Top Five: Herbs that Survive Snowy Wet Winters


Top Five: Herbs that Survive Snowy Wet Winters
  • Posted January 26, 2016

If you're your garden looks like an herb graveyard by the end of winter, consider adding these hardy species.

Many of our favorite culinary herbs hail from Mediterranean climes, where dry conditions and mild winters are the norm. In colder climates, herbs in this class—which include lavender, rosemary, sage, thyme and oregano—limp through the winter, if they survive at all. In places with wet snowy winters they are best treated as garden annuals, or grown in a pot and brought indoors once cold weather hits. But there are a slew of temperate climate herbs that are naturally adapted to such conditions. You may not be harvesting through the winter, but their roots will survive and greet you with tasty new leaves in the spring! Here are five of the most robust.


Salad Burnet


This underappreciated herb has tender leaves with a pleasing cucumber-like flavor. It grows in a low clump about 12 inches tall and twice as wide. Salad Burnet is hardy to at least -30 degrees, grows in full sun or part shade and appreciates regular irrigation in summer.


Winter Savory

A strongly flavored herb typically used in soups and meat dishes, this tiny semi-evergreen shrub grows just 12 inches tall and can be harvested from beneath the snow. It is hardy to about -20 degrees and needs full sun, but only minimal summer irrigation.


Parsley

This herb, which is technically a biennial (lives for two years), is for more than just decoration on the plate—try it on soups, salads, omelets and other savory dishes. It thrives in cold, wet weather, and will survive temperatures down to at least -20 degrees. Parsley likes full sun and needs regular irrigation in summer.


Mint

There are many types of mint with flavors ranging from the cool smooth feel of a breath freshener to hints of apples, lemon and chocolate. All thrive in damp conditions and most tolerate temperatures down to around -40. Mints grow best in part sun and require regular irrigation in summer.


Lovage

Another under appreciated herb to try, Lovage imparts a celery-like flavor to soups, salads and other savory dishes. It has an upright growth habit with foliage up to 36 inches and flowers stalks that rise a foot or more beyond that. The flowers are reminiscent of dill or Queen Anne's lace. Hardy to -40 degrees, it needs full sun and regular irrigation in summer.

Brian Barth
About the Author

After 15 years as a professional landscape designer and horticulturalist, Brian Barth embarked on a second career to share his passion—and the knowledge he's accrued—through writing. His love of plants is all-encompassing, but he has a particular soft spot for culinary crops.


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Top Five: Herbs that Survive Snowy Wet Winters