In the garden, tarragon loves sunny, warm weather. Plant in a location that will receive full sun to partial shade in loamy, well-drained soil spacing plants 18-24″ apart. Plant height 2-3′. Prefers moderate watering, don’t over water.
Harvest whole branches, not just the individual leaves. Cut 3 to 6 inches from stem tips for use and to encourage branching. Flower stems should be removed to keep the plant productive.
Protect your Tarragon plants from frost and damaging winter weather by adding mulch around each plant. Tarragon requires a lot of light, so it generally does not do well indoors.
Tarragon, French artemisia dracunculus
French Tarragon, a perennial, is a delicately flavored herb reminiscent of mint and licorice that goes particularly well with fish, vinegars, and vegetables. It is delicious in creamy sauces and in combination with chives, garlic, and any lemon-flavored herb. The buttery French sauce, béarnaise, includes Tarragon. Fresh leaves are best, of course, but to save the leaves, freeze rather than dry because it will lose much flavor in the drying process.
Tarragon is high in vitamin A, calcium, niacin, potassium, riboflavin, and thiamine.
Tarragon’s Latin name, dracunculus, means little dragon: in the Middle ages, it was used to treat snake bites. It is part of the large hardy, herbaceous family, Artemesia. Another well-known variety of the family is A. Absinthium, or Wormwood. This is known for its use in absinthe liquor. Many of the varieties are distinctly scented.