)

  • Choose which herbs you'll grow

That's it. That's all. Easy peasy! So grab a piece of paper, a pencil, a tape measure, and let's get to it. 

How to Plan Your Herb Garden

Finding the Best Planting Spots

Go outside and look around. Get to know your outdoor spaces from a plant's point of view.

Your herbs want a home that's:  

  • Relatively flat with good drainage - Herbs can handle less-than-perfect soil conditions. What they can't tolerate is standing water around their roots.

  • Sunny most of the day - For your herbs to thrive and have good, rich flavor, they'll need at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day. A little afternoon shade is good, especially if you live in a tropical climate.

  • Near a fresh water supply - Do you really want to lug heavy buckets of water or a 50' length of hose every time your herbs need a drink? Make watering easy. Look for available growing spaces that are near a water spigot.   

Do you have limited in-ground planting space? Or none at all? Not a problem!

Most tea herbs will grow nicely in containers on your patio, deck, or doorstep ...   

Chocolate mint plantPlanter Filled With Chocolate Mint On My Deck Stairway

Or in a window box ... 

Apple mint plantsApple Mint in My Kitchen Windowbox

Believe it or not, you can even grow your tea herbs on your driveway, sidewalk, or other "un-plantable" spot. Just grow 'em in a bale of straw.

Seriously ... in a straw bale!  It works like a charm!!

Chocolate Mint plantMint In My Straw Bale Garden


Recommended Resource: Want to know more about Straw Bale Gardening? Learn from the man who invented the process. His latest book, Straw Bale Gardens Complete, is available on Amazon. Check out the book preview. Then give it a try!

Think creatively if your space is limited. You'll discover plenty of good places to grow your tea herbs, I'm sure!

creating your garden layout plan

No matter how large or how small your garden will be, it's a good idea to have a general game plan before you start planting. 

German ChamomileToo Much Chamomile in a Too Small Space (Oops!)

How to Draw a Basic Herb Garden Plan

Yes, I said "draw". But please, don't let any lack of artistic talent hold you back. You're not re-creating the Mona Lisa here. You're simply making a rough sketch that'll give you all the info you'll need when it's time to order your herb plants and seeds. 

Herbal tea garden planning sketchBeginnings of an Herbal Tea Garden Plan
(Drawn By: Me)

As you can see, my drawing isn't fancy. It isn't drawn to scale. It simply shows the "basics":

  • available spaces (with measurements)
  •  sun/shade conditions, and 
  • fresh water sources.   

Helpful Hint: If you don't have a measuring device handy, you can "walk off" your measurements. The average length of a woman's natural stride is about 2.2 feet; for men it's about 2.5 feet.

Something to keep in mind if you're creating your garden plan in the dead of winter: Sunny and shady locations change with the seasons.

A spot that's shaded in winter might get direct sunlight in summer when the sun is high in the sky.

An area that's sunny when the trees are bare could become fully shaded when the leaves grow back on a nearby tree.

choosing which herbs to grow

Now comes the fun part: Thinking about which herbs you'll grow.   

My advice is to start by growing a few teas you already know and love. Then add one or two new flavors to experiment with.

Tea Herb Flavor Profiles

ChamomileX X
Lemon BalmXX X
Stevia X
Anise Hyssop X X
LemongrassX X
Rose HipsX XX
Bee Balm XX
Lavender X
Lemon VerbenaX X

To add a splash of color to your yard, patio or balcony - and unique flavors to your cup - plan to grow at least one flowering herb, too.

Flowering herbs in an herbal tea gardenAnise Hyssop and Bee Balm Herbs in Full Bloom

Reminder ...

When you're planning your garden, be sure to give some thought to these two important details:

  • How much gardening time do you have? Herbal tea gardening is a fun adventure! Don't plant so many herbs that tending your garden becomes a chore. 

  • How much tea do you need?  Why grow bushels of herbs that'll ultimately go to waste? Plan to grow only as much as you can use - and give as gifts - in a year.

deciding what herbs to plant where

The chart below will help you choose the best location for each herb.  

Preferred Growing Conditions

GardenContainersFull SunPart SunMin. Space
Lemon BalmXXX 12"
SteviaX X 24"+
Anise HyssopX X 18"+
LemongrassX X 24"+
Rose HipsX X 24"+
Bee BalmX XX24"+
LavenderXXX 18"
Lemon VerbenaXXX24"+


Helpful Hint - When you're designing your herb garden layout, do your best to keep "like with like". 

For example: Plan to grow water-loving herbs in one area, drought-tolerant herbs in another. That way, when you water the moisture lovers, you won't risk drowning the others.

To give you an idea what your completed sketch might look like, here's the plan I created for my own DIY herbal tea garden - complete with ordering info:  

 Note: This is my current garden layout. It's evolved over time from just a single patch of chamomile to ... well, let's just say - I love growing my own teas!!

No plan? no problem!

Are you late to the DIY herbal tea party?

If growing season is already here and you haven't created a detailed garden plan ... that's okay. Many of us (yours truly, included!) started tea gardening by what I fondly call the "wing it" method. And you know what? It worked out just fine.

So go ahead. Buy a few starter plants, and go for it! With a bit of loving care, your herbs will reward you with yummy, homegrown herbal tea ... despite your lack of planning!

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