*Botanical name: Artemisia dracunculus
*Sometimes referred to as “a chef’s best friend”.
*A perennial herb with long, light green leaves and tiny greenish or yellowish white flowers. For cooking use French tarragon. Russian tarragon has flavor vastly inferior to French tarragon.
*French tarragon grows best in warm, dry, well-aerated soils and does not tolerate wet or saturated soils. Before planting, incorporate 1 to 2 inches of well-composted organic matter into the soil. Work the compost into the top 6 to 8 inches of the soil. Organic matter additions to soils help improve aeration and water drainage.
*You can’t grow French tarragon from seeds so plant transplants in well-drained soil about 2 to 3 feet apart in order to give each plant room to grow. A full-grown plant should cover about 12 inches of soil and reach 24 to 36 inches in height.
*French tarragon prefers full sun and warm but not hot temperatures. In areas where summer temperatures exceed 90 degrees F, (our Zone 8) partial shading of French tarragon increases plant survival.
*French tarragon should be renovated every 2 to 3 years to maintain flavor and vigorous growth.
*Mulch around the plants to retain moisture near the soil surface, since tarragon has shallow roots.
*French tarragon is generally used as a fresh herb and sprigs may be harvested as needed throughout the growing season. A sprig is typically one-third the length of the stem.
*When growing tarragon as a perennial, which we do at the demonstration garden, shear plants to the ground after frost has killed top growth and mulch heavily before winter to ensure survival.
*To help keep your plants healthy, divide them every 3 to 4 years in the spring or fall. New plants can grow from stem cutting or root cuttings.
*French tarragon is a source of calcium, niacin, potassium, thiamine, and Vitamin A.