Growing Horehound

This page talks about growing horehound and its benefits.

Horehound is a perennial member of the mint, native to northern Africa, Europe and southwestern and central Asia.  It looks a lot like a common mint plant with hairy, crinkly, green-gray leaves.  Horehound has been used in medicine since the 1st century BC to treat respiratory problems, among other things. 

While no longer as popular, you can still buy horehound candies and cough drops.  Recently, it has been studied for its anticancer, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory benefits.  Horehound grows to a height of 12 to 18 inches and makes an excellent companion plant for tomatoes and peppers.  It can be planted from seeds or cuttings and division. 

Start planting Horehound in spring when ground temperatures reach 68 degrees.  Choose a sunny area of your garden with well-drained soil. Horehound can thrive, even in areas with poor or sandy soil.  Plant seeds only 1/8 inch in the soil, barely covered.  Keep the seeds moist.  They should sprout within 14 to 21 days from planting.  Horehound requires very little care.  Once plants begin growing, thin plants out so that there is 10 to 18 inches of space between each one.

Horehound matures within 75 days of planting.  The best time to harvest is right when the plant starts to flower.  Horehound usually flowers more than once, sometime between June and September.  Keep in mind that it won’t flower during the first year, but you can still begin harvesting.  Harvest by clipping the desired quantity of leaves. 

You can use horehound leaves fresh or dry them for later use.   To dry, tie the leaves and flowers into bunches and hang upside-down in a dry place, out of direct sunlight.  Once they are dry, chop them coarsely and store in an airtight container out of the sun.  In addition to candies and cough drops, horehound can be made into a tea, or used in ales and vegetable beers.

Note: Horehound can be an invasive plant, like many in the mint family.  To keep its population in check, you’ll want to prevent it from seeding by clipping flowers before seeds have a chance to develop.

Never tried horehound candy or remember it as an old favorite?  This delicious candy can also be used in place of cough drops.

More on Growing Horehound

Horehound Candy:

2 cups fresh horehound leaves, densely packed and coarsely chopped

1¼ cups water

4 cups dark brown sugar

¼ cup light corn syrup

Start by making horehound tea.  Wash the leaves.  Place horehound in a saucepan with water.  Bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Cover and let stand 30 minutes to steep.  Butter a 9 by 13 inch pan while you wait.

Click here to check out our horehound seeds.

             Go to Herbs from Growing Horehound.

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