HOME > Chowhound > Gardening >

Winterizing My Herbs

v
Valentine529 Oct 17, 2012 09:32 AM

Hello!

I need advice on winterizing my herbs. I live in northeastern PA, in zone 5b. My herbs are currently on a raised outside deck in 2 gallon pots. I cannot bring them inside for the winter because there is probably not enough sun exposure inside our house. The herbs that I would like to winterize are parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano, chives, and mint.

I was told that I could cut the herbs down to about 1 inch, cover the pots with mulch, place the pots as close to the house as possible, and these herbs would probably "regrow" next spring. Is this sound advice? What advice would you give to me regarding this siyuation? I will try to do what I can to save these beautiful plants over the winter!

Thanks in advance for your advice!

Valentine :)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. s
    sr44 RE: Valentine529 Oct 17, 2012 09:50 AM

    Rosemary will not survive winters in zone 5b, so I suggest you bring that one in. Keep it cool and well watered. Parsley is a biennial and will go to seed next spring.

    Here in Central NY, now in zone 6, in an urban backyard, I have wintered sage and chives in a really dinky window box without issues. Thyme usually doesn't survive, although it did last winter. Oregano has survived in a bigger planter. I'm trying mint for the first time this year.

    9 Replies
    1. re: sr44
      v
      Valentine529 RE: sr44 Oct 17, 2012 10:03 AM

      Thanks for the advice, sr44. My rosemary plant is pretty spectacular, even now, so I do not want to lose it! I am wondering what all my options are with my herbs. I need to decide soon before the first frost comes. I do not own a grow light, and I would not even know where to get one nor which one to get, etc. I am hoping that I will gain some much needed knowledge from this board!

      I could put the herbs in our garage, but there would not be enough sun exposure... How much sunlight does a dormant herb plant need? How much water???

      1. re: Valentine529
        l
        lcool RE: Valentine529 Oct 17, 2012 10:29 AM

        in low light water minimally

        Rosemary often roots well in water.Try 3 or 4 vases,several stems to get you through the winter and you may have another plant if needed in the spring.

        1. re: lcool
          v
          Valentine529 RE: lcool Oct 17, 2012 04:40 PM

          Thank you for the advice, lcool! I will try this! :)

        2. re: Valentine529
          s
          sr44 RE: Valentine529 Oct 17, 2012 10:54 AM

          Because rosemary is evergreen, it doesn't go completely dormant. By the time it gets to be "pretty spectacular", it's about big enough to use, so I would bring that one in and do the best you can. Water when needed--if the soil is wet, don't. If problems arise, you can always put it back out to freeze and start over next year. Taking a couple of cuttings now is also a good idea.

          It's not clear from my first response that the sage and chives were outside and survived.

          1. re: sr44
            v
            Valentine529 RE: sr44 Oct 17, 2012 04:45 PM

            Oh. no. sr44... Your response was very clear! I was just thinking out loud in my respose, if you can understand! I guess that I am not sure, yet, what is the best thing to do for my herbs.

            Thank you for your advice! I really appreciate that you are sharing your knowledge with me! :)

            1. re: Valentine529
              s
              sr44 RE: Valentine529 Oct 17, 2012 04:50 PM

              Whatever you do, there's always next year to do something different. Good luck.

              1. re: sr44
                v
                Valentine529 RE: sr44 Oct 17, 2012 04:55 PM

                You are absolutely right! I shouldn't get so attached to my plants! Sometimes, I feel like I care about them almost as much as my pets!!! LOL

                1. re: Valentine529
                  s
                  sr44 RE: Valentine529 Oct 17, 2012 04:56 PM

                  What, they aren't pets? I'm going to have to think about that.

                  Another source of advice is your county extension office and/or master gardeners. They would be knowledgeable about your specific location.

        3. re: sr44
          EWSflash RE: sr44 Oct 27, 2012 07:51 PM

          I'm going to suggest that you keep it very dry when you bring it in. Only water when it gets critically dry, and then only give it a tiny bit of water. Those things will rot indoors if overwatered, and the cool temps will underscore the limited need for water.

        4. d
          dfrostnh RE: Valentine529 Oct 20, 2012 12:46 PM

          Years ago, an herb lady told me that some herbs are supposed to go thru a winter's dormancy. That would be sage, thyme, oregano, chives and mint. Sage is so hardy that the leaves stay on the plant for a long time. Here in NH zone 5, we've had some 21 deg nights/frosts but the herbs close to the house all look great. I'll probably be able to pick sage for Thanksgiving stuffing.

          I haven't tried it but once someone explained that you could pot up some chives, let them freeze, but after a period of time, bring them in so they would start growing early. You might find some specific instructions if you do some google research.

          I've had best luck with rosemary keeping it in a cool bathroom (old house, 2nd floor is pretty cool) and north light. The extra humidity from showers helps. A friend had tremendous success by placing a humidifier right next to her rosemary plant.

          I've had parsley in a pot start growing again in the spring but as mentioned by the other poster, it's a biennial and will put out a seed stalk the second year. I would put your potted herbs on the ground, rather than keeping them on the deck during the winter. I suspect their bottoms might freeze and thaw more if they are on a deck.

          1. DonShirer RE: Valentine529 Oct 28, 2012 04:33 PM

            I've overwintered chives, parsley and rosemary on a south-facing window sill (not too much light since there are trees outside). In fact the chives usually last several years that way. Parsley is a biennial, so after using it all winter, I usually plant a couple of new pots every spring.

            1. AmyH RE: Valentine529 Oct 31, 2012 09:00 AM

              I'm in northeastern NY state and also have a spectacular rosemary plant. I've had it for quite a few years now. It lives in an east-facing window in my dining room in the winter (it's outdoor summer home is on the same side of the house). My sage has lasted a few years, too, but it lives in the garage for the winter. I have gotten my thyme and oregano through most of the winter in the garage, but it never comes back very well in the spring and I usually have to buy new plants. All of my herbs in pots go through an adaptation period in the late fall-early winter (beginning right before the first frost) where they ride around in a little red wagon. THey spend nights in the garage and days in the driveway. Only when it starts getting really cold do I bring them to their winter diningroom or garage homes. Also, I have a sh*t load of chives that have been in my garden since before I bought the house 15 years ago. They've survived some nasty winters and keep coming back stronger than ever. Every few years I yank a bunch out or they'll take over my whole raised bed vegetable garden.

              Show Hidden Posts