Bringing Herbs Indoors

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Anyone have some tips on bringing those beloved herbs indoors for the winter?

I have mint, sage, rosemary, oregano, basil, thyme, and dill. I really love to use fresh herbs in my cooking and hate to see summer end.

Magnolia, TX(Zone 9a)

it isnt a problem where we are- if it gets really cold we'll throw a sheet over stuff, other than that they grow all winter outdoors, I lose the basils, but they've been flowering and reseeding themselves, so I will only need to replace the ones like African Blue basil...

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 7a)

Birder, I'm in zone 7a, just a little warmer than you, and everything on your list except for the basil and dill are perennial plants here. They live outdoors all year long. I harvested from them all winter last year, but in smaller quantities.

I don't have much luck with growing basil indoors, though. You might have better luck starting a new basil plant indoor this fall. The one that you've had all summer long might be ready to call it quits.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

I agree ~ the basil and dill are annuals.

The others should overwinter outdoors without a problem... unless you keep them in pots.
The roots in pots may be more vulnerable to freezing temperatures. They will overwinter in the ground better.
You could even sink the pots in the soil to protect their roots.

If you do feel the need to bring them in, put them in a cool room. They will not appreciate the warmer, drier air indoors.
The rosemary in particular is difficult to keep indoors. Good luck, Kristi

Middle of, VA(Zone 7a)

Rosemary does just fine outside here....I've had the same plant for 5+ years - hack it back 3x each year. AND it's evergreen so I can grab fresh rosemary throughout the winter - it does not die back like the other herb perennials

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Yes, rosemary grows outside up to zone 7. :( I am zone 6.

ss gardener: That's a good idea to start a small plant of basil. The mature plants will be too big to adjust to bringing indoors.

I have my herbs in pots. My kitchen is adjacent to the deck which is ten feet off the ground. It's a real pain to have to go down the steps, into the garden just for a couple sprigs of an herb. So, I have kept them on my deck, and it's been very convenient and enjoyable to walk out there a snip a few fresh herbs.

Thanks all, for posting.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Because they are on the deck & handy, I would leave them there and quickly bring them in on frosty nights.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Yes, I guess that's what I will do. I brought the mint, rosemary, and sage in last year. I put them in the garage under a south window. I used the rosemary and sage in the winter--but I didn't get much. The oregano is new this year. I will try bringing it in near the south window in the garage also. The basil, I think I will start some from seed now to bring indoors. I really like basil and miss it in the winter months. Buying it in the grocery store is rather expensive.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

I was actually surprised to hear many gardeners in the northern zones like Minnesota and Michigan leave their oregano out (in ground) all winter. At that point, I quit protecting mine. lol

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Yes, I see in DG oregano survives in zone 5. Next year, I will plant some outside. I have some thyme in the groundm but it's not a herb I use often. .

Magnolia, TX(Zone 9a)

Depends a lot on the oregano, some of em are finicky.

Middle of, VA(Zone 7a)

Funny thing - the Oregano seems to be the one herb that does not thrive for me. Any pointers for next year? I'm thinking maybe it might have liked a little less sun? Any help is appreciated!!

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Can you identify this herb in picture number one?

And, picture number two is my Oregano.

And picture number three is a close up of the Oregano leaves. It is Oregano isn't it? I lost the tag.

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Magnolia, TX(Zone 9a)

Chuckl, doesn't look like my oregano, not surprising- I have the urge to smell them! The first one reminds me of a rosemary. Did you plant Italian, Greek, Armenian,Cuban? Or Mexican also this is a plant named marjoram, they Lise their flavors with flowering, but when the flowers bloom there are bees from Everywhere!

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Kittriana ~ doesn't the first photo look like a thyme? It does look familiar but I'm not sure.

I think that other one is either oregano or marjoram.

Birder17 ~ if you rub the leaves, does it have the oregano (pizza) fragrance?
I like the smell of both but don't know how to describe the scent of marjoram. Kristi

Magnolia, TX(Zone 9a)

it does kinda resemble a thyme-not one I have. Not a rosemary, my laptop has pix I can see better. Second is an oregano. These are what I have that I can show: 1) the carpet looking stuff is Hot Spicy Oregano, only name I know for it, and yes, a cuke leaf on its way out and a pepper leaf and an onion all tangled in together. 2) prostrate rosemary , with bee balm on its right. 3) English, German, or Mother of Thyme-same thing. 4) Lemon thyme. 5) 2 months of neglect, chuckl

waiting, they are loading in reverse to my order! Grrr, Ok, fix

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Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Kittriana ~ what a lovely and lush tangled mess you have ~ lol Hard to imagine it did that well after this past summer.

Birder17 ~ do you recall planting a thyme of some sort? What do the leaves in your first photo smell like when you rub them?

