Wintering tips for herbs

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It is not difficult to overwinter herbs - because pot-herbs are mobile and sensitive species can be brought to a frost-free place in the twinkling of an eye. Frost-prone herbs, which are still outside, must be provided with a corresponding winter protection. So you have the fresh spice all year round always directly at hand.

Protect herbs in winter

How best to winter his herbs depends on the species, the origin and the natural life expectancy. One-year-old herbs such as dill or marjoram form seeds from which you can easily grow new plants next year, and then go in. The type of winter protection for two- and multi-year pot herbs, however, depends primarily on the origin of the plants. Particularly popular are Mediterranean herbs such as thyme, lavender and sage. They are only partially hardy with us, because the winters in the Mediterranean are relatively mild and usually frost-free, but the winter protection in our latitudes is uncomplicated. They usually survive the cold season without problems if they are packed properly. How this works, we show you in our step-by-step instructions. For example, you can use winter savory, hyssop or oregano on the same principle.

Herbs overwinter

Materials for wintering

Put the herb pots in the box

You need a wooden box, straw, a coconut or reed mat, a polystyrene board and a thick string (left). The individual pots are placed in the box and the gaps filled with straw (right)

The materials you need to overwinter the herbs depend on the size of your plants. It is best to pack larger planters one at a time by wrapping dimpled or foam wrap around the bucket and placing the pots on a polystyrene plate or clay feet. For the winter protection of many small pots use a wooden box, straw or dry leaves, a mat of coconut fibers or reeds and a thick string or rope. First place the small herb pots in the box and fill up the cavities with insulating straw.

Put the polystyrene plate under it

Lay bamboo sheath around

Then place the box on the polystyrene plate (left) and wrap it with a coconut or reed mat (right)

Direct contact with the ground would direct the cold to the pots. Therefore put a polystyrene board, a thick wooden board or a piece of discarded mat under the box. A coat made of reed or coconut fibers additionally insulates and makes the wooden box disappear elegantly. The mat should be slightly higher than the box or the pot. This looks better and also protects the plants from the wind.

Tying up bamboo mats

Cover with autumn leaves

The mat is fixed with a rope (left). Then cover the root area of ​​the plants with some autumn leaves (right)

Tie the mats tightly. A cord made of coconut or other natural fibers fits optically well with the mats, is robust and can be reused for many years. Finally, the pot bales are covered with a layer of autumn leaves. It protects the near-surface roots and shoot attachments. Do not cover the plants with foil, but only with materials that let moisture through, otherwise the herbs could rot. Place the box in a place protected from wind and rain. Wetness is more dangerous for many plants than frost. It is enough if you keep the pot bales over the winter over moderately damp.

Hibernate delicate herbs in the house

You can overwinter the slightly frost-sensitive rosemary and laurel in the mild wine-growing climate as described in our guide. Otherwise, as a precaution, these plants should be placed in a cool, bright place at temperatures between zero and ten degrees Celsius. Best suited for this purpose are the staircase or - if available - an unheated conservatory. Important: Do not just put your herbs in the warm living room. Here the temperatures are far too high for the sensitive plants.

Cultivate herbs in winter

Leave leaves and shoots on all Mediterranean herbs as extra protection and postpone the pruning until next spring. Since these plants also evaporate water over the leaves in winter, they should be protected from the sun and moderately watered on the frost-free days.

Beet herbs overwinter

Many garden herbs are hardy or easy to overwinter. However, if it gets too cold and temperatures drop below freezing, it may be best to protect the herbs with spruce or fir branches or foliage. For southern herbs such as rosemary and thyme our winters are usually too wet.Therefore, you should already prevent the planting of winter wetness by giving them an elevated space in the bed where the rainwater can drain quickly.

Picture gallery: Hibernation tips for herbs

Basil, one-year-old

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Wintering tips for herbs: winter

Wintering tips for herbs: tips

Wintering tips for herbs: tips


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Herbs overwinter

Wintering tips for herbs: wintering

The annual Genoveser basil dies in winter. New sowings are possible in the pot on a sunny windowsill even in winter. You should make sure that you use the leaves young

Wintering tips for herbs: wintering

Shrub basil is not winter proof. However, it remains green and a winter harvest is possible. It prefers bright at 15-18 degrees. Young plants get through winter better than older ones

Wintering tips for herbs: wintering

The savory dies in winter. If the dead herb is still there, it should be left standing. The plant is often made by itself

