Over the last few months, you’ve been spoiled by the riches of your carefully planted, well-tended garden. After all, there’s nothing quite like a vine-ripe tomato, sun-warmed peppers, or a fresh salad with lettuce and kale from your backyard. But as the last few weeks of summer pass us by, that doesn’t mean that we have to bid adieu to all the delight that a garden brings. While you may not be able to harvest as many fruits and vegetables, you will still be able to enjoy some of the best herbs to grow in fall and winter if you play your cards right.
While some herbs like basil, dill, and parsley are best for the summer, there are plenty of other aromatics that actually do quite well throughout the colder seasons, too. So if you’re looking to continue exercising that green thumb of yours, there’s still plenty of time to get some seedlings in the ground, especially if you choose wisely. “Be sure that you’re selecting for plants that will overwinter well,” says Kalei Buczek, manager at ReWild plant and flower studio in Washington, DC. “These are plants that will retain their foliage and be evergreen or come back in the spring.”
When it comes to the best herbs to grow in the fall and winter, you’ll want to check to see in which USDA hardiness zone you’re located. These zones, which are based on temperature, are key for helping gardeners understand what herbs will work best for their particular gardens. However, there are a few herbs that ought to do relatively well irrespective of zone given their hardy nature. We’ve rounded up some of our favorites below.
The best herbs to plant in fall and winter
“Rosemary is a real champ, gets nice and woody, and can even be pruned way back to encourage soft, green growth in the spring,” says Buczek. “Plus, it retains its foliage through the winter.” Not to mention, there’s nothing quite like roasted potatoes with some fresh (or dried) rosemary.
Like rosemary, lavender also gets woody in the colder months and retains its growth. Then there’s the fact that it’s known as the “plant of peace” for its stress-busting benefits. Steep it as a tea to help you stay warm and relax.
“Catmint grows vigorously without a lot of maintenance,” says Buczek. But just be warned that frost will kill it—so you may want to plant yours in an indoor herb gardenindoor herb garden. Luckily, if yours is outdoors and gets frostbite, it regrows easily in the spring, according to Buczek.
Buczek recommends using bee balm for tea since it’s part of the mint family. “It dies in the fall, but comes back in the spring and is a great pollinator plant,” she says.
Another great herb for your morning brews come cold-and-flu season is echinacea since boosting your immunity is one of its many health and skin benefits. Others include its anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties. Plus, it can help improve collagen production, NBD.
Live somewhere with particularly harsh winters? Thyme is a hardy herb to consider adding to your cold-weather crop rotation. “I’ve seen thyme grow in place of grass on small patios because it creeps well,” says Buczek. “Some varieties overwinter better than others depending on how mild the winter is, but you can expect it regrow in the spring regardless,” she adds.
A staple in Italian cooking, oregano has many of the same qualities as thyme in terms of its growing habits and patterns, which makes it ideal for late season planting.
Chives and garlic
“Both alliums, these bulb perennials are made to survive the winter and push back up in the spring,” says Buczek. “Garlic is meant to be harvested when the first few leaves of the plant turn yellow, and then cloves can be planted mid-fall.”
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