10 Mexican Herbs to Grow in the Home Garden

by Jennifer Poindexter

Do you enjoy Mexican cuisine? It’s probably one of my favorites. However, I don’t think my homemade recipes are as tasty as the authentic Mexican restaurant we have near our home. Even so, I still enjoy cooking this style of food in my own kitchen.

However, finding some of the ingredients can prove difficult at times. If you enjoy cooking Mexican cuisine and would like to grow some of the commonly used herbs around your home, I have you covered.

You can grow a Mexican herb garden. I’m going to share a list of some of the most common Mexican herbs, along with some of the growing conditions they require.

This way, you can decide which herbs will work best for your growing set-up. Here are the Mexican herbs which might be a good addition to your herb garden.

1. Parsley

Parsley is a common herb to most cooks and gardeners. However, it’s also used regularly in Mexican cuisine. It’s a great herb to use when balancing heat in a recipe.

This herb is best when used fresh and is easy to grow. Parsley isn’t picky when it comes to temperatures and can be grown in higher heat or in cooler weather. The main thing is to provide the plant with sunlight and well-draining soil that’s rich in nutrients.

Though this herb is grown as an annual in most locations, it’s hardy in planting zones nine and higher. If you enjoy parsley, grow it indoors or outdoors and use a variety of gardening methods to grow this herb when and how you need it.

2. Cumin

Cumin is another common herb used in Mexico. This plant enjoys warm weather and does best when sown directly into its permanent growing location.

The herb is very forgiving as it’s known for being drought tolerant. Therefore, if you forget to water it, your mistake shouldn’t be the instant death of this plant.

Cumin is an annual herb, but it’s vital that you allow the plant to go to seed. The seeds are what is harvested, and ground, to make the cumin we know and love.

3. Annatto

Annatto is a less recognizable herb to some, but it’s an important part of a Mexican herb garden. This herb is only hardy in planting zones ten through twelve. Therefore, in most locations, you’ll grow it as an annual.

Don’t let this deter you from growing it, though. Annatto produces red blooms with spiky leaves. These blooms contain a sweet and zesty flavor that’s great for culinary use.

However, be sure to plant this herb in well-draining soil that’s consistently damp. It’s vital that the soil is rich in nutrients as well.

4. Mexican Oregano

If you love traditional oregano, you’ll love Mexican oregano. It has the same great flavor with a small exception. Mexican oregano has a hint of citrus.

You can enjoy Mexican oregano fresh from the plant or dry it for later use. This plant does have specific growing conditions which must be met.

The herb enjoys lots of sunlight and prefers to grow in soil that’s sandy and well-draining. Adding compost during planting is a good idea, but be mindful not to apply too many nutrients as this can cause issues for the plant. This herb is a perennial in planting zones seven through eleven.

5. Allspice

Allspice is another familiar herb. In Mexican cuisine it’s typically used to make salsas, moles, and adobos. This plant can be a little tricky to grow for some gardeners as it’s actually a tree.

Though it’s hardy in planting zones ten and eleven, if you have a greenhouse, you might consider raising the tree in a container. The important thing is to help it avoid frost over the winters.

Once you get the growing logistics worked out, ensure allspice grows where there’s partial sunlight and well-draining soil that’s watered adequately.

6. Mexican Mint Marigold

Mexican mint marigold is a beautiful herb with yellow blooms. Not only is it great for making sauces, main dishes, and herbal teas, but it’s also a great way to brighten your growing space.

If you’d like to grow this herb, ensure it’s planted in full sun and surrounded by well-draining soil. Don’t worry about drought or high temperatures as this plant can handle both quite well.

Mexican mint marigold is hardy in planting zones eight through ten and should be considered an annual in all other areas. If you’d like a functional but beautiful herb, Mexican mint marigold could be for you.

7. Marjoram

Have you ever used marjoram in your cooking? If so, you know this herb is difficult to describe. The flavor of marjoram is complex. It’s similar to oregano but has a deeper flavor.

Marjoram is a versatile plant that’s hardy in planting zones four through eight. However, if you don’t live in these areas, you can still grow the herb year-round.

This herb makes a wonderful houseplant and handles being grown in a container quite well. Regardless of which growing method you use, ensure marjoram receives full sunlight and is planted in well-draining soil.

8. Epazote

Epazote is an ingredient commonly used to flavor soups. It could add a different twist to some of your favorite recipes.

When cooked, the herb takes on a citrus flavor. When raw, it tastes like fennel. Be mindful when growing this plant as the seeds are toxic. It’s vital to prune the plant to avoid it going to seed.

You should also be careful when handling it, as the leaves irritate some people’s skin. If you’d like to grow epazote, it’s hardy in planting zones eight through eleven. It also needs full sunlight and well-draining soil.

9. Mexican Thyme

Do you enjoy cooking with thyme? You should try Mexican thyme. It’s also sometimes referred to as Cuban oregano.

This plant is hardy in planting zones nine through eleven. However, you can overwinter it indoors by growing the herb in a container.

Mexican thyme can be used fresh or dried for later. It’s also easy to propagate from a cutting. Be sure when growing this plant that it grows in partial sunlight and is surrounded by well-draining soil.

10. Cilantro

Cilantro is one of our most used herbs in my household. My husband loves it! If you love cilantro as well, you’ll be glad to know it’s easy to grow.

This herb prefers cool weather, so it should be grown in the spring or fall in most growing locations. It’s considered an annual no matter where you plant it.

However, when growing the herb, be sure to place it where it will receive full sunlight and well-draining soil that’s high in nutrients. If you care for your cilantro,  you should have plenty to flavor your fresh salsa.

These are the ten herbs which most gardeners would enjoy having around their Mexican herb garden. This list should give you an idea of which plant will or won’t work in your growing space.

Keep in mind the recipes you’d like to try when picking the herbs for your garden. Don’t be afraid to get a little adventurous as well. Fresh foods taste amazing, especially when grown in or around your home. Good luck as you take this new gardening adventure!

More About Mexican Herbs



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