Growing Russian tarragon is not as hard as you might think. It is a perennial herb that can be found in Europe, Asia, and North America. The plant has dark green leaves, but no yellow or gray hairs.
You will usually notice the plant starting to grow after it blooms, at about six inches high. Growing Russian tarragon is similar to growing Mexican tarragon, which is what inspired my article. Both are easy herbs to grow, but I have found that Russian tarragon is more popular in Europe.
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The History of Russian Tarragon
The History of Russian Tarragon starts in the Middle Ages, with the spread of the Holy Roman Empire into Eastern Europe. In those years the plant was highly valued for the exotic and strong flavor it added to meats, fish, and poultry dishes.
The herb’s delicate woody roots, which are very thin, allowed the herb to be found in every kitchen in the empire. When the Teutonic knights returned from their campaigns in Germany and Italy, they brought with them a variety of new herbs, including gravitas (sour red apples) and pomelo.
With this wealth of new and exciting flavors, the popularity of Tarragon was soon to grow throughout Western Europe and into Central Europe as well, where it was used in everything from bread to sausage.
Medicinal Uses of Russian Tarragon
If you have never tried the healing power of Russian tarragon, then you are missing out on an incredible health aid that can make a big difference in your life. This amazing herb is native to the arid lands of Siberia, and although it’s somewhat tough to grow, it has the ability to help many people who are suffering from a number of ailments.
The medicinal uses of Russian tarragon aren’t limited to helping your skin, either; it can also help with a number of respiratory problems. Because it has natural anti-inflammatory properties, it can help reduce congestion in your chest, as well as making it easier for you to breathe.
Other medicinal uses of Russian tarragon include reducing the signs of aging, boosting your immune system, and treating allergies. In addition, this herb can help your body fight off bacterial infections.
Germinating Russian Tarragon Seeds
When growing Russian tarragon from seed, the best time to start germination is 2 to 5 weeks prior to the last frost. You can either start germination indoors, or you can directly sow your seeds in your garden.
Just place a few seeds in each spot about 1/16th deep. Seeds should be planted 18″ – 24″ inches apart. The soil needs to be at a fairly warm temperature of 60 – 70 degrees F, in order for them to germinate. Russian tarragon requires sunlight to germinate.
If you would like to start them indoors, then the best way to germinate your seeds, is by using a seed starter tray, and I like to combine this with a high quality seedling mix. Both these products are available on Amazon.
Russian tarragon seeds will germinate in approximately 7 to 14 days. Seedlings will harden off and will be ready to plant after 4 weeks, and it can be planted outdoors in early-spring.
You will want to keep the seedlings moist by misting them with water in a spray bottle daily.
Selecting a Pot or Planter
Whenever you grow herbs always choose a pot or planter that has holes in the bottom for drainage. What you must realize is that smaller pots do not give the Russian Tarragon as much room to spread out, and get the nutrients that they need.
When selecting the size of your pot, I would recommend using a pot that is a minimum of 8″ to 12″ inches in diameter that is deep. This will give your plant more than enough room, so that the roots can fully expand.
Proper soil for growing Tarragon can be difficult to find if you do not know what you are looking for. This perennial herb will grow in almost any type of soil, as long as it has the right nutrients to help it flourish. The soil should be cool, and moist, but not dry, or extremely damp.
When selecting your soil, opt for a mixture of coarse sand, organic matter such as peat moss or coconut fiber, and natural compost. These three things are all excellent, growing mediums, and can be found at most garden centers. Another option would be to purchase a composted bark tilling material, which is also excellent when used in conjunction with a natural compost base.
When choosing the type of fertilizer to mix with your soil, remember that you want the most even and healthy mixture possible. Do not use any type of fertilizers that contain large amounts of nitrogen or phosphorus, as these can be toxic to your herbs.
Try to stay away from chemical fertilizer products, as these can have harmful side effects on your plants. Instead, look for organic products, as they contain ingredients that are safe and effective. You may want to test your soil with a soil tester. You can purchase it on Amazon.
A soil tester can tell you what the soil’s pH, calcium, and magnesium levels are also indicate whether it’s ideal for your plants or not. It prefers acidic soil (pH 4.9 to 7.8). If it’s too high or too low, the plants may become too woody or too bushy, which makes it difficult for them to grow healthily.
It is important to pay attention to watering frequency, as this plant enjoys very wet conditions. If you are looking to grow tarragon in your garden, it is better to water them once a week rather than twice. This makes the soil less moist, and the roots less susceptible to rotting or damage due to water logging.
In addition, if you do not plan to use a soil-based herb garden planter, it is better to water your plants on a more regular basis. Watering frequency needs to be different if you are growing them in containers versus hanging baskets. Containers allow for more frequent watering because of the smaller amount of soil that can absorb water.
Hanging baskets, on the other hand, generally do not allow for as much water intake, and so they should be watered less often. You may also want to water your tarragon plants in the morning, before the heat of the day has fully warmed the soil.
If you want your sun room to receive as much natural sunlight as possible, there are several ways to do this. Some of them involve placing the container where the sunlight can directly shine through to the plant, and others require the use of special fixtures that allow just enough exposure to the sun to get it to grow properly. Another thing you need to be aware of is that placing your plant in direct sunlight is great for encouraging plant growth.
It is during the times when the sunlight is shining that photosynthesis occurs at its most productive levels. The key is to place the plant somewhere that gets the most natural sunlight as possible, either in the front of your window, or in a spot facing another part of the room that receives indirect sunlight during the hours when the sun is shining.
By providing just the right amount of sunlight, you will be able to grow your favorite herbs in a natural light environment that will have them flowering and growing beautifully throughout the growing year. In the spring, tarragon prefers full sun but will tolerate low-lying areas that get a bit of indirect sunlight. In summer, it moves to the shade provided by trees and some bushes, and in the fall it moves back to the sunny side of its container.
Don’t hesitate to prune Tarragon if you grow it, but don’t be too aggressive and get rid of all the thick branches. Instead, just thin out the middle third of the herb, and you’ll be back to business again.
Just grab your pruning shears and cut away any dead or broken leaves. Make sure to remove all the spines on the bottom of the stems as well. You will want to prune your plant on a regular basis to keep it at a height of less than two feet.
Harvesting is best done when the leaves are soft and green, as this is when they are at their earliest stage of growth. Once the tarragon plant has been removed from the garden,
it should be allowed to dry completely. The best way to dry it is using a drying rack. This will allow the wilted leaves to dry quickly and efficiently.
- Lemon Balm
- Lemon Verbana
Russian tarragon has been used to flavor a wide range of foods, including fish, turkey, venison, salmon, trout, goose, duck, and even ground beef. Because of the complex chemical and biological makeup of tarragon, it is not edible, but it can be boiled or roasted for added flavor.
It pairs well with meats that have an earthy, or meaty flavor, such as lamb and beef, as well as seafood and chicken. You will also find tarragon in Italian cooking, particularly in pasta sauces or polenta dishes. In Chinese cooking, tarragon can be found in stir fries, stir-fry, and as a salad dressing.