How to Grow Tarragon Plants: The Complete Guide

Botanical Name
Artemisia dracunculus
Plant Type
Sun Exposure

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Planting, Growing, and Harvesting Tarragon

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Tarragon is a perennial herb with long, light green leaves and tiny greenish or yellowish-white flowers. Here’s how to grow tarragon in your herb garden!

About Tarragon

There are two main types of tarragon available: French tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus sativa) and Russian tarragon (Artemisia dracunculoides). French tarragon is the more prized variety, boasting the classic licorice flavor most associated with the herb. However, unlike its Russian counterpart, French tarragon doesn’t produce viable seeds and is typically propagated through division or cuttings. Russian tarragon, on the other hand, readily grows from seed and has a milder licorice taste.

For cooking, use French tarragon. Russian tarragon can easily be mistaken for French, but Russian tarragon is coarser and less flavorful than French tarragon.

Companion Planting Bonus: Consider planting tarragon near tomatoes, rosemary, or sage. These herbs are said to improve each other’s flavor. Learn more about companion planting with herbs.


While Russian tarragon can be easily started from seed indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost, French tarragon is best propagated from divisions or cuttings obtained from a mature plant. 

Where to Plant Tarragon

Select a sunny spot with well-drained soil. Tarragon thrives in drier conditions and won’t tolerate soggy roots. Tarragon isn’t fussy about soil but prefers slightly alkaline to neutral soil (pH 6.5-7.5). Amending your planting area with some compost is beneficial.

When to Plant Tarragon

If using divisions or cuttings, plant them in the spring after the last frost danger has passed. Space plants 24 inches apart. The plants should grow to around 2 or 3 feet in height.

For seeds, sow them indoors in pots filled with a seed-starting mix and transplant seedlings outdoors after hardening them off.


Tarragon is a relatively low-maintenance herb. To help keep your plants healthy, divide them every 3 to 4 years in the spring or fall. New plants can grow from stem cuttings or root cuttings.

Here are some basic tips for keeping your plant happy and thriving.

Watering Tarragon

Water regularly during the first growing season, especially during hot and dry spells. Once established, tarragon is drought tolerant and requires minimal watering.

Fertilizing Tarragon

Avoid overfertilizing, as this can diminish the flavor of the leaves. A light application of compost in the spring is sufficient.

Pruning Tarragon

Regularly harvest the leaves throughout the growing season to encourage bushier growth. Pinch off any flower buds that appear to maintain optimal flavor. Be sure to prune the plant regularly to prevent flowering and to keep the height to around 2 feet (otherwise, the plant will fall over).

Overwintering Tarragon

If you live in a colder climate, be sure to put mulch around the plants in late fall in order to protect the roots during the winter.


Feel free to harvest tarragon leaves throughout the growing season. The best flavor comes from young, tender leaves, so snip them just above a node (leaf joint) to encourage new growth. 

Tarragon pairs beautifully with chicken, fish, egg dishes, and sauces. It’s also a wonderful addition to marinades and vinaigrettes. 

Preserving Tarragon

To preserve your harvest, you can dry the leaves or freeze them for later use. If left to dry for too long, though, the leaves lose their flavor, so be careful. As soon as the leaves are dry, store them in airtight containers. Learn how to preserve herbs.

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Wit and Wisdom

Put tarragon in your shoes before a long walk to give you strength.


About The Author

Jennifer Keating

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at The Old Farmer’s Almanac. She is an active equestrian and spends much of her free time at the barn. When she’s not riding, she loves caring for her collection of house plants, baking, and playing in her gardens. Read More from Jennifer Keating

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