Tips for Overwintering Herbs Indoors

By October 30, 2023Blog Post, Edible Gardening

Overwintering is a common practice in protecting cherished herbs from freezing temperatures. The gardening practice involves shielding plants by either relocating them indoors or wrapping them. One can also overwinter their herbs by setting up a greenhouse in their garden.

While many ways to shield plants from freezing temperatures exist, overwintering herbs indoors is best. This overwintering practice uses spare space in your home to shield herbs. It is simple and less costly if you have just a few herbs to overwinter.

Steps to Overwinter Herbs Indoors

Indoor overwintering is more than just relocating herbs to a basement, garage, or spare room. Rather, the task involves providing a conducive environment so the herbs can thrive. Otherwise, the herbs could perish from issues like poor lighting.

The following best practices can maximize the chances of herbs surviving indoors during winter.

1.     Choose the right herbs.

Not all herbs can thrive indoors. For this reason, before getting any herb indoors, ensure it can adapt to the indoor climate. Top herbs that do well indoors include rosemary, sage, thyme, and oregano. Other herb varieties like basil, cilantro, and dill will struggle indoors.

2.     Bring Your Herbs Indoors before the First Frost

Even the slightest frost can cause irreparable damage to the leaves and stems of herbs. For this reason, you should get the plants indoors before the first frost. You can use Denver’s local weather predictions to determine when frost is likely to begin falling.

3.     Inspect Your Plants for Pests and Diseases

As a rule of thumb, inspect your herbs for signs of disease and pests before overwintering them indoors. Look for signs of wilting, discoloration, and unusual spots to establish the possibility of disease. For pests, check for visible insects or eggs.

If you detect signs of disease or pests, treat the plant before bringing it indoors. Treating diseases and pests beforehand ensures you’re not introducing potential threats to your indoor gardening space.

4.     Repot Your Herbs Into Pots That are at Least One Size Larger Than Their Current Pots

When overwintering potted herbs, repot them into one size larger pots. The large pot will provide enough space for roots to grow and expand. As a result, the herbs will grow healthier. In addition to the large pot, use a well-draining potting mix instead of regular soil. Well-draining potting mix offers better aeration, reducing the risk of root rot.

5.     Place Your Herbs in a Sunny Spot

Like any plant, herbs need adequate sunlight for photosynthesis. As such, when overwintering indoors, place the plants in a place with enough sunlight. Such a place could be near windows, balconies, or a patio. As an alternative, you can use a grow light to mimic sunlight.

6.     Water Your Herbs Regularly

Herbs need adequate water to thrive indoors. The water supports nutrient uptake and optimal physiological function. Typically, you should water the herbs once the top two inches of soil dry out. Avoid overwatering since it can lead to root rot, wilting, and yellowing of leaves.

7.     Fertilize Your Herbs Every Few Weeks

Besides watering, fertilize the overwintered herbs after every few weeks. While any fertilizer could be appropriate, use a complete fertilizer. This fertilizer will nourish the herbs with nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Some complete fertilizers contain additional nutrients like calcium, manganese, and boron.

8.     Harvest Your Herbs Regularly to Encourage New Growth

Regular harvesting stimulates the production of fresh foliage, promoting a bushier growth habit. Moreover, harvesting prevents your herbs from becoming overly tall. When harvesting, use sharp scissors or pruning shears to minimize damage.

Tips for Overwintering Herbs Indoors

Overwintering plants indoors demands constant attention and care. That’s the only way to ensure your herbs maintain robust growth, increased disease resistance, and enhanced productivity. Assuming it is your first time overwintering, use the following checklist to keep your plants in shape.

  1.     Mist your herbs regularly to increase humidity
  2.     Group similar plants together to create their microclimate
  3.     Be careful not to overwater your herbs. Overwatering can cause death for overwintered herbs
  4.     Fertilize your herbs regularly to help them stay healthy
  5.     Harvest your herbs to encourage new growth

 What herbs are easy to overwinter indoors?

  • Bay laurel
  • Chives
  • Lemongrass
  • Thyme
  • Mint
  • Rosemary
  • Sage

  What herbs are difficult to overwinter indoors?

  • Basil
  • Dill
  • Cilantro
  • Pineapple sage
  • Parsley
  • Borage

Learn More About Overwintering Herbs Indoors From Nick’s Garden

Since each herb is different, you should get a customized overwintering plan to maximize chances of your herbs surviving winter. Over the past 30 years, Nick’s Garden Center has helped Denver residents do gardening with success. We can help you too to overwinter your herbs with efficiency.

Contact us for more personalized overwintering tips.