Herb Garden
Published November 29, 2021 by Nicole Burke

How to Overwinter Herbs Indoors

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herb garden
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How to Overwinter Herbs Indoors - Nicole Burke of Gardenary

Bring Your Herb Garden Indoors

Your thyme is thriving and your rosemary is draped elegantly over the side of your raised bed kitchen garden, but winter is coming. What do you do?

With the exception of basil, many herbs can survive a mild winter. My Rooted Garden clients in Houston, for example, continue to grow herbs like sage, rosemary, and oregano throughout their colder months.

Those of you who experience a true cold season, where there's a guarantee of frost and/or snow, will need to provide frost protection for cold-hardier herbs and bring less tolerant herbs indoors. Some of your herbs, like chives, will die back and then return in the spring (their blossoms all the more beautiful for the cold weather).

One of the best things about herbs is how easy they are to care for, and that includes growing herbs indoors, as well. That means you can bring your herbs inside and never miss out on that garden-fresh flavor during the long winter months.

indoor herbs

Step one to overwinter herbs indoors

Dig your herbs up if they're in the ground or in a raised bed, taking care not to overly disturb the roots. Use your shovel or hori hori to dig a wide circle and go an inch deeper than the plant's roots before you pull it from its home. Try to keep as much of the soil it's currently growing in as possible.

Another option would be to take cuttings from your mature plants and propagate them indoors. Here's how to easily propagate rosemary, mint, and basil. Your baby herbs will be ready to plant in your garden come the spring.

which herbs can grow indoors for winter

Step two to overwinter herbs indoors

Check your herbs carefully for pests. Prune damaged or discolored leaves. If you see any pests, pick them off or spray the plant with a mix of soap and water.

learn more about growing your own herbs

Step three to overwinter herbs indoors

Choose containers that are deep enough to accommodate the roots of your herbs. I like to use terra cotta pots for moisture control. Make sure there's at least one good drainage hole in the bottom of your container or pot.

Line the bottom of your containers or pots with garden mesh to prevent your soil from spilling out the bottom every time you water your herbs.

Fill your containers or pots in with a mixture of carpenter's sand (not play sand), soil, and compost.

If you're using small pots, plant one herb per pot. Wider containers give you more freedom to plant multiple herbs in the same space (except for mint, which will try to take over and should be given its own pot).

Give your plants a nice watering.

herbs to grow indoors

Step four to overwinter herbs indoors

Bring your herbs inside and set them somewhere that receives a lot of sun, maybe a kitchen window if you have one. (Bonus: herbs are always at your fingertips for easy harvests.) I'm lucky to have a large picture window that faces south to house my herbs all winter. I keep a blanket under the pots and their saucers to protect the wood surface underneath.

Your plants will slowly adjust to reduced light indoors. If older leaves wither, prune them. Water your plants sparingly, only when the top two inches or so of their soil feels dry.

Once your garden soil is workable, you can transplant most of your herbs back out to your garden (wait for warm weather for basil).

best herbs to grow indoors

If you end up with more herbs than you know what to do with, here's how to make a dried herb wreath that's a beautiful holiday gift for friends and neighbors (and so much better for the planet than fake, plastic wreaths). If you prefer to eat all your herbs, here's my family's much-loved herb garden flatbread—the perfect dish to warm you right up!

I hope you and your herbs stay warm this coming winter!

Master the art of growing your own organic (and delicious) herb garden

The Herb Garden Guidebook

Based on Gardenary's Introductory Gardening Online Course, Herb Garden Guide, this comprehensive guidebook will lead you through the step by step so that you know exactly how to grow all the culinary herbs you love right in your very own space.