Herbal teas are delicious, relaxing and more often than not, caffeine-free, so won't keep you awake if sipped in the evening.
Shop-bought mixes can be pricey, so it's worth having a dedicated area for growing plants to create your own herbal teas, whether it be a windowsill, balcony, or herb garden outdoors.
As for picking and using your herbs, you can either use them fresh, or where possible, dry them to create your own tea mixes.
Not all plants are suitable for using in teas, but can be used in sweet and savoury dishes instead – check out these healing herbs to grow.
Keep on reading to discover our favourite plants to grow for homemade herbal teas.
Lemon verbena, Aloysia citrodora, has a fabulous aroma almost indistinguishable from sherbet lemons. Use the leaves fresh or dried to brew a delicious tea. Watch this video with Monty Don on how to grow lemon verbena and lemon balm.
Near indestructible, mint is one of the easiest herbs to grow for fresh tea. There are lots of different types to grow, too, ranging from chocolate mint to grapefruit mint. Discover more of the mint varieties to grow on our Plant Finder.
Fennel tea is said to aid digestion, so try drinking a mugful after a meal to see if it makes a difference. To make fresh tea you can use the dried seeds, fresh leaves or the bulb. It's also a very handsome plant that is popular with pollinating insects.
Instead of putting your dandelions on the compost heap, save a few for use in homemade teas. While the leaves can be used in savoury dishes, it's the flowers snd roots of dandelions that are used to make tea. Try combining with lime, ginger or honey. Delicious iced, too.
Echinacea is thought to remedy many common ailments, including coughs, sore throats and various infections. All parts of the plant can be used, either fresh or dried. It's also a fantastic plant for bees – discover more plants to grow for bees.
Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) is tender, so will need winter protection but can be grown outdoors in summer. It's well worth the effort, as just a few stalks are all that's needed to make a refreshing tea.
If you drink a lot of tea, lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a good plant to grow. Like mint, it's particularly vigorous, so will produce masses of fresh growth to be used. Best kept in a raised bed or container where it can't take over borders. Use fresh, young leaves to make a tea that can enjoyed hot or cold.
Monarda, or bergamot, is so called because of the similarity of its aroma to that of the bergamot orange, Citrus bergamia, which is used to flavour Earl Grey tea. Many of us live in the wrong climate for citrus, so monarda is a good alternative. Use the leaves fresh or dry.
Most shop-bought jasmine teas are actually green teas flavoured with Arabian jasmine (Jasminum sambac), which is done by mixing the unopened flowers with dried tea leaves. However, you can pick the flowers from jasmines in your own garden to make your own tea and to prettily float on the surface of other teas.
Chamomile flowers can be used fresh or dry to make a tasty tea that is thought to aid sleep and ease anxiety. To make the tea use perennial, Roman chamomile, Chamaemelum nobile. Combines well with flavours like mint and honey.
Watch where you pickWith anything you pick in the garden, be certain it hasn't been sprayed with any pesticides or herbicides before consuming it. If you're unsure what any plant is, don't consume it.
Ways to dry your herbs
- Hang dry: tie the plants together in a bundle, then hang upside down from a hanger, ladder, beam or something similar. Covering with a paper bag will speed up the process
- Use a screen or rack: buy a screen or make your own with a wooden frame and muslin, cheesecloth or mesh stretched over. Lay your pickings on the screen and set aside to dry somewhere cool, dry and dark
- Oven dry: arrange your pickings on a sheet of baking parchment then dry in the oven on its lowest temperature, turning frequently. Leave the door open slightly so the oven doesn't get too hot
- If drying your plants indoors, consider using a dehydrator to prevent mould growth