Colleen Vanderlinden

DCL

I am really starting to enjoy herbal teas. I guess it makes sense: half the fun of herbal tea (if you're a gardener) is growing the herbs yourself.

If you have a little space in your garden, or a spot for a few containers, you can grow an herbal tea garden. Here are some of the most popular herbs for tea.

Chamomile

Chamomile is known for its ability to soothe nerves, help you relax, and relieve stomach upset. The plants are very attractive, with tiny, daisy-like flowers covering the plants. It spreads, rather than growing tall, so it's great for a container, or planted as a groundcover or lawn replacement. To use chamomile for tea, harvest the flowers and steep 1 tablespoon of fresh (or 2 teaspoons of dried) flowers in one cup of boiling water. The blossoms should be steeped for five to ten minutes, maximum. Chamomile has a delicious apple-like fragrance.

Mint

When I asked on Twitter and Facebook which herbs people enjoyed growing for tea, I got a ton of responses (thanks to everyone who responded!) saying that mint, in one of its many forms, was a favorite. Spearmint, peppermint, chocolate mint and apple mint were at the top of the list. I grow spearmint in my garden, and I absolutely love the invigorating tea it makes. One caveat: mint can spread far and fast in the garden, so you may want to plant it in a container.

Lemon Balm

With a clean, lemony flavor, lemon balm was another fave among my Facebook friends. It is high in antioxidants, and, like chamomile, has a reputation for being a calming herb. A member of the mint family, it also will spread in the garden, and tolerates shade better than most herbs. Lemon balm is hardy to zone 4.

Thyme

You may not think of thyme as an herb for tea, but if you suffer from frequent colds and sore throats, you might want to start. A tea made with 3 teaspoons fresh or 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves does wonders for soothing a sore throat. You may want to add honey to sweeten it up some. In my opinion, thyme tea is not the tastiest. Thyme is also hardy to zone 4, and grows well both in the garden and in containers. These four herbs will give you a good start on growing an herbal tea garden. There are many more, including lemon verbena, anise hyssop, calendula, borage, and lavender that also make tasty, useful teas, but the ones I profiled above seem to have the most fans. As an added bonus, they are guaranteed to attract beneficial insects, particularly pollinators, to your garden. Do you grow any herbs for tea? Watch Video: Emeril Green: How to Make Sweet Tea