What Herbs Can Survive Indoors During The Winter?

Tom Gaffey
by Tom Gaffey
Credit: Shutterstock / New Africa

If you live somewhere with long cold winters, you may go months without seeing green plants sprouting from the ground. This means the days of picking fresh herbs from your outdoor garden are suspended until the weather warms up. But if you love to cook and sprinkle fresh herbs into your meals throughout the year, you are probably wondering if any herbs can survive indoors in the winter.

Some popular and delicious herbs that can survive inside during the winter include basil, oregano, mint, sage, thyme, and rosemary. You can also easily grow chives and green onions in the winter. If you want to try and grow less popular herbs, lemon balm, marjoram, and fern leaf dill are all resilient herbs that are worth potting and placing on your windowsill this winter.

Outside your window, it might look frigid and lifeless, but that doesn’t mean you can’t grow some tasty herbs indoors. Remember, however, that you need to pick the ideal place for herbs to grow in the winter. After all, even the most resilient herbs still need light and warmth. If you want to grow herbs indoors in the winter, make sure you select a window with lots of sun and minimal draft. Now that you know where to put your herbs, keep reading to find out all the best herbs to grow indoors this winter.

11 Herbs You Can Grow Indoors In The Winter

1. Basil

Basil is one of the most popular herbs found in herb gardens and grocery stores throughout the year. It adds delicious fresh flavor to most Italian dishes, salads, and even lots of Asian cuisine. Basil, especially the popular sweet basil variety, does love light, but can still survive throughout the winter.

For best results, try growing a hardy variety of basil that will grow well indoors. Both “Spicy Globe” and “Lettuce Leaf” basil tend to do well indoors. You can plant sweet basil as well, but make sure you put it in a windowsill that gets the most light to help this indoor plant grow faster.

2. Oregano

Oregano is a very fragrant herb that's used in tons of sauces, soups, rubs, and more. In addition to its robust flavor, it is also incredibly hardy. It grows with very little attention. Oregano is also very resiliant and drought-resistant. So, if you are looking for herbs to grow indoors in the winter, but don’t always remember to water your plants regularly, then oregano is an excellent choice.

3. Mint

Mint is an herb that you can use in pretty much anything. It is great as a garnish on desserts and cocktails, it works great in dips and even makes some of the best tea you will ever drink. Best of all, most mint also grows like a weed. Spearmint, the classic mint varietal, is a great herb to place in your kitchen windowsill or anywhere, even with limited light during the winter.

You can even grow mint hydroponically. If you have mint in your outdoor herb garden, pick some long strands and place them in water, and they will root. This is a great way to grow herbs indoors without having to spend any money.

4. Lemon Balm

Lemon balm doesn’t get nearly as much attention as it deserves. While not all that popular in the United States, lemon balm is a terrific and versatile herb worth planting in any herb garden. Lemon balm is a great accent to any dish that needs a citrus edge, including many soups. It also makes a great tea on its own, or when combined with mint.

Lemon balm is known to be quite hardy and resilient. If you can start lemon balm outside and allow it to thrive, it will continue to thrive indoors through the winter months. It will also easily survive indoors with the right light conditions.

5. Chives

Chives are a very easy, and super fragrant addition to any herb garden. They grow like grass and can be trimmed accordingly. They also grow as wild and easily as grass, even indoors. The key is to have well-drained soil and a pot with drainage in the bottom.

Chives need a little room to grow, and if you can put them in a pot with plenty of aerated soil that is ideal. If you have very little light, your chives won’t grow much over the winter, but they will survive. The more light, the more growth. They also look nice on a windowsill and add a pop of refreshing green color when the outside is gloomy. You can also grow green onions if you prefer them to chives.

6. Sage

Sage is an herb that you often wish you had on hand at all times in cold months, as it is present in lots of fall and winter recipes. Sage needs light, but it is a strong herb, so with the right placement and care, you can grow this unique herb with its lovely nuanced flavor throughout the year. Put the plant in a south-facing window, or a west-facing window if your home gets lots of afternoon sun. The more direct light, the happier the plant will be.

7. Rosemary

One herb that is a great addition to the home during the holiday season and throughout the winter is rosemary. Rosemary is an herb that is very popular in the winter. It is added to rubs, used in almost every meat roast, and has even become a popular garnish for winter cocktails.

Rosemary also smells like a Christmas tree and even looks like one. This all makes it a wonderful herb to grow in your home in the winter. Rosemary likes light but can tolerate partial light for a few months. The key is choosing a well-established rosemary bush that is thriving. After the winter, let the plant enjoy full sun through the spring and summer where this plant is happiest.

8. Thyme

Thyme is another signature herb that is found in lots of winter cooking. It is used as frequently in many soups and meat dishes as rosemary, parsley, and other staples. It also happens to grow in many conditions.

Most thyme can tolerate conditions below freezing, making it an herb that is particularly successful in winter months. Just like with other herbs, well-drained soil and light are the keys to success with this herb when growing it indoors in the winter.

9. Cilantro

Cilantro is like a breath of fresh air to any winter meal. It exudes bold fresh healthy flavors and adds life to any dish. This is one reason cilantro is an appealing choice to grow in the winter. Cilantro will survive without issue in the winter, but the key is placement.

The more light cilantro receives, the more leaves it is likely to produce. Since the leaves are what you use in cooking, this means placing it in a sunny place is best.

10. Marjoram

Marjoram is not the most common household herb, but it is something worth considering when you are selecting herbs to grow indoors in the winter. Marjoram has similar notes to oregano but has a bit more citrus and pine flavor to it. It is sensitive to cold, therefore, it won’t survive outside in the winter, but with the right conditions, this herb will do fine indoors.

Keep in mind marjoram can grow upwards of two feet tall, so it needs a location with plenty of room, in a non-drafty and sunny spot inside the home.

11. Dill

Lastly, if you are a fan of the distinct flavor of dill, you will be happy to learn that you can grow this herb indoors, and some varieties even last through the winter. Dill is similar to cilantro in that the more sun it gets in the winter, the more leaves and edible parts it will grow. For best results, try a resilient variety that does well indoors in a pot, like Fernleaf dill.

Wrapping Up Herbs That Can Survive Indoors Through The Winter

Just because your outdoor herb garden can’t survive a harsh winter, it doesn’t mean you can’t grow fresh herbs year-round. There are several herbs that you can pot and grow indoors throughout the winter. The key is choosing a sunny spot and using pots with proper drainage. Try popular herbs like basil, mint, chives, sage, and rosemary. Or if you want to try something unique, opt for lemon balm or marjoram to add new flavors to your favorite recipes this winter.

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Tom Gaffey
Tom Gaffey

Tom Gaffey is an expert writer who currently resides in Washington D.C. Tom has a passion for real estate and home improvement writing, as well as travel and lifestyle writing. He lived the last twelve years in Hawaii where he worked closely with luxury resorts and event planners, mastering his knowledge of aesthetics and luxury products. This is where he found his passion for home improvement and a keen interest in DIY projects. Currently, Tom resides in Washington D.C, and also working on his debut fiction novel.

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