How to Grow a Skincare Garden
Ideas for growing a skincare garden filled with healing herbs, flowers, and plants. Includes tips on growing them in the garden, containers, or indoors and continues with ideas in using them in DIY herbal skincare
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There’s a fine line between health, medicine, and beauty. The same herbs that flavor our food or tea can soothe and heal us from the inside. In many cases, those same herbs contain extracts that can treat skin complaints or make it feel refreshed, clean, and hydrated. I also through this idea in my book, A Woman’s Garden, and you can use it along with the information on Lovely Greens to grow and create your own herbal skincare.
Growing a skincare garden is for beauty enthusiasts, as growing a vegetable garden is for foodies. Access to fresh and organic produce that has been cultivated from seed to plant. You know its whole life story – how it was grown, when it was picked, and just how far it’s had to travel. The trip from the garden to the kitchen probably has fewer food miles than your average packet of plastic-wrapped supermarket herbs.
Herbs to Grow in a Skincare Garden
There are plants that can help almost any skin complaint. Chamomile helps soothe eczema, thyme can kill the bacteria responsible for pimples, rose petals create a refreshing skin toner, and lavender promotes skin healing. The first piece in this series, Using Plants, Flowers, and Herbs for Skincare, goes through over twenty skin-beneficial herbs. It will help you choose which ones you should focus on growing.
This is the second piece in a series on creating your own plant-based skincare. It focuses on options for cultivating skincare herbs in the garden, patio, or indoors. It will help show you ways to grow skincare plants in open garden situations, planters, and containers. Make sure to check out the other parts of this series too.
DIY Herbal Skincare Series
- Plants, Flowers, and Herbs for Skincare
- Grow a Beauty & Skincare Garden
- How to use Skin Healing Plants to Make Herbal Skincare
- Healing Plants to Grow in a Salve Garden
- Six Ways to Make Herb-Infused Oil
Planning a Skincare Garden
If you grow a garden, you probably already have skincare plants, whether you realize it or not. They’re a diverse group and range from shrubs to aromatic herbs, vegetables, and weeds. You’ll think twice about pulling out plantain or chickweed after hearing what they can do. Although you could grow a garden specifically for skincare herbs, it’s much more feasible to just make space for them. It could be a small garden bed or peppering herbs around the garden that work as companion plants to veggies.
On the other hand, you might live in an apartment but would like to grow herbs all the same. Your space will determine how and where you grow them but learning the needs of each plant will help you to succeed. Some, like marshmallow, really does need an in-ground place to grow. Others, like calendula and chamomile, can grow in large pots or containers.
Growing a Skincare Garden
I have two beds in my allotment garden dedicated to herbs and skincare plants. I grow two types of mint, lemon balm, oregano, chamomile, lavender, rosemary, a few others, and of course, my favorite, calendula. If there’s one skincare plant I recommend growing, it will always be calendula. It’s easy to grow, edible, healing, cheerful, and always dependable.
Herbs will happily grow sandwiched together, especially if they love the same soil types. Mediterranean herbs like thyme, rosemary, and lavender grow best in well-drained soil. In fact, you could even plant a long row of lavender to create a fragrant lavender hedge. Think of all the flower buds you could harvest from one.
Leafier greens like lemon balm, parsley, and mint prefer moister and more fertile footings, so they’ll grow well together too. Other plants will grow anywhere and are less fussy about where you put them. Calendula seems to thrive on just about any type of soil and will spring up from any open patch if you give it the chance.
Skincare Herb Spiral
One brilliant piece of Permaculture design is the herb spiral. It’s a mounded vertical garden bed that winds around like a spiral. You use bricks or stone to build up the sides. Usually, about three feet high by six feet wide, herbs that like it on the dry side are planted in the middle, which is also the top. Herbs that like moisture soil are planted closer to ground height at the bottom of the spiral. That’s why you’ll find lady’s mantle, a herb for mature skin, growing at the bottom corner of the herb spiral above.
Grow Skincare Herbs in Containers
Some skincare plants do better in an open garden — marshmallow (Althaea officinalis,) and witch hazel (Hamamelis) for two. Most others can be grown in pots and containers. If you liked the sound of the herb spiral mentioned a little earlier, there are custom herb spiral garden containers you can get. Better yet, you can grow herbs in a vertical planter. It maximizes the herbs you could grow on a small patio or balcony. This year I’m growing carrots in mine, but I’ve used it as a vertical herb garden before.
Skincare herbs grow just as well in simple terracotta pots, window boxes, hanging baskets, and other containers. On my back patio, I currently have apple mint in a terracotta pot and chives in another. I also have a large L-shaped planter outlining the patio, and in it are rosemary, thyme, sage, and lavender.
