Growing French Tarragon in the Herb Garden

French tarragon is a short-lived perennial that adds exquisite flavour to most dishes

Credit: Flickr / Photo/Arts Magazine

Grow French tarragon and enjoy this fine herb in a variety of dishes

Thinking about growing tarragon in the garden? If so, go French

If you are going to grow tarragon, make sure that it’s French tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus var. sativa), not Russian tarragon, which many consider to possess no culinary virtue.

Russian tarragon is grown from seed. French tarragon seed is sterile and so it is not so readily available. The plant is a short-lived tender perennial that spreads into clumps, but needs to be renewed often.

My advice, if you want this desirable herb in your garden, is to make divisions frequently and spread them throughout the garden.

Tarragon leaves can be used fresh or dried. The leaves are one of the finest herbs of French cooking, along with parsley, chives and chervil.

Tarragon’s unique sweet anise flavour is particularly suited to fish, pasta and egg dishes, vinaigrettes, and artichoke and asparagus dishes. It adds exquisite flavour to herbal vinegar.