Wintering tips for herbs: wintering

The mountain savory is winter hardy and tolerates frost to -20 degrees. It stays green and can also be harvested in winter. In March, it should be cut back by two-thirds

Wintering tips for herbs: herbs

Dill is one year old and dies in the winter. If you simply leave the seed stalls, the plant usually hisses by itself

Wintering tips for herbs: winter

Tarragon is a very hardy herb. It tolerates frosts to -20 degrees and absorbs in winter. Only with very strong Kahlfrost one should cover the soil with airy brushwood

Wintering tips for herbs: winter

The chervil is very winter hardy. It tolerates frost to -25 degrees, stays green and is suitable for a winter harvest. You should let the plant grow. To keep the plant bushy, it is best to harvest on frost-free days

Wintering tips for herbs: tips

Although lavender is hardy, it is sensitive to moisture and therefore needs a very well drained soil. It tolerates stronger frosts and often stays green in winter. In March, the shoots should be cut back by two thirds, so that the plant remains compact and bushy

Wintering tips for herbs: wintering

Marjoram, which is often confused with oregano, is wintergreen and not reliably frost hardy. He tolerates short-term temperatures of -5 degrees. It best hibernates on dry soil in a bright location where it is not exposed to excessive frost. In mild conditions, a fleece cover and a mulch layer of autumn leaves are usually enough for winter protection

Wintering tips for herbs: winter

Mints are very winter hardy and tolerate frost to -40 degrees. To keep the mints young and vital, you should plant hand-length stalks every three years in April to a new location

Wintering tips for herbs: wintering

Oregano is a pretty hardy plant. It tolerates frosts to -25 degrees and absorbs in winter. Dead shoots should be removed in March

Wintering tips for herbs: tips

The parsley tolerates frost to -25 degrees. With frost, lots of snow and continuous rain, you should put a frost-resistant flower pot with holes in the ground over the plant. Since parsley flowers usually in the second year, the short-lived perennial is still usually annual and annual seeded

Wintering tips for herbs: tips

Rosemary is not reliably frost hardy. It tolerates frost to -10 degrees and stays green in winter. Consequently, a winter harvest is possible. On permeable ground under winter fleece or brushwood frost-resistant varieties tolerate short-term temperatures up to -20 degrees. In the spring after flowering, the dwarf shrub is cut back to remain compact

Wintering tips for herbs: herbs

The sage is relatively hardy and tolerates frost to -25 degrees. It stays green in winter and can then be harvested. In March, pruning is necessary to keep the plant compact. But do not cut too far into the old wood

Wintering tips for herbs: herbs

The sorrel is completely frost hardy as a native perennial and absorbs in winter. You just leave it to yourself and wait until it expels you again in the spring

Wintering tips for herbs: herbs

The chives are reliably hardy on permeable soils. Tip: If you split it in March and plant it in fresh humus rich soil, the tube-like leaves become juicier and more aromatic

Wintering tips for herbs: herbs

The thyme is moderately hardy. It tolerates frost to -15 degrees and is wintergreen. Thyme needs lean, well-drained soil and winter protection with fir-tree sprigs or autumn leaves is especially recommended for variegated varieties

Wintering tips for herbs: hardy

The lemon balm is absorbed in winter and is completely frost hardy. Dead shoots should be removed no later than March. In the spring you supply them with some compost

Wintering tips for herbs: wintering

The lemon verbena is not hardy. It only tolerates frost to -5 degrees and loses its leaves in winter. It is best cultivated in a pot and overwintered in the cold house

Basil, one-year-old

Bush basil


Winter savory














lemon balm

lemon verbena

Those who have had bad experiences with the overwintering of the herbs in the bed can transplant plants such as lemon and ginger hay, baby lavender, rosemary and the popular lemon verbena into spacious clay pots with large water drainage holes. After a dry, mild autumn, they are lifted out shortly before Christmas and placed in an unheated greenhouse in the ground. Only slightly moistened, they should survive the cold winter here. It is not recommended to overwinter the potted herbs in the house, because it is usually too dark and too warm. If you do not have a greenhouse, you should lower the pots in boxes of coffins or baskets padded with wood or sheep's wool, straw or leaves from December onwards.Above, the shoots are covered with air-permeable winter fleece. The soil should be only slightly damp, which is why a location on a shady wall of the house is optimal. If it starts to freeze or if temperatures fall below five degrees, you carry the boxes to the garage or to the cellar. From mid-February to mid-March, it's time to get the plants out of their packaging.

Video Board: How to Keep Fresh Herbs Alive over the Winter.

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