21 Best Plants to Grow in an Herbal Tea Garden

If you love sipping on warming beverages and growing plants, you’ll enjoy growing an herbal tea garden. Join farmer Briana Yablonski as she shares 21 of the best plants to grow in an herbal tea garden.

A clear glass mug sitting on an outdoor table displays golden tea and an herbal garnish next to a silver teapot.


When people think of edible gardens, they often imagine vegetables like tomatoes and cucumbers or herbs like dill and parsley. But you can also grow a long list of plants to use in herbal teas! Whether you’re looking for a refreshing mint tea or a bright citrus flavor, all you have to do is turn to your garden.

Join us as we cover 21 of the best plants to grow in an herbal tea garden.

Lemon Balm

Close-up of Melissa officinalis in the garden. Melissa officinalis, commonly known as Lemon Balm, is a fragrant, bushy herb with bright green, heart-shaped leaves that have a wrinkled texture.
Lemon balm is a fragrant, easy-to-grow perennial herb used for tea or as a bouquet filler.
botanical-name botanical name Melissa officinalis
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 3 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4–9

Lemon balm is a perennial herb that produces tender, green leaves with a citrus aroma and flavor. You can toss the leaves in water to create a bright and refreshing tea or trim a few lemon balm stems to serve as a bouquet filler.

This herb is hardy and easy to grow, making it a great choice for beginner and experienced gardeners. If you plant it in a well-draining area that receives at least six hours of sun, the plant will remain happy.

However, take note that lemon balm will easily spread through a garden. Plant it near a rock border or in a pot to help keep it contained.

German Chamomile

Close-up of a flowering Matricaria recutita plant in a garden. Matricaria recutita, commonly known as German Chamomile, is a delicate annual herb with finely divided, feathery leaves that give it a lacy appearance. It produces charming, daisy-like flowers with white petals and yellow centers on slender, branching stems.
Fresh chamomile tea has a delightful, lightly floral taste that outshines tea bags.
botanical-name botanical name Matricaria recutita
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 1–2 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3–10

While you may be familiar with the calming benefits of chamomile tea, the taste of fresh chamomile tea is remarkable. Its lightly floral and subtly sweet flavor puts old tea bags to shame. German chamomile is an annual plant, unlike the perennial Roman chamomile.

Although German chamomile is an annual, it produces many small daisy-like flowers. Harvesting mature flowers from their stems causes the plants to produce flowers throughout the summer continuously.

Since German chamomile is an annual, you’ll need to plant new seeds or seedlings in your tea garden each spring (it may reseed, however). Plant multiple plants to form attractive clumps or scatter them throughout your garden to attract pollinators. While seedlings prefer moist soil, mature plants can tolerate moderate drought, although they flower more reliably with consistent moisture.


Close-up of Cymbopogon citratus in the garden. Cymbopogon citratus, commonly known as Lemongrass, is a tall, perennial grass with long, slender, pale green leaves. These leaves are sharply edged and emit a strong lemon fragrance.
Protect your lemongrass from frost or bring it indoors during winter.
botanical-name botanical name Cymbopogon citratus
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 4–5  feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4–9

Not only does lemongrass add a distinct flavor to curry paste and Thai soups, but it also adds a bright, citrus flavor to herbal teas. While cooks prize the tender inner stem for curry paste, you can use the entire stem and leaves for tea.

Since lemongrass is native to the tropics, wait until the danger of frost has passed before planting it outside. Set the seedlings in a well-drained location with full sun, and keep the soil moist. Lemongrass will take three to four months to form thick stems, but you can harvest leaves throughout the spring and summer.

Lemongrass plants will die when frost arrives, but you can dig the plants in the fall and store them indoors in pots. Although the plants won’t grow much during the winter, you can replant them outdoors the following spring.


Close-up of Zingiber officinale in the garden. Zingiber officinale, commonly known as Ginger, is a tropical, herbaceous plant with thick, knotty rhizomes. Ginger's most recognizable feature is its underground rhizome, used as a culinary spice, with its pale, tan-colored skin and pungent aroma.
Keep the plants well-watered and nourished, and in the fall, you can harvest the tender ginger rhizomes.
botanical-name botanical name Zingiber officinale
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 3–4  feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4–9

You’ll be hooked once you experience the thrill of growing baby ginger. With some warm weather, patience, and proper care, you’ll end up with tender, spicy ginger rhizomes and lush green leaves.