When planting herbs in containers, research what soil is best for them. Lavender will grow in large pots but needs good drainage and protection from the cold in winter. Mints, in my experience, will grow in any type of soil but need to be kept out of the hot summer sun. There are very few skincare herbs you can’t grow in pots if you give them the attention and care they need.
Grow Skincare Herbs Indoors
The challenge to growing any plants indoors is that it’s up to you to replicate their needs for sun, water, humidity, and nutrients. Things that you can at least partially rely on nature to provide when you grow plants outside. Saying that, it’s entirely possible to grow your own skincare plants indoors. At least some of them.
Smaller herbs will grow in east or west-facing windows – south and north-facing windows can give too much or too little sun. You can use ordinary potting mixes, but it’s better to begin with sterile mixes specifically for house plants. I suspect that fungus gnats, a house plant pest, can come from ordinary compost.
The biggest challenge to growing plants indoors is watering. Not under-watering but over-watering – it can weaken the plant, cause foliage to die off, and exacerbate the fungus gnat issue. If lighting is a concern, you can grow plants with specialty house plant lights or even standard grow lights. Though I’m not a hydroponics gardener, that’s another idea for growing your own indoors.
Using Herbs to Make Skincare
The next piece in this series walks you through transforming your skincare herbs into actual skincare. Ways to tap into the skin-beneficial compounds in leaves, roots, bark, and flowers and use them in herbal recipes. Explore the ideas below, and look through the herbal skincare and soap recipes on Lovely Greens.
Herbal Skincare Recipes
- Honey and Chamomile Body Butter
- Chamomile lotion recipe
- Herbal Healing Salve (with calendula)
Your website has SO much well written educational content. My head is spinning with ideas. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge. I made my first batch of lavender & rosemary lotion bars (incorporating herbs from my garden) & I am hooked. I can’t wait to grow more herbs you have suggested, make my own infused oils and make some soap! Thank you, thank you!
I’m so happy that you’re finding so much inspiration here on Lovely Greens! Glad to have you on board Kate and please feel free to subscribe to my weekly newsletter — there’s a link in the top navigation. I share seasonal ideas and anything new!
I love the idea of growing your own skincare! Sharing to my Facebook and my Pinterest board. Thanks again.
HI TANYA, MASSIVE ARTICLE Plants, Flowers, & Herbs for Natural Skincare. love it
are you able to recommend a certain type of rose to grow that have skin care benefits; I see different types of roses in ingredients but wonder if one type is better than another. Thank you.
Any old variety rose will do but if you’re interested, Rosa × damascena is the type used for essential oil extraction.
Very helpful article. However whats the easiest way to infuse all of these products to put into cream, candle?
You use the infused oils Elizabeth :) Creams are oils + water. Candles are just wax but I have no experience of making candles using infused soy wax or beeswax so I don’t know if it works. Here’s a recipe for making handmade lotion
What rose plant variety is best?
Older varieties and wild roses have more fragrance than newer types. I’d stick with those if given a choice.
There’s such a wide range of home grown plants which can be used to improve health and beauty. Not many people are aware of this! Thanks for sharing!
Any ideas for lemongrass????
Lemongrass smells amazing but it's also a well known insect repellent. Sounds like a fantastic opportunity for a summertime product whether a cream or spray :)
I really enjoy reading your blog and have gained some valuable insights and great ideas from it. Thank you! I would, however, like to caution anyone who is allergic to ragweed (a very common allergy here in the States) to be very careful before using chamomile or echinacea either topically or internally. Persons allergic to ragweed often have an allergic reaction to chamomile as these plants are in the same family. Echinacea can also cause a similar allergic reaction. A friend of mine has a severe ragweed allergy and has to read the ingredients list on any natural care products very carefully – if it contains chamomile, normally a soothing ingredient, she will react quite strongly and cannot use it
I am not trying to scare anyone, just to be sure that the information is available to them.
Pamela in Oklahoma
Thanks Pamela for your caution :) Fortunately, the majority of people won't have an issue with using Chamomile or Echinacea.
Tanya, this was a recent discovery for me. My older son has some fairly severe environmental allergies (weeds and grasses) which affect his skin. Our MD did confirm that chamomile and ragweed are related; fortunately I myself am not allergic and can use chamomile products and drink chamomile tea. It is a wonderful herb for many purposes.
I want to add that I love your site and the information you have on it. It is always so well-written and beautifully illustrated.
Thank you Pamela for the kind words and further information :)
Lovely, very informative post. Thank you for this xxx
Very happy to share it Fran :)