Can you bring herbs inside for the winter?
Your plant may not grow much in winter, but it should survive and be ready to go outdoors next spring. Plus, you'll have the fragrance and taste of fresh rosemary in your kitchen all winter. You also can bring hardy herbs indoors in pots, not for their protection but for your use.
So, here are some herbs that do a little better in chilly weather—the perfect winter herbs to grow and eat.
- Rosemary. Rosemary is a perennial herb, which means that it can be grown year-round, and sturdy enough to defend itself against icy temperatures.
- Winter savory.
- Many winter herbs thrive easily in the Great Outdoors in Zones 6 and warmer. The list includes sage, common thyme, oregano, chives, chamomile, mints, lavender and tarragon. In warmer zones, gardeners usually plant winter herbs—the ones that thrive in cooler weather—during fall.
- Tomatoes are a warm season crop that dies back when cold temperatures threaten. This usually means no home-grown tomatoes in winter, unless you have a greenhouse. You can, however, grow tomatoes indoors, but they are usually smaller and produce less prolifically than their summer cousins.
- Basil seeds take between eight and 14 days to germinate and emerge from the soil. After germination, look for the first set of true leaves two to three weeks later. Then, two to three weeks after the first set of true leaves emerge, basil plants should be about 6 inches tall and ready to plant out in the garden.
Many perennial herbs are winter hardy in all or parts of North Carolina and can be left in the garden. A few plants are marginally winter hardy; in a mild winter they survive but may die during a severe winter. They can be brought indoors to overwinter.
- Basil is an annual herb that lasts one year. When planning your herb garden, it's important to keep in mind the growth habits of each plant. Some herbs are annuals, some are perennials, and some form small evergreen shrubs.
- Grown from either plants or seeds, rosemary is an outstanding perennial performer in Zones 7 to 10 with reports of it thriving in Zone 6 not uncommon. Plants can be brought indoors to overwinter in colder zones. A member of the mint family, like so many herbs, rosemary's history is rooted in ancient times.
- Many perennial herbs are winter hardy in all or parts of North Carolina and can be left in the garden. A few plants are marginally winter hardy; in a mild winter they survive but may die during a severe winter. They can be brought indoors to overwinter.
Knowing which are annuals and which are perennials is essential when planning and planting an herb garden. Perennial herbs like sage, thyme, lavender, chives and mint do not need to be replanted each year. But annuals like basil and cilantro will not survive an Iowa winter – so they must be replanted each spring.
- Even though rosemary generally prefers different conditions, parsley, rosemary and chives can all be grown together in a window box. Mediterranean herbs: Herbs from this region are the ones who tend to prefer a dry and sandy soil. Sage, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, oregano and lavender all fall into this category.
- This refreshing plant transfers easily from garden to kitchen. Mints are perennial herbs with squared, four-sided stems with opposite leaves and small lipped flowers. All parts of the plants are pungent. Most are hardy in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 3–8, but check the species you want before you buy.
- If your zone is 5 or less then you will need to keep the plants indoors over winter. Although parsley is biennial, it goes to flower in the second year and sets seeds, and does little else. That is why it is normally grown as an annual, even though it will survive the winter.
Updated: 2nd October 2019