How to Grow Your Own ‘Mood Garden’ This Spring

Susannah Shmurak

by | Read time: 5 minutes

Do you like to unwind with a cup of herbal tea or make your own herbal tinctures? Love growing fresh veggies and flowers? This season, consider planting some of your favorite relaxing herbs in your garden and enjoy homegrown herbal goodness all year round.

Woman Trying Herb Garden Ideas Planting Various Herbs in Pots on Wooden Table with Gardening Can

The very act of gardening can relax you, as digging in the dirt and connecting with nature can help manage stress and improve mood, in addition to several other appealing  benefits of gardening.

You can take your gardening to a whole new level of calm by growing medicinal herbs that can help you relax. These lovely and useful plants are easy to grow, add beauty and diversity to the garden, and offer you numerous ways to enjoy them.

Below are five relaxing herbs to consider planting in your garden.

Herb Garden Ideas: 5 Relaxing Herbs to Grow

Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is a top pick for tea blends aimed at calming frazzled nerves. Its bright, lemony flavor is appealing to most people, and it can be used fresh or dry to make soothing teas or homemade tinctures. Lemon balm is also a flavorful ingredient that can be added to savory or sweet dishes. It’s delicious in fruit salads and iced tea.

Lemon balm is an easy-to-grow perennial herb in the mint family. Note that it self-seeds readily, so if you don’t want it growing all over your garden (though you might!), be sure to cut it back when it flowers. You can toss all you trim off right into your teapot.


Lavender’s relaxing scent will soothe every time you walk by it in the garden. Harvest a bouquet to enjoy indoors, and allow the flowers to dry so you can enjoy them long after the garden has gone to sleep for the winter.

You can use lavender’s beautiful buds to make homemade aromatherapy pillows or add some to your sleep-promoting tea blends. Lavender pairs well with lemon balm and chamomile for a super-soothing evening tea.

The leaves of the lavender plant have the same delicious scent as the flowers and can be used in similar ways. If you’d like to maximize what you get out of your lavender plants, consider these ways to use lavender leaves.

Lavender is another perennial herb that you can plant once and harvest for years and years. If you live in a cold climate, be sure to get one of the hardier types of lavender suited to your growing zone. If you live somewhere warmer, get English lavender, which is preferred for culinary uses. Other lavenders can be used in tea and cooking, but they have a more bitter flavor profile and should be used sparingly.


Chamomile is a favorite herb for calming tea blends. Chamomile contains compounds that promote relaxation and support digestion, among chamomile’s other benefits.

You’ll find seeds packets for both Roman and German chamomile; German chamomile is a far more prolific bloomer, so it’s what we typically grow for use in tea.

German chamomile is an annual flower in the daisy family that will self-seed readily, while Roman chamomile is a perennial plant that will come back each season. If you want plenty of chamomile flowers for tea, grow German chamomile. You can pluck its abundant flowers as soon as they open, and the plant will reward you by producing more.

If you prefer to stick with perennials, you can grow Roman chamomile, you’ll just have a smaller harvest. The flavor and compounds will also differ somewhat from the German variety but will still brew a pleasant cup of tea.

You can use some of your chamomile fresh and dry the fragrant blossoms for winter as well. Unless you have a truly enormous patch of chamomile, you’ll likely run out of what you’re able to grow, but it’s readily available in bulk or in bagged tea when you do.


Catnip is not just for cats! A member of the mint family, catnip has a pleasant, minty flavor and contains compounds that account for its traditional uses for promoting sleep and digestion. Catnip makes a great addition to evening tea blends.

Not the most attractive plant you’ll grow this season, this cold-hardy perennial plant can have a tendency to spread. Plant it somewhere you won’t mind it trying to take over, and be sure to trim flowers. You can use both the leaves and flowers to make tea or tinctures. You can also purchase catnip in bulk or as a bagged tea.

Note that catnip and the related species catmint are often confused. It’s catnip (Nepeta cataria) that’s used medicinally. Here’s more on distinguishing catnip vs. catmint if you’re curious.

California Poppy

Another prolific self-seeding plant, California poppy’s sunny flowers are stunning in the garden and are often recommended for promoting relaxation.

Their pretty blooms belie their very bitter flavor, however, so be forewarned they don’t make a great addition to the teapot! But tincturing your California poppy flowers and leaves is a great way to preserve their calming power for when you need it.

This attractive wildflower is the state flower of California and is grown as an annual in cooler climates. In warmer regions, it’s a perennial.

Preserve your herbs

You’ll probably harvest more herbs than you’ll be able to use during the growing season, so be sure to dry some for later use. Preserving herbs is easy and lets you have your favorite relaxing herbs on hand for using all year round.

Here’s what to know about drying herbs.

No yard? You can grow herbs in pots on a patio or balcony, or even in a sunny windowsill with a DIY mason jar herb garden.

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