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schmoopie

herb plants

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I planted basil, sage, thyme, rosemary and marjoram outside this spring.

I know the basil won't last through the winter so I've picked it all and have a freezer full of pesto. However, since I've never "gardened" before (obviously), I'm wondering whether any of the other herbs can withstand the cold and if not, what should I do with them?

Any help would be appreciated.

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Most varieties of thyme and sage winter over here--90 miles south of St. Louis. Rosemary has to come indoors, where it promptly dies for me. I don't know about marjoram, but oregano is quite hardy.

Usually the little plastic markers that come with the potted plants will give you this kind of information--if you didn't save them this time, do it next year.

Gardening is the most fun you can have with your clothes on. :biggrin:


sparrowgrass

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The following is based on my experience (which relies a lot on luck, ignorance and living in the South). A lot depends on where you live and which varieties of plants you've got. I assume that you want to be able to harvest herbs all winter long, and I note the following with that in mind.

I have found rosemary to be very hardy--maybe we get a different strain down here. It might gray out a little and/or get a little woody, but it will come back. It's practically indestructible.

Thyme suvives cold pretty well, but if you get a lot of freezing weather, you might lose it. Same with sage, depending on the variety. There's a reason sage is associated with Thanksgiving, and I think survivability is part of it.

You didn't mention it, but bay does very well. So do some types of parsley, though any of them will turn brown eventually.

I think the marjoram is a goner, but it's closely related to oregano, so I could be wrong. It just seems kind of delicate. Again, maybe what we get down here is different.


Dave Scantland
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Everything in Minnesota dies in the winter :sad:

But, the ice fishing will be great in a month!


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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I'd concur with the previous replies. In my area of the Pacific Northwest, the following always or almost always survive the winter: Oregano (something of a pest; bought seeds ~10 years ago, the stuff is everywhere now), mint (peppermint, another pest; spearmint - new this year but probably hardy). Parsley - curly and flat; garlic chives (probably regular chives too, another new addition this year.) The most surprising one is cilantro; had one plant overwinter a couple of years ago; it survived multiple freezes and was almost 4 feet tall in the spring. :wacko:

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Shmoopie,

It all depends on your agricultural zone and the variety of the particular herb you have. For instance, I'm in Chicago which is zone 5. THe zone is dependent on the coldest winter temperature (on average, I think). Alaska is zone 1. Lucky folks in the south are in the upper zones like 7 or 8...

Anyhow, here in zone 5, most varieties of sage are hardy through the winter for a few years and they eventually just die off. They develop a woody stem as they get older. My plain sage (i.e. not tri-color or any of that) has lasted up to 5 years in my garden. Parsley and Cilantro are definite annuals here. Rosemary is an annual (as opposed to perennial - coming back each growing season) and can be overwintered indoors with difficulty. Most rosemary succumbs to powdery mildew which is grayish powder (Dave the cook mentioned it). It can eventually kill the plant because it prevents the plant from getting enough light through the leaves. Rosemary is very difficult to overwinter altho I will try it....again.

Indoor plants need lots of light and good ventilation and moisture. Rosemary seems to be quite fussy in this regard.

Thyme comes in numerous varieties not all of them winter hardy in my zone. Common thyme is very very hardy and spreads everywhere here. Lemon thyme, silver thyme and others have not been hardy for me. Marjoram is a tender perennial here (meaning I will bring it inside). So where are you located or what is your zone? That will answer most of your questions.

Good luck!

ChocoChris

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OK, I just answered the question about which can withstand the cold. As for overwintering, I try anything I want to keep alive if possible. I will be overwintering many herbs among them thyme, marjoram, sage, rosemary and others. I have loads of plants on my enclosed porches -- yipes! Just can't let them go :rolleyes:

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From your registration, we can see you are in Long Island.

My zone and yours are not the same (Seattle), but I have had success with:

bay tree, various lavenders, thymes (basic, silver, and orange balsam), oregano, mint (they may die back but return), parsley - usually get two years as is their nature, loveage - dies back and returns each year, tarragon - same, cilantro self seeds, parsley too, lemon balm (lemon verbena only with rare luck - most people bring them inside), sage, and rosemary - upright seems more hardy than prone. Will find out about stevia this year, also a new planting of summer savory - died out the last time. Have seen fennel overwinter but not dill. Don't expect the lemon grass or epasote to overwinter either.

