Ask a Question forum: Should I keep my herb plants through the winter?

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Lafayette, CO
Nov 1, 2017 11:58 AM CST
I live in Lafayette, CO (10 miles east of Boulder), so it does get cold in the winters here. I live in a condo, and grow some potted plants on my deck in the summer. With winter approaching, I am wondering what to do with my mint, thyme and rosemary herbs. Can they survive outside through a Colorado winter, you think? Or should I bring them inside? (Don't really have a good space for them, with wall to wall carpeting...)

Name: Trish
North Yorkshire
Region: United Kingdom Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Native Plants and Wildflowers Bee Lover Cottage Gardener Birds
Dragonflies Bulbs Roses Clematis Heucheras Greenhouse
Nov 1, 2017 1:11 PM CST
We have cold winters in North Yorkshire too. Many hardy herbs will survive if they are protected from the worst of the weather by lifting pots off the ground by a couple of inches so excess water can drain away. Also putting bubble wrap around containers helps protect the pots from damage and minimises root damage.Finally, put some horticultural fleece over the plants and place them in as sheltered a position as possible.
Then it's all down to whatever Mother Nature throws at you.
Crossing Fingers!
The garden, where my mind goes to seed.
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Nov 1, 2017 2:41 PM CST
Hi and welcome! I'm very doubtful that your herbs would live through the winter outdoors in Colorado, especially in pots. We lived in Utah for 20 years, and I used to bring pots of herbs in for the winter just so I'd have a fresh supply. The rosemary often didn't make it, as it dried out too much (very dry air in Utah) but the other herbs did quite well.

Suggest you try a thrift store for a little table or maybe a step stool that you could set your plants on, in front of a sunny window. Be sure they have large plates (plastic or styrofoam are fine) under them for any excess drainage, and your carpeting should not be compromised. Try not to set the plants where heat vents will blow warm dry air on them. They'll dry out really quickly anyway, and you'll be surprised how often you need to water them.

If you don't want to do that, perhaps 'adopt' them out to a friend who has a garden, sink the pots into the ground and mulch deeply over them, leaving just the leaves exposed to the sun on the evergreen ones (rosemary and thyme). The mint will die right back to the ground outdoors, but may survive and pop up in spring again.

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Lafayette, CO
Nov 1, 2017 2:53 PM CST
Thanks for the help; I'll try to bring them in for the winter. Nice tip about a table...


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