Tagetes lucida is a very nice smooth anise/tarragon flavoured herb originating from Central America. It makes for a very nice addition to any savoury or sweet dish that needs a subtle touch of aniseed. I prefer it as a fresh herb but it can also be easily dried and holds it’s oil content and flavour well. It is often used as a refreshing Tea both fresh and dried.
This perennial plant grows well in most climates once it is into it’s second season of growth and is established.
Here’s some growing in a large pot in mid winter (beginning of August) in the cold Mountains climate.
The seeds germinate fairly easily and quickly but the small plants tend to take a while to grow a good root system before bolting with growth. The flowers form in late summer and create masses of seed right into mid winter. They keep well as cut flowers too.
It’s easy to propagate by taking a good sized stem cutting in summer when in full growth.
Most of the new growth occurs during late spring and all through summer and the plants will get to about a metre high on average even with some constant trimming for harvest.
The stems tend to branch well and I just stop harvesting in late summer and let them form flowers so there is plenty of seed for increasing and turning over the stock of plants. They last a long time but you get better taste I think from plants that are growing well in the first 3-5 years.
They do not need a lot of feeding and water but they do respond well if grown in a good soil and watered often or at least have a good mulch added to them that can retain the moisture. They love the heat and direct hard sun on them and the oil content seems best when grown that way.
They can sometimes appear to die back to almost bare stick when it gets too cold but I have found that they recover well as soon as it warms up in spring if this happens as long as the roots are not exposed to too much cold.