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Connecticut Garden Journal: Overwintering Herbs

Nov 9, 2017

Although we've had an incredible autumn so far, the end is near. With temperatures predicted to dip into the low 20s soon, it's time to protect tender plants you want to save for next year.

At the top of my list are herbs. You can freeze and dry culinary herbs for winter, or save some perennial herb plants for next year. Here’s how.

That big windstorm around Halloween wrecked my greenhouse. The plants survived, but not the greenhouse.

It left a beautiful rosemary plant exposed to the elements. Rosemary is hardy to zone 7, so it usually doesn't overwinter in the ground in most parts of Connecticut, except along the shore.

You can try to protect in-ground plants by growing hardy varieties, such as 'Arp', on well-drained soil in a protected spot and mulch with bark mulch in December.

Or you can move your potted rosemary indoors. Place the plant in a 50 to 60 degree, sunny room, away from any cold drafts. Keep the soil barely moist.

Parsley is another herb that can be brought indoors. It's a biennial, meaning it will eventually send up a seed stalk and die. But that won't happen until late winter, so you can enjoy harvesting this herb through the holidays. Then toss it in the compost. 

Lavender is hardy in our area. Like rosemary, grow hardy varieties, such as 'Munstead'. Plant in a location with well-drained soil, protected from cold winds and mulch with bark mulch in December.

Other perennial herbs such as thyme, oregano, and sage are hardy and should come back on their own without protection.

Next week on the Connecticut Garden Journal, I'll be talking about Asian ladybugs. Until then, I'll be seeing you in the garden.