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Over-wintering herbs in pots

hi everyone,
Last year I over-wintered a thyme in a pot, but I forgot how I did it. [Not a surprise, I forgot what I did yesterday!]
How much, how often do I water? [in the event of no snow]. Normally (summer) I let them dry out, then water til it runs thru, but am thinking I read that they are to go dormant in winter, so less water.

thanks,
ellen
 

New Jersey Zone 7A

I need a little more information, but I think I can help.

Do you have them outdoors so they get rainfall?

Where do you live?

Chives go dormant, die back. So do mints, lemon balm, oregano, then they come up from the roots. Watering these things isn't really a problem unless it is just super bone dry where you are or you have them on a porch or a place that can't get rainfall. Thyme, Rosemary, Lavender go somewhat dormant. I would not let them dry out completely.

My thyme, chives,etc are out in the open (not on the porch) so they get whatever nature provides through the winter with no intervention on my part. Rosemary.. It's another beast. The Rosemary needs to be watered, because I have it on the porch. Otherwise it would get adequate water out in the open, but I'm trying to protect mine on my southern exposure screened in porch.

Unless you get a lot colder than we do... (10 F is our coldest temp)... you shouldn't have to insulate the pots.

(Except Rosemary... which I plan to bring in if we get below 20F.)

I hope this helps you some. I have found that growing the really woody herbs like thyme, lavender etc in pots is very successful. I also have better luck with my Chives in pots.
 
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oh, yes, I have to insert my location- I am in central NJ, Zone 6 also, altho maybe now it is 5/6. The herbs in questions are Lavendar, Thyme, Rosemary, Russian Sage, Purple Sage.
They are outdoors alongside driveway. So do I understand that re Lav, Rosemary, Thyme, you are saying just leave them, whatever rainfall will be sufficient?
In the garden (in the ground)I have never succeeded in keeping a Rosemary over the winter. Wish I could. This potted one is against the building wall, maybe if it is a mild winter, it will make it, I'm not gonna count on it. I Can't take it in - live in an apt.

ellenr
 

New Jersey Zone 7A

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I have trouble with purple sage, and varigated sage plants. You may want to try to insulate them. My problem with Rosemary is that when you bring it in, the air in the house dries it out too fast.

Your Russian Sage should be fine. So should the lavender and thyme. I think you are in an area similar to mine. I'm overwintering some thyme and sage in a whiskey barrel that I had planted them and some pepper plants in. I think they will be fine there.

It is so humid here on the Ohio River (different than where I grew up about 10 miles away from the River) The humidity can cause the woody stemmed herbs to rot/die back if they get over crowded, so I am having better luck in pots. Of course, now that I'm not working full time I hope to be able to keep up with the herbs getting over crowded. Good luck! Wink
 
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Hi Ellenr,

Where are you located? I in Woodbury, just over from S Philly, and I have a VERY LARGE rosemary, which some winters hasn't even needed covered, and most just brief coverups with a tarp or plastic (in the beginning I would just put a trash can over it, but it's WAY too big now). When down in the teens for any length of time, or the single digits, as it got to the last two years, I covered it and put a lamp inside, and left it on for several days, with just the tips of the branches touching the plastic damaged. I gave up trying to grow rosemary inside years ago, and had to come up with something. My mother has a rosemary plant against the building, as you describe, and it lived for years with absolutely no covering or special care (I know her - BELIEVE ME!), but it almost, but not quite, got killed two years ago in the single digit spell we had. So even that needs some care!

My thyme dies back fairly quickly, as do the chives, garlic chives, sage, tarragon, mint, marjoram, and oregano. If you want thyme inside, you may wish to try to start some cuttings a month or so before the end of the season, to get some new ones going.

Be careful ignoring the water requirements of winter plants. If the ground is frozen solid, it isn't going to dry out much, and the plants won't need much water, but when the ground stays soft, as it has been the last few, and it seems to be a trend here (global warming?), and we have had little snow or rain, most plants will need watering. Of course, not as much, but they can dry out. Since I have to turn the water off out there, to keep the pipe from freezing, I usually just use some buckets with water cought in them - don't have a mosquito problem this time of year!

Dave
 

Dave    in Woodbury, NJ  zone 6B

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