Tarragon, a very fragrant plant

Tarragon leaves with a golden yellow flower blooming.

Tarragon is a delicious herb plant perfectly suited to our climates.

Top Tarragon facts

NameArtemisia dracunculus
Family – Asteraceae
Type – semi-evergreen perennial

Height – 16 inches to 5 feet (40 to 150 cm)
Exposure – full sun
Soil – rich and light

Harvest – May to October

Caring for it from planting to harvest is easy and it will quickly come flavor most of your meals, sauces and mixed salads.

Sowing and planting tarragon

Tarragon likes it when the sun shines on it a lot, and fares best in light and well drained soil.

Planting tarragon

If you purchase your tarragon in pots, plan to re-pot it quickly in a larger pot or transplant it directly in the ground after buying.

  • This guarantees that the plant can develop in the best possible environment.

Sowing tarragon

You can either sow in a sheltered place at the end of winter or beginning of spring, or you can sow directly in the ground throughout the month of May.

Russian tarragon is perhaps the only variety that can actually be sown in place all spring and summer long.

  • Bury seeds under about ½ to 1 inch (1 to 2 cm) soil mix.
  • Space your rows by 8 inches (20 cm).
  • Water regularly with a fine drizzle until seeds sprout, which can take up to 2 weeks.

As soon as the plants have formed 4 or 5 leaves, thin to about 8 inches (20 cm) to give the seedlings space to grow.

  • They will have matured within about 2 months after sowing.

Propagating tarragon

It is very easy to multiply tarragon by collecting basal shoot, preparing cuttings or layering.

  • Propagating with basal shoots means unearthing a stem with its roots.
  • This stem can then be planted in moist soil mix.

Harvesting tarragon

Leaves can be cut as needs arise until the first frost spells.

It is best to snip the stems off one at a time whenever you need some, instead of tearing out a whole bunch.

  • Find and collect the oldest stems.
  • If it freezes in your area, the tarragon will disappear and die off, and then it will grow back in spring.
  • Protect the base of the plant and the root system if temperatures drop below 23°F (-5°C).

Keeping tarragon

In fall, in order to keep your tarragon for the longest possible span of time, cut it short and freeze it in a jar, keeping the stems with leaves whole.

How to dry tarragon

To keep tarragon for an even longer period, it’s also possible to dry the leaves in a dry place where the air circulates well.

  • When drying tarragon, better to select leaves and stems that didn’t bear flowers.
  • Crush the leaves to powder.
  • Store in an airtight jar.

Alternatively, instead of powderizing them, you can simply dry the stems whole, snip them up somewhat, and store in an airtight jar.

All there is to know about tarragon

Healthy tarragon sprigs shooting up against a hazy background.Tarragon is one of the most fragrant and flavorful herbs and condiments.

People love using it to flavor seasoning for mixed salads and omelettes, but it is simply amazing when paired with poultry, for example the famed recipe for tarragon chicken.

It is an essential ingredient in the renowned Béarnaise sauce.

Note also that tarragon is associated to many, many health benefits and medicinal properties. For instance, it is an antioxidant that helps counter ageing.

Smart tip about tarragon

To regenerate your tarragon, perform crown division in spring every three years, if you can.

Learn more about herbs and spices

Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Sprigs of tarragon by Nathan Elliot ★ under Pixabay license
Tarragon tips by Hans Braxmeier under Pixabay license