Keep Your Herbs from Freezing over the Winter

Edited by Jonathan, Eng, Lynn, estrella sacragon and 4 others

Herbs might be annual, biennial, or perennial. They might be tender, fragile or hardy. There are some herbs that can survive the winter without much care. There are others that cry out for special attention. Below you will learn how different herbs react to the coldest season of the year, and how you could help certain herbs survive and flourish until spring arrives.

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Herbs and the Winter

Sage Flower 3 1.jpg

There are perennial herbs that overwinter well. Examples are:

  • Chives.
  • Oregano.
  • Lavender.
  • Thyme.

Here are a few ways to deal with the winter, and still preserve some of your herbs:

  1. 1
    In areas where the winter is extremely cold, for extra protection you need to add two to three inches thick layer of shredded bark mulch
    .
    This will protect the roots of the herbs from exposure to the cold weather and exposure to frost/ice.
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  2. 2
    Bring the plants indoors for the winter
    .
    Tender perennial herbs like rosemary and biennial herbs like parsley can be potted up and brought inside for the winter.
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  3. 3
    Parsley
    .
     
    1. Dig up the parsley plant and make sure you take most, if not all of its root system.
    2. Pot the parsley in a deep container.
    3. Water generously.
    4. Keep it in a shaded area outside for a week to get it ready.
    5. After a week, move it indoors into a shaded area. Water it. This will give it time to adjust to being indoors.
    6. After a week, place it in the sun and water generously.
    7. By the end of autumn, you should have a fresh harvest!
    8. If there's enough light the parsley will even produce new growth.
    9. By late winter, leaf quality will not be so good as parsley gets ready to produce seed stalk.
    10. When it gets to this stage, you can put the plant into the compost and thank it for providing you fresh parsley all winter.
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  4. 4
    Rosemary
    .
    You have to bring all varieties of rosemary indoors before a hard frost. Rosemary is an herb of contrasting characteristics. It likes cool temperatures, but it is also adaptable to high humidity and likes to thrive in the barely moist soil during winter. Rosemary will not winter over in a cold climate.  
    1. After potting up the rosemary, as with the parsley, allow it to adjust to life in a pot.
    2. Leave it outside in the shade for a week.
    3. Bring it inside in a shaded area for a week.
    4. Now you can place it in a window with lots of warm sunlight streaming through, but keep it in a cooler area of your home - ideally, 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit. ##Humidity can be maintained by misting often.
    5. The pot should be placed on a pebble tray filled with water.
    6. Rosemary doesn't require a lot of water. Just to keep the soil from drying out.
    7. Rosemary might not grow much in winter, but with these guidelines, it should survive beautifully. An added benefit will be the unique fragrance and taste of rosemary will stay with your kitchen the whole winter season.
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  5. 5
    Other Herbs you can bring indoors using the above suggestions include:
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  • Oregano,
  • Thyme
  • Mint

Put them in pots to provide fresh leaves for your cooking while the snow is raging outside. When spring comes around, simply plant them back into the garden.

Perennial Herbs That Might Survive the Winter Season

This is more suggested for areas with mild winters. That would include the Carolinas, the west coast (Seattle/Vancouver), etc. Those people leaving in extremely cold locations during the winter season should incorporate extra protection, preferably 2 to 3-inch thick layer of bark mulch (shredded). Because of the bark mulch, the roots of the herbs are less likely to become raised out of the ground and dehydrate. The bark mulch will avoid the ground from thawing and freezing in winter. Greenhouses are helpful. Read Cold Greenhouse for Winter Growing for tips. Among the herbs that could survive the cold season are:

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  1. 1
    Lavender
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  2. 2
    Oregano
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  3. 3
    Chives
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  4. 4
    Thyme
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Questions and Answers

Does parsley die when it's below freezing?

Yes, it does. What you can do is to put it inside the house, in a pot and place it in a sunny area where the sun can reach it during the day. Make sure that you keep the plant warm at night as well.

Winter cold-hardy herbs that can tolerate freezing temperatures?

Some herbs that can survive in a freezing temperature are:

  • sage
  • kale
  • parsley
  • chives
  • cilantro
  • fennel
  • mint

There are quite a few hardy plants that grow in the winter. Here is a short list of foods to grow in winter.

  • Broad Beans
  • Asparagus
  • Peas
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Spinach
  • Lamb's lettuce
  • Kale
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Beetroot

If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.

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Article Info

Categories : Herbal Medicines

Recent edits by: vc, Nuance, Maria Sharon Ubando

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