Monday, September 23, 2013

Planning Your Inside Herb Garden!

The Only Way to Grow Mint is in a Container!
Most of These Mints Will Go Dormant and Come Back in the Spring!
Scented Geranium is Another Great Herb to Bring Indoors!
This Bay Laurel Must Go Inside!
Green Pepper Basil Comes In As Well!
'Grey Fringed French' Lavender
A reader wrote and thanked me for my list of perennial herbs.  She asked about certain herbs like oregano, chives, valeria (valerian), achillea, lemon balm, chamomile and lavender.  She has potted them up and brought them inside.

First, I told her to pinpoint where she was located on the USDA Zone Map.  I will say this to you as well.  Know where you live and how high and low your temperatures go.  It is really important.  As a gardener I always want to have an herb that I know might not get through the winter, but it is fun to try.  I have had hundreds of tender herbs die in my herb garden.  There have been many that have succeeded when I thought it couldn't happen.  That's the joys and the tragedies of gardening.  It can't all be good.  Some years it is not pleasant to be in the garden.

So I wrote to my reader that I would not waste my energy putting oregano, chives, lemon balm (If you can kill lemon balm, you should think about having an herb garden at all!), valerian or achillea into pots.  Depending on where she is located on the map, they may be perennial in her garden.  The only lavenders I would bring inside would be tender perennial ones such as 'Goodwin Creek' or the 'Grey or Green Fringed French' lavenders.  We have gotten them through the winter reliably.  They may look a bit straggly, but they do make it.  Chamomile is an annual herb and again, I would not put it in a pot to winter over.

You can see that we have a 'Green Pepper' basil.  Unlikely other basils, this 'Green Pepper' basil seems to be a tender perennial and that's why it survives inside.  It looks a little weak by the end of winter, but it bounces right back in the spring.  Another group of plants that winters over well are the scented geraniums.  I must remember to dig up my 'Lemon Crispum'.  Another plant to come inside!  I just love to smell their wonderfully scented leaves all winter long!  So you have the 411 on lemon verbena.  Comes inside, plays dead, just dormant and by February when the days start to be longer, they start resprouting their leaves.  Rosemary can be kept in an unheated room or garage.  A dry rosemary is a dead one.  They just have to be watched very carefully!  The bay is very happy in our unfinished basement and is 25 plus years old.  As long as you keep it watered, it is happy without very much light.  The mints are mostly dormant and you may think you have killed them, but they start sprouting in the early spring.

You must have a lot of windows in the southern or western part of your house or a great artificial light source for herbs to succeed inside in the winter.  We bring in only the minimum.  Some years the minimum is too much!  So I hope this gives you some food for thought.   If you are thinking of bringing other choices inside and aren't sure, just ask.  We are much cooler.  Been busy making nasturtium jelly and actually had a redo yesterday.  I'll talk about that in another post soon.  Hope you are having a great day.  Talk to you later.

Lemon Verbena and Rosemary are Two More Herbs To Bring Inside!


Dorothy Crutchfield said...

Hi Ms.Nancy, you are so right about mint, I've had it just about take over the herb bed before! Mine comes back in the pot every year and my pineapple sage gets as big as a bush every year, but we live in the deep South. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us, I can't wait to retire so I can spend more time outdoors! :-)

lemonverbenalady said...

Thanks Ms. Dorothy! My pineapple sages are both doing well. In sharp contrast to last year. Yes, retiring is a very good thing. xo

Carol said...

Busy getting the garden ready for winter here too. Soon we'll be crowded with plants everywhere

lemonverbenalady said...

We are trying to give some of our tropical plants new homes, Carol. Keep your fingers crossed that it works. xo

taylorsoutback said...

I took cuttings of both my pineapple sages (one is golden) - do you think they will sprout indoors?? Wish I had room to bring in the plants which got quite large this summer

lemonverbenalady said...

They will sprout indoors, TO. Then it is just a matter of giving them the most light you can and keeping them watered. We have had hit or miss success with pineapple sage. Last year the pineapple sage made it through the winter and then didn't die but didn't grow when we put it back out in the garden. Hope it works for you. xo

lemonverbenalady said...

P.S. I love the golden pineapple sage! It is a beautiful plant.