How to Start a Witch's Garden (+7 Easy Plants to Include)
Getting started growing herbs and plants to use in magic does not have to be complicated, nor does it require a lot of time, space or money. First of all, many plants and herbs with magical benefits will grow happily on a window sill or small balcony, and there is a vast range of ways to save money in the garden. For example, everyday or found containers can be repurposed into growing containers. And once you have successfully grown a plant, you can harvest seeds to grow further plants for free. Even if you do not have an outside space, there are still options for growing magical plants. This article will supply you with a list of some magical plants to include in your garden and some suggestions on how to start planning your witch's garden.
7 Easy-to-Grow Plants for Witches
When thinking of plants that could be beneficial to witches, many people first think of herbs. Many species of herbs can be easily grown indoors or outdoors and they often do not require very much care at all. They can be a great choice for witches as many herbs are versatile ingredients that can be used in magic, making teas, cooking (magical or not) and in creating healing remedies, creams and tinctures. Herbs can be used freshly picked from the plant but can also be dried and stored for later use.
In addition to herbs, there are many other beneficial plants—some of which you may already know. There are also a surprising number of uses for plants that are commonly considered to be weeds. These include dandelion (Taraxacum), plantain (Plantago) and clover (Trifolium) and they can be planted if you do not have them already growing wild in your garden. Houseplants can also be beneficial in magic and some are believed to also help purify the air around them.
1. Mint (Mentha)
This is a great herb to have, but care should be taken—it can spread quickly and take over an area. This can be avoided by growing it in a pot or other container. Mint has many uses in cookery and can also be used to make a refreshing tea that benefits digestion. It is a cooling and calming herb that has cleansing and purifying properties. Add mint to the water you use to clean floors and/or surfaces in order to cleanse your home or keep a leaf in your purse or money box to attract money. Planting mint in your garden may help protect your property, particularly if placed near entrances or your front door.
Magical associations of mint: money, healing, protection, cleansing and calming.
2. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Rosemary is an attractive evergreen plant that can become quite large if allowed to spread. The highly aromatic leaves have a soothing and calming scent that can be easily beneficial—simply run your hands over the plant. Rosemary can be used in cooking and is a nice addition to incense or smudge sticks. When planted in the garden, this herb is said to be highly protective.
Magical associations of rosemary: protection, love, purification, healing, sleep, remembrance and memory.
3. Lavender (Lavandula officinalis)
Lavender is another evergreen shrub and is much loved by bees. Like rosemary, lavender is used in protection, especially in guarding against emotional abuse and negative energy. It is a common ingredient in salves and cosmetics and can also be used in baking. Lavender has a strong association with sleep and is believed to help ease insomnia and promote restful sleep. If you can pick lavender with the stalks attached, it can be used in smudge sticks.
Magical associations of lavender: happiness, peace, protection, sleep, clarity, negativity and tranquillity.
4. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
Although this plant is generally considered to be a nuisance and unwanted addition to gardens and lawns, it is actually a very beneficial plant to have around. The petals can be used to create dandelion jam, and young leaves are delicious in salads. Oil made by steeping the flowers can be used in making soothing skin creams and salves. The sunny yellow flowers can be used to make a tea that is said to aid in divination. Dandelion flowers are also one of the first foods available for bees. Dandelion seeds can be bought online or are very easy to harvest from current plants. After blooming, the flowers form the familiar seed heads that are often blown by children making wishes. These seeds can be blown or scattered over an area to grow more dandelions, or you can plant them in pots by hand. In magic, dandelions are great for abundance spells.
Magical associations of dandelion: wishes, luck, divination, abundance and psychic abilities.
5. Bluebells (Hyancinthoides non-scripta)
These pretty, bell-shaped flowers are sometimes known as wood bell or Witches’ Thimbles. They are common in the UK, but it is illegal to intentionally pick, uproot or destroy bluebells growing in the wild. They have a strong connection to the faerie folk and many believe that they only grow in places where faeries are nearby. Traditionally, wearing a necklace of bluebells was believed to compel someone to tell the truth. The same effect can be achieved by using the flowers in truth spells. The ringing of a bluebell flower is thought to attract faeries.
Magical associations of bluebells: truth, faerie magic, healing, honesty and gratitude.
6. Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
Also known as common marigold (not to be confused with French marigold a.k.a. Tagetes Patula), these are pretty bedding plants with a variety of uses. The bright flowers have wound healing, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties making calendula a good choice for skin salves, creams and oils. The flowers of calendula are edible, and in cooking the petals can be used as a substitute for saffron. Both the flowers and petals can be dried for future use and the seeds are easily harvested from the dried seed pods. Calendula flowers are said to aid restful sleep and this is another plant believed to be protective when planted in your garden.
Magical associations of calendula: psychic powers, anti-gossip, luck, happiness, protection and dream work.
7. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
This is an easy-to-grow houseplant that can tolerate a little neglect and low light. Spider plants are great in hanging containers due to their long, thin leaves. They are also very easy to propagate as the parent plant produces baby plants (spiderettes) that can be detached and rooted by placing in water. Spider plants are good at purifying the air in a room and are believed to be able to remove toxins released from household furnishings.
Magical associations of spider plants: protection, purification, stamina and productivity.
Designing Your Garden
You do not have to start out with any set design for your garden or plan the layout in advance—unless you want to. If you prefer, you can start with a few plans and see how the space evolves as you add more plants over time. Even if you do choose to design your garden layout in advance, you may find that you have to adapt your initial plan as you add new plants or learn more about the natural features of the space, such as how much sunlight there is or the quality of the soil.
There are many factors to consider when designing your garden. These include:
- How much space is available?
- Can you dig into the ground or will you need to use pots?