Since ginger takes so long to grow, plant it outside as soon as the temperature remains above 50°F. A high tunnel or cold frame can help you get a jump on the growing season, as will pre-sprouting ginger rhizomes indoors.

Ensure that you supply your ginger plants with plenty of moisture and nutrients. As the leaves grow above ground, the rhizomes will expand below the soil. You can begin to dig up portions of ginger rhizomes in the fall. Since baby ginger is more tender than the ginger rhizomes commonly found in stores, use it within a couple of weeks or pop it in the freezer.

Bronze Fennel

Close-up of Foeniculum vulgare 'Bronze' growing in a garden. Foeniculum vulgare 'Bronze,' commonly known as Bronze Fennel, is a striking perennial herb with feathery, aromatic foliage. It features finely divided, fern-like leaves in a unique and attractive bronze to deep purple hue.
Bronze fennel offers an anise flavor like culinary fennel but with red, feathery fronds.
botanical-name botanical name Foeniculum vulgare ‘Bronze’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 1–3 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3–9

Bronze fennel has the same anise flavor as common culinary fennel but produces many red, feathery fronds rather than a bulb. These leaves impart a sweet flavor to herbal tea and taste great on their own or blended with other herbs.

Bronze fennel is a perennial, and it produces yellow, umbel-shaped flowers. You can also use these flowers in teas or to garnish dishes.


Close-up of Mentha x piperita in the garden. Mentha x piperita, commonly known as Peppermint, is a vigorous, spreading herb with lance-shaped, serrated leaves that are dark green with reddish veins.
Peppermint is a popular choice for herbal tea, and you can use fresh or dried leaves.
botanical-name botanical name Mentha x piperita
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 1–3 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3–8

Many mint types work well in herbal tea gardens, but peppermint brings the refreshing and crisp mint flavor many people love. You can use fresh or dried leaves to create an invigorating herbal tea.

Peppermint plants are easy to grow if they have access to at least six hours of daily sun and well-draining soil. The plants can handle a bit of drought, but they prefer moderately moist soil. Before you plant peppermint directly in your garden, be aware that it can quickly spread throughout an area. To keep it contained, plant in an area with a solid border that needs a filler, such as a raised bed, or keep it in a pot or planter.

Since peppermint is a perennial, it will come back for multiple years. And if you want to add mint to a new area of your garden, you can easily propagate it via division or stem cuttings.


Close-up of a flowering Nepeta cataria plant in a raised bed. Nepeta cataria, commonly known as Catnip, is a low-growing perennial herb with aromatic, heart-shaped leaves that are grayish-green and covered in fine hairs. It produces clusters of small lavender-blue flowers on upright stems.
Catnip can easily grow in full sun with well-draining soil, but it may spread aggressively.
botanical-name botanical name Nepeta cataria
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 2–3 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3–7

Sure, you can give catnip to cats, but this herb also makes an excellent addition to an herbal tea garden. Steeping the leaves or flowers in water creates a tea that some claim has relaxing properties. However, there isn’t much research about the impact of this tea on humans.

Catnip is a perennial plant that grows in small clumps. It grows readily if you place it in a location with well-draining soil and full sun. Sometimes, catnip grows a little too well and takes over an area, so monitor its spread after planting.

Anise Hyssop

Close-up of a flowering Agastache foeniculum plant in a sunny garden. Agastache foeniculum, commonly known as Anise Hyssop, is a perennial herb with attractive, lance-shaped leaves that are aromatic and gray-green in color. It produces spikes of tubular, lavender to blue-violet flowers, creating a striking vertical display in the garden.
To accommodate the large size of anise hyssop, give it ample garden space with good airflow.
botanical-name botanical name Agastache foeniculum
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 2–4 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4–9

A member of the mint family, anise hyssop is a short-lived perennial plant that produces foliage and flowers with an anise-like fragrance. Steeping the leaves in water produces a subtly sweet tea with a mild black licorice flavor.

A single anise hyssop plant can grow up to four feet tall and wide, so give these plants plenty of space in the garden. Tucking them next to other tall perennials like coneflower and lemon verbena creates interesting texture and diversity while still allowing each plant to thrive.

Along with providing fragrant foliage and flowers, anise hyssop is a must-have to attract pollinators to your garden. Bees, butterflies, and hoverflies flock to the plant’s purple flower spikes. Prune off dried flowers to supply pollinators with a continuous supply of blooms.

