If you’ve ever wondered if you can grow herb gardens in Arizona with scorching desert sun, you’re in the right place!
In this article, the best herbs to grow in Arizona, we’re taking a deep dive into the world of fresh herbs, perfect for a thriving herb garden in Grand Canyon State.
I will cover everything you need to know to start your own herb garden, including which herbs thrive in Arizona, along with how to grow each Arizona herb.
Sound like a plan? Let’s get started.
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Growing Fresh Herbs in Arizona
Arizona’s climate is known for its scorching summers and relatively mild winters. While this might pose a challenge for gardening, it’s not insurmountable.
The good news is that many herbs love warmer climates, which, with proper care, will do very well in your Arizona garden.
Let’s explore the Arizona climate and the herbs that can flourish in the Arizona desert.
Understanding Arizona’s Climate
Before diving into herb selection, it’s crucial to understand the unique climate of Arizona.
Arizona’s climate is quite diverse because of its vast landscape, and it can be neatly broken down into several climate zones.
Let’s take a closer look at Arizona’s climate:
Low Desert (Sonoran Desert)
The southernmost part of Arizona, including Phoenix (where I live) and Tucson, falls into the low desert zone.
With scorching, hot summers (often exceeding 100°F) and mild winters. Rainfall is meager, mainly during the monsoon season in July and August, and frost is rare.
High Desert (Colorado Plateau)
This region covers the northern part of the state, including Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon area.
The high desert experiences four distinct seasons. Summers are warm but not as scorching as the low desert. Winters can be cold, with snowfall in some areas.
Spring and fall are generally pleasant.
The mountainous areas, like the White Mountains in the east, enjoy cooler temperatures, even in summer. Snow is common in winter.
The northeastern state has a mix of high desert and mountain climates. It’s known for its unique red rock formations and has cooler summer weather than the low desert.
Basin and Range Zone
In the western part of Arizona, the climate varies, but it generally shares the hot and dry characteristics of the low desert.
Top Herbs to Grow in Arizona
When it comes to growing herbs in Arizona, it’s helpful to categorize them into annual and perennial herbs.
This makes it easier to plan your herb garden.
So, here are some of the best herbs to grow in Arizona, sorted by whether they’re annual or perennial:
Annual Herbs for Arizona
An annual plant completes its entire life cycle in a single growing season, typically within a year.
Annual herb plants germinate from seeds, grow, bloom, produce, and die within this relatively short timeframe. They are known for their rapid growth and are usually characterized by a single season of productivity.
Basil is an annual herb that boasts fragrant, green leaves with a sweet and slightly peppery aroma. It’s a superstar in the kitchen, often used in various dishes to add flavor, from Italian pesto to salads and sauces.
How to grow Basil in Arizona
You can grow basil from seeds or transplants in late winter (February to March) to give it a head start before the intense summer heat.
Basil loves the sun, so ensure it gets at least 6-8 hours of sunlight daily with late afternoon shade. Plant basil in well-drained soil, keeping it consistently moist but not waterlogged.
Pinch off Basil flowers to encourage more leaf growth.
Related article: How to Grow Basil in Arizona
Cilantro has bright green, feathery leaves and a fresh, zesty flavor that’s a little citrusy and a little earthy. It’s the go-to herb in dishes like salsa, guacamole, curries, and tacos, bringing that extra burst of flavor.
How to Grow Cilantro in Arizona
Cilantro prefers cooler temperatures. Plant it in late fall (October to November) or in spring (February to March).
Provide some shade during the hottest part of the day to prevent bolting. Keep the soil well-drained and evenly moist.
Parsley herb adds a crisp color and slight flavor notes to dishes. Use it for garnishing, seasoning, or brightening your culinary creations.
How to grow parsley in Arizona
Like cilantro, parsley does well when planted in late fall (October to November) or early spring (February to March).
Parsley is relatively low-maintenance. Give parsley morning sun and afternoon shade with consistently moist soil and good drainage.
Prune to encourage bushier growth.
Dill is the tall, feathery herb that offers a unique flavor – a bit like anise and a hint of citrus. It’s the star of pickles but also plays well with seafood, potatoes, and creamy sauces.
How to grow dill in Arizona
Dill can be planted in late winter (February to March) before the peak of summer heat.
Dill doesn’t like to be transplanted, so sow seeds directly where you want them to grow. Grow dill in full sun and well-drained soil.
Perennial Herbs for Arizona
Perennials are the long-term residents of your garden. Unlike annuals that complete their life cycle in one season and then vanish, perennials return year after year.
Rosemary is like the woody, fragrant hero of herbs. With its robust flavor., it’s perfect for adding depth to roasted meats, potatoes, and Mediterranean dishes.
How to grow rosemary in Arizona
Plant rosemary in the fall (October to November) or spring (February to March).
Rosemary thrives in hot weather! Give it full sun and well-draining soil.
This fast-growing herb is drought-tolerant (once established), so allow the soil to dry out between waterings.
Rosemary is a great addition to any garden because the bees love it! The bees cross-pollinate the garden which is a win-win.
With its incredible flavor and endless uses, garlic is like the rockstar of herbs and is one of my favorite herbs to grow!
Arizona’s climate is perfect for growing garlic! With its warmer weather year-round, Arizona it’s like garlic heaven.
How to grow Garlic in Arizona
Think fall, my friend. Somewhere between October and November is the sweet spot.
Find a sunny spot where it can soak up at least 6 hours of sunlight daily. Keep the soil consistently moist, but don’t overdo it – garlic dislikes wet feet.
Related article: How to grow garlic in Arizona (coming soon)
Oregano is like the zesty powerhouse of herbs. It’s got small, dark green leaves that bring a bold, slightly peppery flavor to Italian dishes, pizzas, and more.
