Traditional herbs usually mean the ones many of us are familiar with, ones which are medicinal and culinary, mints; basil’s; scented geraniums; thyme’s; and so on.
Caring for these types of herb plants in the desert is different than caring for them in other parts of the country. The intense sun and dry heat we experience in the desert are hard on these herb plants, so they do need extra care.
The best way to grow herbs is in containers. This will enable you to keep the plants evenly moist and fed in hot months. During very hot periods you can move the containers into a shadier or cooler area.
If you chose to grow in the ground make sure that the plants have shade during the hottest periods May through September. The ground around the plants will need to be moist at all times during these hot months- a drip system that runs daily will work for this.
A note about WATERING. When you water your plants be sure that you water THOROUGHLY. Whether planted in the ground or containers, the roots need to be wet.
Between October and March, we get nights BELOW FREEZING. Annual herbs (basil’s, borage, etc) will die with the first d frost. Tender perennial herbs like scented geraniums and marjoram need protection such as being under a covered patio or covered with cloth or paper. Hardy perennial herbs like mints, oregano, German chamomile, and thyme’s will actually love this cold season much more than they do the summer! All perennial herbs should be kept damp but not soaked at this time. Water twice a week. t a couple of hours (at least) of full sun during these months is all they need.
When re-potting your herbs, use a houseplant mix- please please DON’T use dirt from the ground- you don’t know what bugs, bacteria, fungi, etc.
BUGS that attack herbs (in the desert that will be mostly aphids and white-flies!) can be gotten rid of with a spray of Insecticidal Soap- it is just as effective and safer for you and the environment than pesticides.