Which herbs grow best in the winter? The seven herbs that will grow in time for Christmas

Which herbs grow best in the winter? The seven herbs that will grow in time for Christmas


Alan Titchmarsh: How to lift herbs from the garden for winter

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Herbs can be used in a range of meals with everything from dried green parsley to fresh sprigs of thyme packing a punch when it comes to cooking. As Christmas Day draws closer, you may be wondering how to add some home-grown flavours into your festive food – and herbs are a great way to do it. Whether you’re looking to fill your garden or windowsill with fresh herbs, these varieties will give you a steady supply right through the winter.

Growing herbs correctly in winter is crucial to secure your supply of fresh flavour and fragrance to add to home-cooked food.

While some herbs are stable enough to withstand frost and snow, others will be setting up camp in the house or conservatory.

Chris Bonnett from Gardening Express said: “Tender herbs, like basil, are likely to only come dried or frozen by the time Christmas rolls around, but festive classics like thyme and rosemary are very hardy and can withstand snowy weather.

“Others, like oregano, can be grown inside during chillier months. All they usually need is a well-draining soil, container, and a sunny windowsill.”


This strongly scented plant will give you a generous offering of aromatic leaves all year round.

As the perfect addition to Christmas Day stuffing, the versatile flavour of sage can be paired with everything from chicken to duck, and works well with other herbs like rosemary and thyme.

Sage plants should be kept outdoors and watered regularly – but be careful not to over-water to avoid drowning the roots.

The Royal Horticultural Society recommended raising your containers onto pot feet during the winter to allow excess moisture to drain away.

After the sage leaves have been picked, you should keep them in the fridge or they can be frozen, dried or preserved in oil.


Myrtle is a green leafy plant which has been grown in England since the 16th century.

Every part of the plant can be used, from the berries which go well with game and pork, to the leaves and flowers which can be added to potpourri for a fresh Christmas scent.

Gardening Express told Express.co.uk: “Sadly, the myrtle plant isn’t hardy.

“Over the winter months, it needs plenty of protection and will be happy in a conservatory or greenhouse.”


This festive favourite makes an appearance in everything from Christmas candy canes to table condiments.

Potted mint will thrive indoors and provide a steady supply of fresh leaves throughout the whole of winter.

You could even make it the main event of your Christmas cocktails with a home-grown mint mojito.

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Rosemary is a British staple when it comes to the humble roast dinner, working well in meat and sprinkled over crispy roasted potatoes.

This fresh herb is usually grown outdoors in large bushes or as a small tree, though it can also be grown in pots which will thrive both indoors and out.

Gardening Express recommended keeping rosemary plants above freezing – a garage or hallway is a good choice.


Renowned for its minimal maintenance, the thyme plant thrives when simply left alone.

Thyme will grow well in poor soil with little watering, though you should mulch the soil around thyme shrubs during particularly frosty periods.

Use thyme on roast chicken or add to homemade crackers and sprinkle into gravy for added flavour.


Hardy herbs like parsley are likely to keep growing outside, even during snowfall, said Gardening Express.

Parsley can grow minimally in cold weather, so consider bringing them potted parsley indoors to ensure a big crop to pick from.

Gardening Express said: “Leaves can be harvested when the leaves begin curling.

“For optimal flavour, pick from the plant early in the morning.”


Oregano is another plant that is not frost hardy and should be grown indoors during the winter.

Pick oregano leaves as and when they appear vibrant and green for a rich Italian flavour.

Come spring, oregano can be moved outdoors to grow in full sun and well-drained soil.

You should only ever water drought-tolerant plants like fresh oregano during dry periods.

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