Growing herbs in containers

Asked October 11, 2018, 12:57 PM EDT

In 2017 I switched from growing herbs in the ground to growing them in large plastic pots. In the spring of 2018 I discovered that the plants which normally survive winter (thyme, oregano and sage) did not survive and I had to start over on those. What should I be doing with these pots to assure they survive the winter? The pots are too large to try to continue growing them indoors although I could move them to the garage or basement if that is your recommendation.

Washington County Minnesota

1 Response

Greetings! Thank you for contacting AaE for help.

The roots are exposed to colder temperatures in the air than in the ground which may be the reason they do not survive.

If you can, I'd suggest digging a hole and sinking the pots into the ground up to the level of the top of the pot edges. Then mulch all of that entirely because the exposed pot sides could conduct the cold down to the roots. As you proposed, you could bring them into the garage where, if the temps do not go below about 25 degrees, they may survive but you'll need to be sure they get the moisture and light they would normally get in the early spring if they were outside.

Another possibility is to put them on the ground outside, encircle them with a chicken wire fence that is at least a foot larger than the diameter of the pot (or group of pots), and fill that entirely with leaves. The leaves will settle down so have more on hand to add. This last suggestion may be the least likely to be successful in getting the plants through our winter unless the blanket of leaves are augmented with a lot of snow cover.

Good-luck!