Holy Basil

Close-up of a flowering Ocimum sanctum plant in a sunny garden. Ocimum sanctum, commonly known as Holy Basil or Tulsi, is an aromatic perennial herb with bright green leaves that are slightly serrated and ovate in shape. The plant produces spikes of small, fragrant, and tubular white to purplish-pink flowers.
Holy basil is used in Thai cuisine and Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.
botanical-name botanical name Ocimum sanctum
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 2 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10–11

Also known as tulsi, holy basil is part of the same genus as basil and is a close relative to true basil. It’s also used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine as a medicinal herb that may help humans respond and adapt to stress. Studies have documented additional potential health benefits, although more research will be needed to ensure their efficacy in large-scale studies.

In the warmest portions of the United States, you can grow holy basil as a perennial. However, in most of the United States, holy basil grows as an annual. No matter where you live, plant tulsi in an area with well-drained soil and full sun.


Close-up of a flowering Salvia rosmarinus plant in a sunny garden. Salvia rosmarinus, commonly known as Rosemary, is an evergreen, aromatic shrub with linear, needle-like leaves that are dark green on top and silvery-white underneath. It produces small, two-lipped, pale blue to lavender flowers on spikes.
Rosemary is a drought-tolerant, low-maintenance perennial shrub ideal for dry, well-drained areas.
botanical-name botanical name Salvia rosmarinus
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 2–5 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 7–11

If you’re looking for drought-tolerant options for your herbal tea garden, rosemary has to be on your list. This perennial shrub thrives in dry soil and doesn’t require fertilization. However, it hates oversaturated soil, so plant it in a well-draining area.

Rosemary will die back in colder portions of the United States, but you can dig up the plants and move them indoors during the winter. It survives year-round in zones seven and above, so don’t worry about digging it up.

Clipping the tips of rosemary plants will give you fragrant foliage to use in teas and help maintain the plant’s shape. Aim to remove about one-third of the plant’s foliage in the late spring and again in the fall as part of the plant’s annual pruning.


Close-up of a blooming rose plant in the garden. Rosa, commonly known as Roses, are deciduous or evergreen shrubs and climbers with pinnately compound leaves. Its blooms are soft pink, double, and consist of many layers of rounded petals.
Roses offer garden beauty and antioxidant-rich tea from their petals and rose hips.
botanical-name botanical name Rosa spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 2–12 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3–10

You probably know that roses are beautiful additions to the garden, but did you know these plants can be used to create herbal tea? Both rose petals and rose hips create antioxidant-rich tea with a fruity and floral flavor.

You can use any type of rose for herbal tea, but some species and varieties produce more rose hips than others. Species roses, also known as wild roses or native roses, often produce many rose hips that last into winter. The swamp rose, Carolina rose, and Virginia rose are all species or native roses.

If you want to harvest both rose petals and rose hips for tea, remember that plants produce rose hips from flowers. Therefore, leave some flowers on the plant so they develop into rose hips.

Purple Coneflower

Close-up of blooming Coneflowers in the garden. Echinacea purpurea, commonly known as Purple Coneflower, is a hardy, herbaceous perennial with coarse, toothed leaves that are lance-shaped. It produces large, daisy-like flowers with a distinctive coppery-brown central cone surrounded by vibrant purple to pink ray petals.
Purple coneflower roots provide an earthy-floral flavor to tea.
botanical-name botanical name Echinacea purpurea
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 2–3 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4–9

People have long used the roots of purple coneflower to create herbal tea rich in antioxidants. Steeping coneflower roots in water produces an earthy and floral tea.

In the garden, purple coneflower is a rockstar. The perennial flower grows in clumps and produces purple and pink flowers that attract butterflies, bees, and other pollinators. Once the flowers set seed, songbirds flock to the plants to feed.

Purple coneflower is easy to grow if you plant it in a sunny and well-drained area. It can tolerate poor soil and drought and doesn’t require much maintenance.

Lemon Verbena

Close-up of a flowering Aloysia citriodora plant in a garden. Aloysia citriodora, commonly known as Lemon Verbena, is an aromatic, deciduous shrub with elongated, lance-shaped leaves that are bright green. It produces clusters of tiny, white flowers.
Lemon verbena, a fragrant perennial, yields a refreshing tea when its citrusy leaves are steeped.
botanical-name botanical name Aloysia citriodora
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 3–8 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8–11

Lemon verbena is a tender perennial shrub that produces bright green leaves with a citrusy fragrance. Steeping the leaves in hot water creates a refreshing tea, and mixing lemon verbena with other less palatable herbs helps create a tastier tea.