That is a more general answer than what was originally asked! Somehow, I've never grown marjoram - I have heard it is more tender than oregano.

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I live in NJ and have luck with bringing them indoors. Put them in a larger pot than you thinkyou will need. Well fertilize them, keep them moist (winter heating really dries them out), and keep them in your sunniest room. I've had luck with rosemary, lavender, lemon and regular thyme, and oregano. I leave the mint outside and it always comes back, even when I don"t want it to.


I'm a NYC expat. Since coming to the darkside, as many of my freinds have said, I've found that most good things in NYC are made in NJ.

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ice fishing will be great

Oxymoron.

Oh, so right. I lived in Ely, Minnesota. Never could understand ice fishing. Or snowshoeing. Or skiing. And some people even built snow caves and SLEPT OUTDOORS!!! Something seriously wrong there.

Missouri is paradise. :cool:


sparrowgrass

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what a good thread. but what about those of us without gardens, you know the potted varieties? My basil plant has been happily living on the kitchen window sill since spring. It's one of the best basil plants I've ever had (basil has always been passive aggressive to me, miss one day of watering and they droop). I've harvested tons of basil off this sturdy little guy. And it's neighbor is this thyme plant that has also been just as sturdy.

My question is, the basil plant is taking on a slightly yellowish palor, ever since the weather dropped to about 30˚F outside. We only have that window open during the day (fresh air for the cats) when it's about 50˚-ish out. Do I need to move the plant so it survives the winter?


"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." -Ernest Hemingway

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Thanks so much for all the info. I feel pretty silly not mentioning where I live!!

I think I'll leave the rosemary and sage outside this year and see how they do. Maybe I'll try drying some. I'll pot the marjoram and thyme and moving them indoors. I just hope they don't die of shock.

I guess trial and error is the best way to go.

Thanks again!

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here in NJ, i've already lost all of my basil and thai basil.  thyme, mint, and sage are holding up.

I'm pretty much like you.

My basil ( I can't remember exactly what type it was) is done. While my apple mint, sage and thyme are doing alright. I don't know how well my oregano is doing because the mint is just taking over the pot that it shares with the oregano.

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I don't know how well my oregano is doing because the mint is just taking over the pot that it shares with the oregano.

dude, mint sure definitely get its own pot. it's a killer weed.

last year, my basil lasted at least until this long, and actually well into november. i think we must have had some severe dips in temp, maybe coupled with some rain at night. it caught me off guard. :sad:

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We have a hedge of rosemary. It stays out there year around. It seems like you can't kill it. I make smallish wreaths out of it to give the neighbors at christmas. And I always have a twig of it in my car to make it smell good.

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My question is, the basil plant is taking on a slightly yellowish palor, ever since the weather dropped to about 30¢ªF outside. We only have that window open during the day (fresh air for the cats) when it's about 50¢ª-ish out. Do I need to move the plant so it survives the winter?

They yellowing could have less to do with temperatures than the amount of light the plant is getting. Days are shorter, and the sun is at a much lower angle. Try a different window?


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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We've just had our first few nights of sub-freezing weather, and all the usual suspects (basil, tomatoes, peppers, etc.) are gone. The persimmon tree managed to drop all it's leaves in a single night; an impressive feat, but it's done that before.

Here's the surprising one: lemongrass. I'd meant to bring it inside before the first freeze, but didn't. I don't think it's considered hardy, but it appears to have survived several freezes, and is now safely indoors.

Time will tell how much damage it's suffered. Maybe it helped that it was rather small; it only barely grows here at all, and would be much happier in a warmer climate.

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Last Tuesday's frost dropped my basil, pepper and tomato plants as well. All the leaves on the kiwi - gone in one day. Fig tree too. My lemongrass is still alive - but has never wintered through before. Yes, it is small and wispy, as always. I always forget to take in inside.

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I don't know how well my oregano is doing because the mint is just taking over the pot that it shares with the oregano.

dude, mint sure definitely get its own pot. it's a killer weed.

Too right, Tommy! To illustrate my woeful original gardening knowledge, the first four plants I bought were four varieties of mint. Fifteen years later it is indeed a noxious weed despite annual forceful Mint Eradication projects. If anyone ever plans to have a Julep party for a thousand let me know. You can have all the mint you want.

I also rue the day I planted garlic chives.

Thyme, oregano, tarragon, sage, regular chives. All do well for me here in Zone 5. Overwinter outside perfectly.


Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

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margaretmcarthur.com

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