Plant in the spring after all danger of frost has passed. Spanish tarragon blooms best when planted in full sun but will tolerate a location that will receive partial shade. Space plants 12-15″ apart in average soil that is well-drained. Spanish tarragon prefers regular watering, but will withstand short droughts.
Attracts bees and butterflies and helps repel other types of insects. Does well in containers.
Tarragon, Spanish tagetes lucida
Spanish Tarragon, an annual, has a tarragon-like flavor with hints of anise, and is often used as a tarragon substitute. It is also known as Mexican tarragon, Mexican Mint marigold, or Texas tarragon. Easy to grow with low maintenance, the golden yellow flowers add long-lasting color to dried arrangements and bouquets, but are equally loved in fresh flower arrangements.
In places where French tarragon is difficult to grow, Spanish tarragon is a fine culinary substitute. The flavor is almost indistinguishable from that of tarragon, but Spanish tarragon breaks down more quickly when heated, so it is best if added at the end of cooking. In salads, vinegars, oils, or quick-cooking recipes, substitute it for tarragon in equal proportions.
You can harvest the leaves throughout the growing season as soon as the plants have become established. For long term storage, harvest the long stems just before frost when they still have their golden yellow flowers. While the stems are still green and pliable, weave together in groups of six, and tie the two ends of each group together to form a circle. Dried leaves can be removed as needed for cooking. If the circle wreaths are made small and interwoven with other herbs, they can be tossed whole into a soup or stew as a bouquet garni.
To dry – gather bunches and hang on drying racks or spread on screens until completely dry. The dried leaves retain their fragrance when stored in airtight containers, and protected from extreme heat and bright light.