How to grow oregano in Arizona
Oregano can be planted in either the fall (October to November) or early spring (February to March).
Provide this perennial herb with full sun and well-drained soil. It’s a hardy herb that can handle drought conditions.
Sage is the desert’s BFF! It loves the sun, can handle the heat, and is super low-maintenance. Plus, it adds delicious flavor to meats, soups, and stuffings.
How to grow sage in Arizona
Sage is best planted in the fall (October to November) or early spring (February to March). Grow sage with full sun in well-drained soil. Sage loves dry weather and only needs occasional watering.
Mint is a refreshing herb with bright green leaves. It’s like nature’s breath mint! Perfect for making minty drinks and desserts and even adding a twist to savory dishes like lamb.
How to grow mint in Arizona
Mint is super easy to grow in Arizona! Plant mint can be planted in the fall or spring (October to March)
Fair warning: Mint can be very invasive, so growing it in containers is best. It thrives in partial shade and moist soil.
Lavender is like the fragrant superstar of herbs. It flaunts beautiful purple blooms and offers a soothing aroma. It is most commonly used in essential oils, soaps, and perfumes. Love it!
How to grow lavender in Arizona
The best time to plant Lavender is in the fall (October to November) or spring (February to March).
Lavender loves full sun and well-drained soil. (If you plant it in a pot, make sure there are drainage holes in the bottom.)
Prune lavender regularly to encourage bushy growth and prevent woody stems.
Thyme is a little herb that packs a big flavor punch. Its tiny leaves are full of earthy goodness and add the best flavor to soups, stews, roasted meats, and chicken.
How to grow Thyme in Arizona
Thyme is quite flexible but happiest when planted in the spring or early fall.
Thyme is a sun-loving herb, so make sure it gets plenty of sunlight. Once thyme established, you can let the soil dry out slightly between waterings.
Prune thyme occasionally to encourage bushy growth and harvest those flavorful leaves as needed.
Lemon balm is like a burst of sunshine in your garden. It has bright green leaves with a delightful lemony scent and flavor.
It’s great for teas, salads, and adding a zesty twist to desserts.
How to grow lemon balm in Arizona
This herb thrives in the cooler months, so planting it in early spring or late summer/early fall in Arizona is ideal.
Give this herb partial shade, especially during hot Arizona summers. Keep the soil consistently moist, and you’ll have happy lemon balm.
Prune regularly to prevent it from becoming too leggy and encourage new growth.
If you’re looking for a citrusy kick, lemon verbena is your herb. Its leaves are intensely lemon-scented, making them ideal for infusing drinks, desserts, or even grilled marinades.
How to grow Lemon Verbena: Lemon verbena should be planted in the spring in Arizona. It appreciates the warmth and sunshine.
Give it a sunny spot with well-draining soil. Lemon verbena is a thirsty herb, so keep the soil consistently moist, but don’t let it sit in water. (Make sure there are drainage holes in containers.)
Prune it to maintain a bushy shape; you can even bring it indoors in winter to keep it happy.
Fennel is a unique herb with feathery, fern-like leaves and a taste reminiscent of licorice. It’s a fantastic addition to salads and seafood dishes, and it can even be roasted to bring out its sweet, aromatic flavor.
How to Grow Fennel in Arizona
Fennel is a late bloomer, so it’s best to plant it in late summer or early fall for a good harvest in Arizona.
Fennel loves full sun but also appreciates afternoon shade to protect it from the intense desert heat.
It needs consistent watering, especially during dry periods. Be patient with fennel; growing to its full potential and best flavor takes some time.
Different Types of Herb Gardens
In-Ground Herb Garden
This is where you plant herbs directly in the soil in your yard. It’s suitable if you have a spacious area and good quality, well-drained soil.
Raised garden Bed
(my personal favorite) Raised garden beds are a great option for growing fresh herbs or anything really.
Here’s why I love my raised garden beds:
- Better Drainage: No more soggy roots.
- Soil Control: You call the shots on soil quality.
- Less Weeding: Bid farewell to endless weed battles.
- Warmer Soil: Extend the growing season.
- Easy Access: No more back-breaking gardening.
- Pest Defense: Keep critters at bay.
- Visual Charm: Stylish and organized.
Related article: How to Start a Raised Garden Bed Arizona Style!
Container Herb garden
If you’re short on space or want to prevent herbs from spreading, go for container gardening.
I like to use containers for growing fresh herbs (and flowers) because I can move them around, giving them more sun or shade as needed.
- How to Grow Basil in Arizona
- How to Grow Garlic in Arizona
- How to Start a Raised Garden Bed
- The Best Time to Plant Roses in Arizona
- The Best Indoor Plants for Arizona
- How to Use LECA Pebbles
- The Best Plant Humidifiers
- How to Grow Garlic in Arizona
- Using Coffee Grounds in Gardens
- How to Make Homemade Plant Fertilizer
Conclusion: The Best Herbs to Grow in Arizona Herb Garden
In conclusion, growing herbs in the challenging climate of Arizona is not only feasible but also rewarding.
With this article’s growing tips and tricks, you can quickly grow herbs like basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, bee balm, garlic, and many more in your Arizona herb garden.
So go ahead and add some flavor to your life and your garden!
Roll up your sleeves, get your gardening gloves on, and plant your herb garden oasis in the desert today!
Happy Gardening, Arizona style!
I am obsessed with all things makeup and skincare and love getting my hands dirty out in the garden, my art room, or in the kitchen, whipping up something yummy for the fam.
I’m always down to chat and love collaborating with other creatives and brands alike!
Feel free to reach out anytime!