Are you on the lookout for a quirky and inspirational addition to your garden? Check out these five unusual herb varieties.
Calendula officinalis ‘Solis Sponsa’
Also known as “Bride of the Sun,” this calendula has anti-inflammatory properties and promotes wound healing. You can grow this heirloom perennial as a container plant. Available from Horizon Herbs. www.horizonherbs.com
Echinacea purpurea ‘Mac ‘N Cheese’
Bright yellow petals emerge from this tall drought-tolerant coneflower. It thrives in heat and humidity, is ideal for sunny borders, and attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. Available from Richter’s Herb Specialists. www.richters.com
Aeollanthus suaveolens ‘Catinga de Mulata’
Once used in ritual voodoo baths by Afro-Brazilians, this plant is now used to fight off skin, ear and eye disease and its essential oil has been explored as a source for perfume. It has an interesting coconut fragrance and enjoys rich soil. Available from Well-Sweep Herb Farm. www.wellsweep.com
Ocimum basilicum ‘Amethyst Improved’
This dark burgundy (almost black) basil is an eye-catching addition to the garden. It is best used ornamentally or as a garnish. Its grows 15 to 20 inches tall. Available from Johnny’s Selected Seeds. www.johnnyseeds.com
Eryngium foetidum ‘Mexican coriander’
Also known as culantro, this plant grows in damp soil and low light. It is used in Mexican dishes much like we use cilantro but it can stand hot, steamy weather and dries well. Available from Richter’s Herb Specialists. www.richters.com
Gina DeBacker is editorial assistant for The Herb Companion.