Although lemon verbena will die in colder regions of the United States, you can grow it as an annual in these areas. Growing the lemon verbena in containers allows you to move the plant indoors in winter. 

Lemon verbena won’t spread like lemon balm, so it’s a good option if you prefer to keep your plants contained. Providing full sun and consistent moisture will keep lemon verbena happy.

White Horehound

Close-up of Marrubium vulgare in the garden. Marrubium vulgare, commonly known as White Horehound, is a low-growing, perennial herb with gray-green, wrinkled leaves that are covered in fine hairs, giving them a fuzzy texture. It produces clusters of small, white, tubular flowers on square-shaped stems.
Horehound has a slightly bitter, menthol-like flavor.
botanical-name botanical name Marrubium vulgare
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 2–3 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3–9

If you’ve ever eaten old-fashioned horehound candy or horehound cough drops, you know what this plant tastes like. It has a slightly bitter flavor reminiscent of menthol and can be great for soothing scratchy and sore throats.

Horehound is a member of the mint family, and it can rapidly spread throughout your garden. So, keep a close eye on it or plant it in a container to keep it from spreading out of control.

If you grow horehound from seed, note that the seeds can take weeks to germinate. However, the plants are easy to grow once they reach the seedling stage. Just provide them with well-draining soil and keep the soil moderately moist.

Common Chicory

Close-up of blooming Cichorium intybus in a sunny garden. Cichorium intybus, commonly known as Chicory, is a herbaceous perennial plant with lance-shaped leaves. It produces tall stems adorned with vibrant blue to lavender dandelion-like flowers.
Chicory, known for its periwinkle flowers, provides a strong taproot for herbal tea.
botanical-name botanical name Cichorium intybus
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 3–5 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3–9

You may recognize chicory for its periwinkle flowers. But this flowering plant also produces a strong taproot that you can harvest to use in herbal tea.

Chicory plants are perennials that often sprout up in areas with poor soils, like roadsides and abandoned meadows. However, they’re also easy to grow in an herbal tea garden. Since you’ll harvest the roots, plant chicory somewhere with loose and well-drained soil.

While the plants will put on rapid vegetative growth in their first year, they won’t produce flowers until their second year. Although you can dig up the roots any time, waiting until the plants are a few years old will result in larger harvests.

Roasted chicory root has been used as a coffee substitute with a mild, slightly bitter flavor.

English Lavender

Close-up of a flowering Lavandula angustifolia plant in a sunny garden. Lavandula angustifolia, commonly known as English Lavender, is an aromatic, evergreen shrub with narrow, linear leaves that are gray-green and highly fragrant. It produces slender spikes of small, tubular flowers of purple color.
Opt for English lavender for a subtly sweet, floral tea flavor.
botanical-name botanical name Lavandula angustifolia
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 2 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5–10

With so many species and cultivars of lavender available, it can be tricky to know which one to choose for tea. We recommend any English lavender since it provides a subtly sweet and floral aroma that adds flavor to teas, syrups, and baked goods.

English lavender prefers a dry and sunny environment mimicking its native Mediterranean habitat. Planting it in well-drained soil is essential, regardless of whether you grow it in the ground or a pot.

You can use the fragrant sage-colored leaves and the bright purple flowers to make tea. And since both plant parts retain their flavor over time, you can easily dry them for future use.

Purple Passionflower

Close-up of a flowering Passiflora incarnata plant. Passiflora incarnata, commonly known as Maypop or Purple Passionflower, is a vigorous and tendril-climbing vine with deeply lobed, palmate leaves. It produces unique and intricate, lavender to purple, multi-petaled flowers with a prominent central crown of filaments and stamens.
Passiflora thrives on support structures but can also trail in gardens.
botanical-name botanical name Passiflora incarnata
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 10–25 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5–9

Purple passionflower is a vining, flowering plant native to much of the southeast United States. It produces intricate, large purple flowers and delicious passionfruit. However, people often use the leaves and tendrils to make herbal tea.

Since purple passionflower produces vines with trailing tendrils, it grows well on fences, arbors, and other forms of support. However, the plant will also happily trail throughout your garden (although it will climb over whatever plants are in its path).

