Growing Herbs in Texas: Early Spring Planting

| 2/9/2010 9:51:05 AM

C.MeredithCynthia Meredith has been gardening with herbs, reading about herbs, and discussing herb gardening in Texas for more than 20 years. She has owned The Herb Cottage for over 10 years, selling herb plants to people all over our state.

Winter sure is hanging on here in south central Texas. We've had so many cloudy days, a fair amount of rain and cold temperatures. It's been a few weeks, however, since we've seen a freeze here, and I'm seeing signs of new growth on plants that froze back. One of my favorite plants that froze is ramie (Boehmeria nivea), or Chinese silkplant. This is the plant that the fiber ramie is made from—you know the fiber that's woven with wool or cotton for sweaters. For more information, here's a link to an article in Wikipedia.

Ramie Plant
Tiny new growth on a ramie plant. 

Mature Ramie Plant
Mature ramie plant.
Courtesy of Wikipedia 

I've seen swelling buds on several trees such as vitex (Vitex agnus-castus), or chastetree, also called Texas lilac or monk's pepper due to its reputation for suppressing libido.  

Vitex is a wonderful small tree with fragrant purple, pink or white flowers. The leaves are palmate and a nice, medium green. Vitex is easy to grow and the flowers attract butterflies and other beneficial insects. I know spring can't be too far ahead when the vitex shows signs of new life.