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First Year Medicinal Garden

Easy, basic medicinal plants you can start now for your first years garden.

From Other Guides

  • A Children’s Herb Garden
  • Organic and Herbal Farming
  • Garden Plans On-Line

Elsewhere on the Web

  • Container Herb Gardening For Beginners
  • Planting An Herb Garden
  • Herb Gardening, Easy Plants

I am not an expert in gardening, however, I have experimented with many herbs over the years in various growing conditions. There are some medicinal plants you can plant and use during the their first years growth without too many problems. Many medicinal herbs take 2 or more years of growth to be medicinally potent such as ginseng and echinacea root. Others can be used after their first season or even during their first growing season.


Seed or plant?


I have started seeds indoors early, bought young seedlings and have even transplanted plants from the wild. If time is a factor, are fairly new to gardening or you have never really started anything from seed before, you may want to consider purchasing seedlings from a reputable grower. Some easy to grow herbs can be difficult from seed. I also find it’s easier to purchase a couple plants of each to see how they behave in the garden before ending up with 30 seedlings you don’t have room for.


How do I know what I can use the first year?


In general, most herbs requiring use of leaves or flowers can be used the first year. Annuals are used the first year. If roots are to be used, it is best to wait.


For example, aromatic leaves and flowers such as rosemary, chamomile, bee balm, catnip and mints can be used the first growing season. Root herbs such as echinacea, valerian, ginseng and goldenseal.


Some easy first year herbs:


Dandelion – I put seeds and transplanted root into pots. It was care free and grew prolifically. A nice deep pot will generally yield nice long roots with time. The leaves and flowers can be used anytime depending on the use.

Mints – Most varieties are easy to grow and spread quite rapidly. Put several varieties in separate pots for control and variation.

Chamomile – I found the seed quite difficult to grow however several seedlings in a basket makes a nice and aromatic hanging basket. Just pluck some flowers when you want some fresh flower tea.

Ginger – Makes a nice pot plant with a grassy look and grows well in southern gardens. I just use healthy root from the grocery store. (see Grow Sheet)

Echinacea – The root can not be used for a couple of years, however you can start it now and enjoy the flowers the first year if started early. It is easy to start from seed and will flower the first year if started early enough. (see Grow Sheet)

Catnip – Always a hit and great grower. I found it difficult from seed with some success but had great success with seedlings. See the feature on catnip for different varieties and how I got my seed to survive. (see Catnip)

Lavender – I have problems growing lavender, but everyone else I know who grows it informs me it is easy, and they have huge beautiful plants.

Kitchen herbs – Most of your kitchen herbs can be easily grown indoors with the proper conditions and many have healing properties even when eaten as food.

For more information on gardening for your region:


Beginning a Garden Design – Frequent blunders, helper sites, garden planners & organizers, hints, tips and tricks for planning your garden. Beginning gardeners start here.


The Virtual Gardener – Ask A Question.


USDA Plant Hardiness Zones – Every seed pack and plant should be labeled with it’s growing zone.