The vine is a perennial plant that will return yearly in warm growing zones. However, the above-ground portions of the plant die back in winter and return in spring.


Close-up of flowering Valeriana officinalis plants. Valeriana officinalis, commonly known as Valerian, is a perennial herb with pinnately compound, toothed leaves that are dark green and grow in a rosette pattern. It produces clusters of small, fragrant, and white flowers on tall, erect stems.
Valerian root has a strong flavor that can be balanced by blending with mints, ginger, or lemon verbena.
botanical-name botanical name Valeriana officinalis
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 3–5 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3–9

In recent years, valerian has been a popular herbal remedy used to help with relaxation and insomnia. And while you can find valerian root extracts and tinctures in stores to use (following your doctor’s recommendations), you can also easily grow this plant at home.

Valerian is a hardy perennial that can survive various soil types and growing conditions. However, it grows best in full sun conditions with well-draining soil.

Aim to harvest the valerian root in the spring or fall. After you dig up the roots, brush off any excess soil, then place them in a dry, cool-to-warm (but not hot), well-aerated location to dry fully. Since some people find the taste of valerian root unpleasant, consider blending them with more powerful and appealing flavors like ginger or lemon verbena.


Close-up of a flowering Hibiscus sabdariffa plant. Hibiscus sabdariffa, commonly known as Roselle or Jamaican Sorrel, is an annual shrub with lobed, palmate leaves that are green and red-veined. It produces large, showy, red calyces surrounding a central seedpod, creating a visually striking display.
Hibiscus sabdariffa is ideal for tart tea from its red calyces.
botanical-name botanical name Hibiscus sabdariffa
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 5–7 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8–11

There are many hibiscus species, but Hibiscus sabdariffa is the best for herbal tea. People also refer to this plant as Jamaican sorrel or red hibiscus. The plants produce bright red calyces that you can use to create a tart tea.

Since roselle is native to West Africa, it will only survive the winter in warm areas. However, you can grow it as a potted plant in cooler regions. No matter where you live, give this plant plenty of sun and moisture.

Roselle plants produce large, cream-colored flowers in the summer and red calyces in the fall. After you harvest the calyces, you can use them immediately or dry them for future use.

Lemon Thyme

Close-up of Variegated Thymus citriodorus. Variegated Thymus citriodorus, commonly known as Variegated Lemon Thyme, is a compact, perennial herb with aromatic, oval leaves that have green and cream-colored variegation.
Lemon thyme adds a delightful citrus flavor and fragrance to the garden and is low-growing and drought-tolerant.
botanical-name botanical name Thymus citriodorus
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 6–12 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5–9

All types of thyme make great additions to herbal tea gardens, but lemon thyme’s citrus flavor imparts a lovely taste to teas. Plus, it adds a wonderful fragrance to the garden!

Like all thyme, lemon thyme is low-growing and drought-tolerant. That means it grows well in rock gardens or between paving stones. However, provide the plants with plenty of sun to keep them happy.

You can clip off sprigs of lemon thyme throughout the growing season, but give them a full trim at least once a year. This will encourage new growth and a strong root system.


Close-up of a flowering Calendula officinalis plant in a garden. Calendula is an annual herb with bright green, lance-shaped leaves and vibrant, daisy-like flowers of bright orange and yellow. The flowers have a distinctive double-petal structure and are held on sturdy stems.
Calendula are versatile annual plants that yield daisy-like flowers for tea.
botanical-name botanical name Calendula officinalis
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 1–2 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3–11

Calendula plants fit into nearly every garden, from cut flower beds to pollinator gardens and herbal tea gardens. The annual plants produce a profusion of daisy-like flowers you can use in herbal tea. As long as you deadhead spent flowers, the plants will continue producing new blooms for three to four months. 

After the danger of frost has passed, you can sprinkle the C-shaped calendula seeds in your garden. Choose a location with well-draining soil and full sun for best results. The seed will quickly germinate and produce flowers in a couple of months.

Calendula comes in many flower colors, so you can choose one you like. ‘Resin Calendula’ has bright orange blooms, and ‘Zeolights Calendula’ produces pink and salmon flowers.

Final Thoughts

With so many different plants available, the hardest part of growing an herbal tea garden is selecting which herbs to grow! Considering your favorite flavors, your growing zone, and your garden size can help you determine the best plants to grow.

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