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Thanks all for your input. In the first photo, I remember it being called White Flower _______?.
It's a cute little plant and has grown with not much care. I have had it for two years and has become a bit bigger this year.
The second picture, I "think" was an oregano.

I rubbed each plant's leaves between my fingers. The first picture's leaves are almost non-existant. They are sort of like little spikes about 1/16th on an inch growing up and down the stem of the plant. The fragrance was quite mild. The new stems are a blue green then, turn green as they age.
I "think" its called White Flower Thyme. This plant has a couple of interesting features: 1. The leaves are spiny-they don't hurt but definitely feel quite textured. 2. It forms a perfectly round, upright circle. 3. The new leaves are blue green and age to green.

The second pictured plant's leaves are quite pungent when the leaves are rubbed between my fingers. The leaves are quite small.

I took pictures of the leaves, but have been unable to post them yet. Maybe later.

Magnolia, TX(Zone 9a)

Not all thymes are used in cooking, but there are a lot of em that have some resemblance to the cooking ones, as far as I am concerned mother of thyme stinx

Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

We winter rosemary inside in the house in front of windows that face south. There is at least one Rosemary that is suppose to be winter hardy here but we've killed that one off at least once over a winter. I don't remember now if it was a temp or wet soil issue. I water inside when the rosemary soil dries out and occationally fertilize during the winter.

Except for last year my mint has died outside every year. The one time we brought it inside it died on us. You might try a combination of bringing it in and trying a start to see which does better.

The recommendation that I've seen about leaving plants in containers is to either insulate the container or make sure the plant is a couple of zones hardier than what you live in. So if you are in zone 6 then in order to stay outside the plant hardiness should be zone 4.

I'm not sure what that the first photo is. It almost looks like a miniature juniper. Does it bloom?

Magnolia, TX(Zone 9a)

We are curious abt the first picture because it doesn't have a recognizable look of thyme, nor the color of the thymes I know, many thymes have pastel color flowers, some make carpets, some bunch, but they all have a recognizable tiny leaf. Elfin thyme is one of the tiniest thymes.

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

I've had rosemary both survive and not survive 6b winters in the NV high desert. Oregano, Thyme, and Sweet Marjoram had not problems. Melissa (Lemon Balm) died back to the ground, but came back each year from the roots. Basil self sowed and sprouted and survived earlier than the recommended plant out dates (could it be it is slightly more cold tolerant as a seedling?). Rosemary seemed to do better buried in snow than during dry winters. Good luck!

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Whew! I have been away from my computer. I have been quite busy pulling weeds in my gardens, re-arranging some flowers in the flower beds, choosing and ordering a "bunch" of spring bulbs and had company. Sorry, I have not been back to this thread. It is late tonight. I think I took some more pictures of the above "thyme. I will try to post another picture of this mystery plant tomorrow. Thanks to all who have posted.

I have grown Rosmary officinalis 'Arp' two years ago. It made it through the winter. My husband yanked it out to plant bell peppers (right next to the house on south side). This year, I bought another one, and the deer dug it up. So, next year, I will try it outside again. The Rosmary Arp is suppose to be winter hardy to zone 6 and successfully did so.

I have tried several times in vain to winter my Rosemary inside in front of the south patio door. It turns crispy in no time. Last year, I put it in the garage in front of a south window, and it was happy. It didn't grow much however, but at least it stayed alive. It has done real well over the summer.

Has anyone tried to grow cilantro indoors? Cilantro and Basil are the two herbs I use the most and miss the most in the winter time.

Magnolia, TX(Zone 9a)

I don't have cilantro, no one would use it, so I opt for what is appreciated. Basil needs a disproportionately deep pot to survive in indoors- if you stint on the deep taproot room it dies on you, my guess is the same is true of the other herbs. Due to weeds (herbs) are stubborn enough to survive so dug deep into the ground to hang on, same would be prob true of Rosemary indoors, deep pot, good drainage

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

I did not realize the deep tap root for basil. Thanks. Maybe that's why my Rosemary does "okay" in the garage in the winter. I have it in an urn. Herbs are new territory for me. I have started growing them because I like to use fresh herbs in my cooking.

Magnolia, TX(Zone 9a)

Oregano, so many oregano types! I suspect a diff type for each of thezones with a bit of research would give a clue As to which one would survive a diff zone best, my spicy hot oregano does great here, but I am going to look for a different one to work into my herb plots- just need a chance to do some flavor tests, chuckl. Same for thymes- I add mine to my cup of noodles and it's awesome, or with Rosemary and olive oil on broiled(baked?)sweet potato wedges, yummmm. Drat, I'm ready to be home already, sigh, deep tap root room, good drainage, more 'dirt' than potting soil, sun is loved by herbs.

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