Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
Maturity: 40-60 days from transplant
Height: 12 to 24 inches
Spacing: 18 to 24 inches apart, 2 to 3 feet between rows
A member of the daisy family, French tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) is the classic herb to accompany fish and poultry dishes. The long, narrow leaves borne on upright stalks are a shiny green. Greenish or gray flowers may bloom in the fall. These aromatic perennial plants grow 1-2 feet tall and tend to sprawl out later in the season.
Fun Fact: Tarragon reportedly aids in digestion, and when made as a tonic is said to soothe rheumatism, arthritis and toothaches.
Heirloom Herb Seeds
Flavorful and exotic, these varieties have passed through kitchens for generations.View all
Flavorful and exotic, heirloom herbs have passed through kitchens and tea rooms for generations. And they’re easy to cultivate… try raising them indoors! Planting instructions are included with each packet and shipping is FREE!
- For true flavor, choose French tarragon
- Starts, not seeds, offer best results
- Plant outside after all danger of frost; prefers full sun to part shade and compost-amended soil
- Harvest fresh leaves 6-8 weeks after transplanting
- Typically free of diseases and pests, but water carefully to prevent mildew and root rot
French tarragon requires full sun to partial shade and rich, well-drained soil. The plant often fails due to soil that is too wet or too acidic. It can be grown outside in gardens or in containers with good drainage in the greenhouse or on a windowsill. Learn all about container gardening here.
How to Plant
To get the right variety for cooking, buy nursery stock marked “French tarragon.” Russian tarragon — which can be grown from seed — is weedy and lacks the necessary essential oils. French tarragon is a little fussy to grow, so purchase three starts to ensure planting success.
Plant each in a different location of the garden after all danger from frost has passed. Plants will die back to the root over the winter, returning in spring. Space 2-3 feet between plants and mulch well with compost. Read our article about planting and propagating herbs here.
Begin harvesting leaves 6-8 weeks after transplanting outside. Handle plants gently as they bruise easily and harvest in the morning after the dew has dried for best flavor. Tarragon is best used fresh but can be stored dry or frozen in True Liberty® Turkey Bags. These unique bags preserve herb harvests, with all the aroma and flavor locked right in.
To dry, tie the cuttings in small bunches and hang upside down in a well-ventilated, dark room. When completely dry, remove the leaves from all stems and keep whole for storage. The leaves will brown slightly during the process (watch our video How to Dry Herbs here). Crush or grind just before use.
Fresh tarragon can also be preserved in white vinegar which actually keeps the flavor better than drying.
Insects and Disease
Tarragon is not bothered by many insect pests but is susceptible to plant diseases, such as downy mildew, powdery mildew and rhizoctonia (root rot). To help prevent these problems, plant in areas that provide good air circulation and water on bright sunny mornings to allow the leaves to dry by evening.
Seed Saving Instructions
True tarragon produces no seeds. Divide mature plants in the spring or root tip cuttings anytime during the gardening season.
Provides organic matter and natural nutrients for flowers and vegetables.
Preserve your harvests by locking in the nutritional value of fresh garden crops.
Organic Worm Castings
Savvy growers know redworm castings to be rich in nutrients and beneficial microbes.
Comfortable Softgrip handles reduce stress and are non-slip for added safety.