Herbs That Can Survive Winter

Herbs That Can Survive Winter

Winter can be a challenging time for gardeners, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on growing your favorite herbs. There are plenty of winter-hardy herbs that can withstand freezing temperatures and come back strong in the spring. These cold-resistant herbs are not only robust but also provide a fresh supply of flavor all year round. Whether you’re looking for perennial herbs for winter or just want to add some frost-tolerant herbs to your garden, there’s something for everyone.

Unlike tender annuals, cold-hardy herbs have the ability to live beyond the growing season. They go dormant in the winter and return again in spring, ready to thrive once more. Some herbs, like chives and dill, are herbaceous, while others, like lavender, are woody. Evergreen herbs, such as thyme and rosemary, retain their leaves year-round in warmer regions.

With that in mind, here is a list of 23 cold-hardy herbs that can survive the winter and bring freshness to your garden when other plants are dormant. These herbs are sure to impress with their resilience and the range of culinary options they offer.

Key Takeaways

  • There are various winter-hardy herbs that can survive freezing temperatures and thrive in the spring.
  • Perennial herbs like chives and lavender are excellent choices for winter gardens.
  • Herbs like dill and fennel can reseed themselves, providing a fresh crop year after year.
  • Horehound and horseradish offer unique flavors and have cold-resistant qualities.
  • Lemon balm and caraway are versatile herbs that can be used in both culinary and medicinal applications.


Caraway, known as Carum carvi, is a herbaceous species that thrives in winter. It is one of the cold-hardy herbs, making it a great addition to any winter garden. Caraway is a perennial herbaceous plant, meaning it can survive and thrive even in the harshest winter conditions.

Caraway prefers full sun and sandy, well-draining soil. It is suited to Zones 4 to 10, which covers a wide range of climates and regions. In the first year, caraway grows foliage and establishes its roots. Then, in the second year, it blooms and sets seeds. These seeds hold great culinary value and are commonly used in rye bread and sauerkraut.

Whether you choose to grow caraway as a biennial or perennial depends on seed dispersal. If you allow the plant to naturally drop its seeds and self-sow, it will come back year after year as a perennial. However, if you collect the seeds and plant them anew each year, it will act as a biennial.

To fully appreciate the beauty and usefulness of caraway, consider the following attributes:

Common Name: Caraway

Scientific Name: Carum carvi

Plant Type: Herbaceous species

Growth Habit: Perennial

Hardiness Zones: 4-10

Light: Full sun

Soil: Sandy, well-draining

Caraway is a stunning addition to any garden, with its delicate foliage and sweet-smelling blooms. It is not only a beautiful plant but also a versatile herb that adds depth and flavor to various dishes. Consider including caraway in your winter herb garden for a touch of elegance and culinary delight.


Chives, or Allium schoenoprasum, are perennial herbaceous bulb plants that thrive in Zones 4 to 8 with full sun to part shade. They have a clumping growth habit and reach a height and width of 12 to 18 inches. Chives, like their onion and garlic relatives, add a subtle flavor to dishes. Whether sprinkled on scrambled eggs or incorporated into creamy dips, chives bring a fresh and mild onion taste to recipes. These versatile cold-hardy herbs are a must-have for any herb garden.

If you’re considering adding chives to your garden, you can choose to grow them from seeds or opt for established plants. Starting chives from seeds allows you to witness their growth from the very beginning, while planting young plants provides you with the convenience of a head start. Whichever method you choose, chives are relatively easy to grow and care for, making them perfect for novice gardeners.

Benefits of Chives:

  • Rich in nutrients: Chives are a good source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals like calcium and iron.
  • Medicinal properties: Chives contain flavonoids and antioxidants that may offer various health benefits, including supporting immune function and reducing inflammation.
  • Repels pests: The strong aroma of chives can help repel pests like aphids and Japanese beetles from your garden.
  • Attracts beneficial insects: Chives produce small purple flowers that attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, promoting a healthier garden ecosystem.

To grow chives successfully, plant them in well-draining soil and provide them with regular watering. They can be grown in containers or directly in the ground, making them suitable for gardens of all sizes. Be sure to divide established chive plants every few years to promote healthy growth and prevent overcrowding.

Tip: Chives make an excellent companion plant for carrots, as their strong scent helps deter carrot flies.

Whether you’re an experienced gardener or just starting out, chives are a fantastic addition to any herb garden. With their cold-hardy nature, perennial growth, and subtle onion flavor, they offer both practicality and beauty. So go ahead and plant some chives – your dishes will thank you!



Comfrey, or Symphytum officinale, is a cold-hardy herbaceous perennial herb that can withstand harsh winter conditions. It thrives in Zones 4 to 9 and prefers full sun to part shade. Comfrey grows in clumps from tubers and can reach a height of 12 to 36 inches, with a spread of nine to 30 inches.

This winter-hardy herb is known for its medicinal properties and is often used to make salves and ointments. However, it is important to note that Comfrey contains alkaloids that can be toxic if ingested in large quantities. It is recommended to use Comfrey externally and avoid internal consumption.

Growing Comfrey is relatively easy, and it can be propagated from seeds. It is a resilient herb that can tolerate different soil types, but well-draining soil is preferable. Comfrey adds a touch of vibrancy to any garden with its beautiful clusters of purple, blue, or white flowers.

In traditional herbal medicine, Comfrey has been used to treat various ailments, including wounds, bruises, and sprains. Its high content of allantoin, a compound that promotes cell proliferation, is believed to accelerate the healing process.

