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Herbs That Grow Well in Tropical Heat

Anyone know of any herbs that grow well in tropical heat? I'm currently resident in the Philippines and honestly, I can't find any herbs at all - either at the local market (other than Filipino herb format, which is thoroughly unpleasant to the westernised palate) or in the supermarket. I really miss my herbs and wondered if it's possible to pot-grow them on my balcony. Thanks for any ideas!


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Re: Herbs That Grow Well in Tropical Heat

A lot of the typical western herbs originate in Mediterranean climate and handle hot and dry quite well, but I'm thinking you get a lot of rain and humidity there?

I looked up Phillipines climate (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_of_the_Philippines) and it looks like there are a lot of variations and the western edge of it has a definite dry season. If that is where you are, you could probably grow Mediterranean herbs in your dry season. That would include lavender, rosemary, thyme, sage, tarragon. Basil and oregano will do great if watered some.

If you are in a rainy all year area, you need tropical herbs that like so much water. lemongrass, cardamom, turmeric (partial shade), ginger, galangal, basil, cilantro, garlic chives, parsley, stevia, various mints. In a tropical (hot/wet) climate, you could probably grow some of the Mediterranean herbs indoors, if you have good sunny windows. Most herbs do just fine in containers.
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Re: Herbs That Grow Well in Tropical Heat

Cilantro and lemon grass to name a few. Although not an herb per se, garlic.
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Re: Herbs That Grow Well in Tropical Heat

Try some of the Asian and sub tropical herbs

Mexican mint marigold (Tagetes Lucida) or Mexican tarragon is a good substitute for French tarragon which cannot stand the heat of the tropics. It is a direct substitute
Lemon grass
Kaffir lime for thai dishes
Hot chiliies The leaves can be eaten too.
culantro (It likes a lot of water but needs to grow shaded under shade cloth or in partial shade. It has a flavor similar to cilantro. The leaf looks more like a daisy. It is used in Mexican cooking to make a green sauce (recaito), and once pureeed it can be used to give dishes a cilantro like flavor
green onions
Mints planted in pots and although they can handle full sun, they will have bigger leaves in morning sun.
Oregano will grow fine, just make sure the soil is well drained
Basil will grow but it will bolt in 100 degree weather so grow it in the cooler time of the year and if you need to grow it in the heat, give it ample water and morning sun.
Onions and garlic can be grown from seeds (onions), mother bulbs of garlic in the Philippine equivalent of fall. Chives will grow too.
I have no luck with thyme and sage. They need more water than you think but can't handle monsoons and soggy soil. You may have luck growing them in pots and moving them inside if the rain gets to be too much.
You can probably grow cilantro around January
If you have the space, a potted citrus tree will give you lots of flavor and you can graft multiple varieties on one tree.
marjoram in a pot of well drained potting mix
Roselle, edible hibiscus to make Jamaica (hibiscus tea) leaves can be used in salads (they have a tart bite)
ginger, perfect for the tropics
rosemary, needs to have well drained soil and will be ok in a pot for a while but needs to be potted up as it grows. (I use clay pots because they breathe better).
Bay leaves. They grow slowly so they make good container plants.
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Philippine herb growing.

I live in the Philippines and grow a number of herb here. Basil,marjoram,parsley curly and flat leaf, sage,rosemary, thyme, tarragon,mint and a few others so all is not lost!

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Re: Herbs That Grow Well in Tropical Heat

Cilantro can be grown only in the cooler months or it will bolt in a month and a half. The tropical and Asian herbs fare better. MInts, basil, oregano, and marjoram are less fussy. Sage, thyme and oregano can be grown as well as stevia. I have better luck with them in pot so I can move them to better positions at different times of the year. Bay leaves actually will grow well in the tropics. Thyme, sage and oregano seem to like a more poorer more alkaline soil that is well drained. Pots are good because you probably have to bring them inside during monsoons. Ginger can be grown in a large pot.

You probably won't be able to grow French tarragon because it will not handle the summer heat, but Mexican tarragon is a direct substitute for the tropics.

Filipino cuisine does not use a lot of western herbs they use a lot of fish sauce, garlic, tamarind, calamondin, salt, pepper, annato, vinegar, and hot chilies. They use a lot of coconut in their desserts. They fry or steam food and ovens are rarely used in traditional cooking. Rice is part of every meal. It takes some getting used to. Most of the food actually tastes good, but it is peasant food and usually it does not present well to non Filipinos. Some things are an acquired taste.
They have borrowed dishes from the Chinese and the Spanish.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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