- What is the climate like?
- Does anyone else use the space (i.e. children and pets)?
- Is the space sunny or is there a lot of shade?
How Much Space Is Available?
You do not need to have a large space in order to have a productive and satisfying garden. However, it may make a difference in what plants you choose to grow. For example, you may not have space for very large plants or those that will create a lot of shade over other plants. In a small garden, you may have to choose between growing a small amount of many types of plants or growing larger amounts of a smaller selection. In a small space, it can also be harder to create ideal conditions for a wide range of plants—although using pots and containers can be of great benefit here as it allows you to better meet the specific needs of each plant (i.e. preferred soil type, amount of water needed, etc.).
In any size garden, it makes sense to only grow plants that will actually be useful to you. It can be tempting to sow seeds of every herb you can find, but if you don’t like to eat them or won’t use them in magic, there isn’t much point in doing so. If you have a large garden area, you will be able to be less strict about what you plant as space will be at less of a premium; you may like to grow some plants purely for their attractiveness or because they are a personal favourite. Some plants are harder to find or expensive to buy, it makes sense to grow these only if you are able. If you have extra space in your garden, you may like to add an outdoor altar or space for relaxation or meditation.
Do not forget to think about the space in terms of height. Vertical gardening can be a great boost to small space gardening along with techniques such as square-foot gardening. Arches, trellises, netting and hanging baskets can add extra growing space and there is a range of containers that can be hung from fence posts or attached to walls and other surfaces. The use of arches, trellises and plant obelisks is not only limited to growing climbing plants. These can also be used as a base for affixing plant containers (such as hanging baskets and pots) or for adding items such as wind chimes, insect houses and bird feeders to your garden.
Planting in the Ground vs. Planting in Pots
Separate from the issue of how much space you have is how you can make use of that space. If the ground is concrete or paved, it may be impractical and expensive to remove this hard surface in order to grow plants in the soil beneath. Even if you do have access to soil or grass, you may be restricted on what you can do if your property is rented or the garden space is shared with other people. In these cases, pots and containers can be a great solution. Fortunately, these come in such a huge variety that everyone is likely to find something to suit their space.
Pots can also be used successfully in areas such as patios, balconies, steps and pathways. You also do not have to be restricted to traditional garden pots as many other everyday items can be repurposed for growing. Large plastic storage containers, buckets, wooden crates, old baths and toilets and even unused welly boots can make great containers for plants. Using pots and containers means that you do not have to worry as much about soil quality as you will need to buy compost or another medium in order to fill your pots. Pots can have the disadvantage of drying out more quickly—you may need to keep a close eye on this in the summer, in hot or dry climates or when growing plants that require a lot of water.
If you are able to dig into the ground to build your garden, it is helpful to work out what type of soil you have as this can have an effect on which plants will grow well. You can improve the soil at the start of your project by adding in compost or soil improvers, or you can improve the soil intermittently by adding these elements each time you plant something new.
What Is the Climate Like?
If you live in a particularly cold, hot or dry area, you may need to carefully consider which plants will grow best in your environment—many plants do not grow well in extremes of temperature or weather. The length of time a plant needs to grow may also need to be considered if you live somewhere where the warmer, brighter seasons are short. Choosing plants that are suited to the local climate will give you the best growing results. In some cases, this may mean that a specific plant type will not do well in your garden. In other cases, you may need to grow a certain variety in order to succeed. In hot climates, careful watering and creating artificial shade for your plants can help them survive. It might even be a good idea to set up an automatic watering system, particularly if you have a lot of rainfall at other times of the year and can collect this in water butts.
In colder areas or places that have a short growing season, greenhouses, cold frames, polytunnels and cloches can help keep plants warm and extend the growing season. These can also be useful in keeping pests from damaging your crops. Plastic bottles, glass jars and other transparent plastic or glass containers can be repurposed and used for added heat or protection from pests—simply place them over plants. If you are using plastic bottles, you will need to cut off the top section in order to make an opening big enough to go over your plant. These are also useful for starting seeds that need heat to germinate or if you are getting an early start on the growing season.
Are You Planting in a Shared Space?
If anyone else uses the garden space, then you may have to be mindful of how much space your plants take up and of what you plant. Many plants can be poisonous to children and pets—this includes some familiar flowers such as lilies (Lilium), bluebells (Hyacinthoides) and foxglove (Digitalis). Care should be taken when choosing plants, and if you choose to plant any that may pose a danger, younger children and pets should be supervised.
If you share your outside space with other adults, such as parents, grandparents or other residents, it may be worth talking to them about your garden plans. You may find that they are interested in your plans and/or may have ideas or advice to share with you regarding gardening or plants. Please note that you do not have to reveal the magical side to your gardening unless you wish. Indeed, it may be wise not to, depending on the views of those other people.
Is the Space Sunny or Shady?
The amount of sun that gets to your garden area can have a large impact on what you are able to grow. Plants have varying needs when it comes to soil types they grow well in or how much water or sunlight they require. Although some are fairly flexible in what conditions they can tolerate, there are many that will not do well unless specific conditions are met. In order to get the best results from your gardening, it makes sense to choose plants that suit the environment.
You may be able to make changes to improve some conditions, such as cutting back trees or large bushes to let in more sun or adding features to create shade.
There is obviously a lot to consider when getting a garden up and running. Just remember that:
- It is best to grow plants that you will have use for in the future, especially if you are working with a small garden space. For example, if you enjoy making herbal teas, herbs such as lemon balm, mint, rosemary and chamomile may be beneficial for you to grow.
- Salad leaves, herbs and baby vegetables can be great for kitchen witches with smaller spaces.
- However you put together your witch's garden is up to your personal preferences and what you have available to work with!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Claire