5 Ornamental Herbs that are Perfect for Your Iowa Herbal Garden

Herbal gardens aren’t just for the culinary masters and healers. Much like your organic vegetable garden, herbs can be useful. They can also add an ornamental look to your space. Most ornamental perennial and annual herbs are sturdy plants that feature a variety of texture, fragrance, color, and flowers. Whether you’re planting in the spring or fall, herbs make great additions to your garden.


Whether you’re new to herbs or need some new ideas for the garden, consider using these five plants in your herbal garden:




Thyme is a great go-to perennial because of its sturdiness. Often underestimated because of its delicate leaves, thyme flourishes in full sun and most Iowa soils. It blooms early in the spring, which makes it a good herb for kicking off the year. Thyme does come in several varieties so watch for species with different colored blooms and variegated leaves. Do you like the look of silver-edged leaves? Argenteus is the variety for you. If you prefer mauve flowers, Silver Posie is a great option. Have fun with your selection and you’ll create a beautiful herbal garden!




Many Iowa gardeners have success with chives throughout the year because of its hardiness. The globe-shaped flower clusters perched atop its narrow stems make it appear more delicate than it is. Chives produce blossoms found in pink to pinkish purple. You can choose from varieties that grow from 2 inches to four feet.


3.Tricolor Sage


Tricolor sage is a pleasant addition to any herbal garden because of its purple, green, and white leaves. This variety is slower to grow than standard sage but it’s easy to grow in full sunlight. Most Iowa gardeners choose tricolor sage because of its foliage color, but light blue flowers do bloom on it like other sages.


4.Curry Plant


Hailing from southern Europe, the curry plant is a welcome addition to herbal gardens due to its impressive silver foliage. Many people enjoy the look of the short needle-shaped leaves. In the summer, the plant produces bright yellow button-shaped flowers that many kids and adults have come to love. One of the best things about the plant is its strong, exotic scent. Treat the curry plant as an annual in Iowa due to its lack of hardiness.




Calendula is an annual herb that grows well in the summer. Often chosen for its yellow and orange flowers, calendula can reach up to 18 inches tall. Its bushy appearance is great for any bare spots you have in your garden.


Labeling Your Herbs


Growing herbal garden plants is a great way to ease into organic gardening or expand your current gardening practices. Because there are several varieties of herbs on the market, don’t forget to use your MCG biomarkers to label them. Made out of biomass and recycled plastics, these weatherproof labels can display sunlight, watering, soil, and other instructions for you. You can also make sure your labels are seen by choosing your preferred color and size. Markers are available in 9, 13, and 24 inches.

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