Aromatic plants are characterized by their intense and often pleasant smell for humans. The perception of these aromas is due to the presence of substances called "essential oils" which have different functions in nature (attraction, insect repellent, etc.).
Some plants have a uniform diffusion of "essential oils" (such as rosemary), others concentrate their presence in certain parts of the plant such as leaves, seeds, petals or bulbs. Depending on the type of plant, different parts of it must be used to obtain the desired effect. It is also important to learn about the right period to obtain the best yield from the use of different aromatic plants.
Many plants aromatic they also have "medicinal or therapeutic characteristics". If you are interested in the characteristics of this last type of plants, ... continue
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The most important types of use of plants aromatic I'm:
- in the kitchen of different countries to flavor traditional dishes or to prepare liqueurs and other alcoholic drinks.
- in industrial and "artisanal" cosmetics for the preparation of creams or perfumes.
- in herbal medicine for infusions.
- on balconies or flower beds for decorative functions and to keep insects away.
Some of the most read articles on aromatic plants on our site are:
The cultivation of aromatic plants has always been constant in Europe and botanical gardens have been created to always have these plants available for cooking and for the preparation of medicines. Furthermore, many of these plants are naturally part of the European spontaneous flora and therefore it is not difficult to give them an adequate location. In recent years they have been rediscovered because there is an increasing search for plants capable of living with little water and little care, remaining beautiful for a good part of the year. They can be wisely used in the formal garden (as low hedges), in borders (to give color with flowers and foliage), in the rock garden or as a complement to a vegetable garden, in association with other crops. They also have the undoubted advantage of attracting insects such as bees, butterflies and various moths, making the garden lively and attractive.
Their main feature is that they contain essential oils. They are thought to have been developed with the aim of warding off phytophagous insects or attracting pollinators.
The aromatic substances can be found in the roots (for example garlic and onion), in the leaves (sage, basil, rosemary), in the wood (cinnamon) or in the seeds (coriander, juniper).
Those used in gardens are usually shrubby, bulbous or annual plants.
It's a bulbous one. It produces long stems and hollow inside. It has a similar scent to onion, but more delicate. In spring it produces very attractive and decorative pink-violet globose flowers. This is why it can be used effectively in flower beds.
Not afraid of the winter cold. It can be used in many culinary preparations (it goes well with boiled potatoes, in salads or as a decoration on dishes).
It is an easy-growing annual plant that can be easily obtained from seed. It can reach up to 60 cm in height and is grown in gardens or in containers.
Likes rich soils and warmth, but not direct light.
There are several varieties. Those with the smallest leaves are considered the most valuable. However, the essential oils present in the leaves are greatly influenced by the climate in which the plant grows.
The best known are: Genoese basil, Greek basil (“ball”, with a more delicate aroma), red basil and lettuce-leaf basil.
It is also grown as an annual. It is also called Chinese parsley due to the similarity of the leaves.
The leaves and seeds that have a distinctly different flavor can be used for food.
The leaves are very common in Eastern and South American cuisine, but their aroma is not always pleasing to everyone.
The seeds, on the other hand, have been used for centuries for the preparation of aromatic sugared almonds.
Shrub of the Mediterranean scrub, it can be used to create splashes of color or small hedges. It has needle-like leaves of a beautiful silvery color and in the summer produces bunches of very decorative yellow flowers. It is highly regarded for its licorice-like aroma. It requires dry, stony soil and can be effectively used in rockeries and borders.
It counts many different species. Very frequent in gardens to create splashes of color and fragrant hedges. Its use is spreading more and more also thanks to the introduction of dwarf varieties, which are more durable and floriferous. It is decorative throughout the year because it is evergreen.
It requires little care because it loves drought. You just need to be careful in always pruning it rather low to avoid it becoming woody prematurely.
It is used to make traditional aromatic bags for wardrobes, but, in recent years, also to flavor biscuits or confectionery products.
Annual composite. It can be very pleasant to insert it in aromatic corners or in the borders of our garden to enjoy its scent and the natural beauty of its flowers during the summer heat.
Perennial herbaceous plant that spreads thanks to stolons (and for this reason it can become invasive). It prefers partial shade and moist soil. There are many varieties with different aromas. There are many culinary uses: from first courses to omelettes, to refreshing drinks. It is very similar to oregano, but with larger leaves and a more delicate aroma. It is a perennial where winters are mild, while it is treated as an annual in the North. It has stems about 20-30 cm tall and can be used as ground cover in rock gardens.
Herbaceous perennial that forms a low bush. It is suitable for rock gardens or containers. There are also variegated or golden cultivars, excellent for creating color contrasts. In the kitchen the leaves are used in combination with many dishes based on fish, tomatoes, cheeses or vegetables.
It is a biennial herbaceous plant with very jagged leaves, widely used in the kitchen. It is generally grown in pots or directly in the garden and, if properly cut, it grows several times in the same year.
You can also find a variety called “curly parsley” less fragrant than the common one, but more decorative both as a crop and in dishes.
Shrub that can reach 3 meters in height, spontaneous from the Mediterranean area. It has opposite lanceolate leaves, shiny in the upper part and hairy in the lower part. It needs dry, stony and arid soils. It is quite rustic, but needs to be protected if the intense cold lasts long.
It is a very decorative plant first of all because it is evergreen. It also produces beautiful blooms in azure, blue, white and pink. It is used as an upright plant to create isolated specimens or in groups in hedges.
However, it is also widely used in the rock garden thanks to the varieties with a creeping or drooping habit.
Small evergreen shrub with greyish green leaves that are rough to the touch. It produces very decorative blue or white flower spikes. You can find many aesthetically interesting cultivars to be inserted both in borders and in the vegetable garden: with variegated leaves or bright yellow, dark red or even three-colored leaves. For this reason it is a precious plant capable of giving color in all seasons with relatively little care.
I also point out Salvia Elegans as interesting: the leaves have a sweet pineapple scent and in midsummer it produces long spikes with very pretty red flowers.
It is generally not attacked by parasites if grown outdoors. On the other hand, there may be attacks of powdery mildew especially if it grows in a warm, humid and poorly ventilated environment.
It is used for multiple culinary preparations.
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