Benefits of Comfrey:

  • Rich in nutrients: Comfrey leaves are packed with essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, making it a valuable addition to compost or organic fertilizers.
  • Soil conditioner: Comfrey’s deep roots help break up compacted soil, improving aeration and water drainage.
  • Dynamic accumulator: Comfrey is known as a dynamic accumulator because of its ability to draw nutrients from deep within the soil and make them available to nearby plants.
  • Erosion control: With its extensive root system, Comfrey helps prevent soil erosion on slopes and steep banks.


Comfrey is a versatile herb that adds beauty and functionality to any garden. Whether you’re looking to enhance soil fertility or benefit from its healing properties, Comfrey is a valuable addition to your herb garden.


Dill, or Anethum graveolens, is a herbaceous biennial herb that is well-known for its distinctive fragrance and refreshing flavor. It is a popular choice among gardeners who are looking for cold-hardy herbs that can withstand harsh winter conditions.

Growing in USDA hardiness zones 2 to 11, dill thrives in full sun and well-draining soil. Depending on the variety, it can reach heights of eight to 48 inches, making it a versatile addition to any herb garden.

Dill is prized for its feathery foliage, which adds a delicate touch to recipes and garnishes. The seeds of dill are also widely used in pickling, baking, and seasoning various cuisines.

One of the remarkable characteristics of dill is its ability to reseed itself year after year, allowing for a continuous supply of fresh dill in the garden. It’s a great herb to grow if you want to enjoy its vibrant aroma and taste throughout the seasons.

To give you a visual representation of the growth stages of dill, have a look at the table below:

Stage Description
Seedling The dill plant emerges from the seed and develops its first set of true leaves.
Vegetative The plant continues to grow, producing more leaves and developing a bushy appearance.
Flowering The dill plant forms umbel-like clusters of yellow flowers.
Seed Production After flowering, the plant produces seeds that can be harvested.



When it comes to cold-hardy herbs that can withstand tough winter conditions, fennel is a standout choice. Fennel, scientifically known as Foeniculum vulgare, is a short-lived herbaceous perennial herb that thrives in Zones 4 to 9. Its ability to thrive in colder climates makes it a popular choice for winter gardens.

Fennel is well-suited to full sun conditions and thrives in well-draining loam soil. Its feathery foliage adds an airy and elegant touch to any garden. Not only is fennel visually appealing, but it also offers a range of culinary possibilities. The aromatic bulbs and seeds of fennel have an anise-like flavor that can enhance a variety of dishes.

When it comes to cooking, fennel bulbs can be sliced and cooked as a delicious vegetable side dish. Its mild and slightly sweet flavor pairs well with a variety of ingredients. Fennel seeds, on the other hand, can be used to enhance the flavor of baked goods, adding a unique twist to bread, cookies, and more.

“Fennel bulbs can be sliced and cooked as a delicious vegetable side dish, while the seeds enhance the flavor of baked goods.”

Growing fennel is relatively straightforward. It can be easily grown from seeds, making it an accessible option for both beginner and experienced gardeners. With the right conditions and care, fennel plants can reach heights of up to six feet, creating an impressive focal point in any garden.

Embrace the cold-hardiness of fennel and add this winter-hardy herb to your herb garden. Its vibrant foliage, versatile flavor, and easy cultivation will make it a valuable addition to your garden all year round.

Fennel at a Glance

Growth Zone 4 to 9
Sun Exposure Full Sun
Soil Type Well-draining loam
Plant Type Short-lived herbaceous perennial herb
Flavor Anise-like
Culinary Uses Bulbs – Vegetable side dish, Seeds – Baked goods
  • https://www.almanac.com/plant/fennel
  • https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/herbs/fennel/growing-fennel.htm


Let me introduce you to horehound, a fascinating and versatile perennial herbaceous shrub that belongs to the Marrubium vulgare species. With its incredible cold-hardiness, horehound can thrive in zones 3 to 9, tolerating freezing temperatures and proving itself to be a true winter-hardy herb.

This sturdy herbaceous shrub can grow woody stems up to 30 inches tall, spreading out to reach dimensions of 24 to 36 inches. Its unique and distinctive flavor is characterized by delightful hints of vanilla, root beer, and anise undertones, making it a popular ingredient in candy making and a wonderful addition to herbal teas and infusions.

If you’re looking to cultivate horehound, you’ll be pleased to know that it can be easily grown from seeds. Simply provide it with full sun to part shade and watch it flourish. With its ability to withstand cold temperatures and its tendency to return year after year, horehound is a valuable addition to any herbaceous garden or culinary collection.

“Horehound’s unique flavor and impressive cold-hardiness make it a popular choice among herb enthusiasts and candy creators alike.”

To better understand the characteristics and benefits of horehound, take a look at the comprehensive table below:

Common Name Scientific Name Zones Height Spread Flavor Profile
Horehound Marrubium vulgare 3-9 Up to 30 inches 24-36 inches Vanilla, root beer, and anise undertones

As you can see, horehound’s cold-hardiness, attractive growth, and unique flavor profile make it an excellent choice for herb enthusiasts, culinary adventurers, and anyone seeking to enhance their winter garden with perennial beauty and culinary delights.


Horseradish, or Armoracia rusticana, is a herbaceous perennial herb that grows in Zones 2 to 9. It prefers full sun to part shade and well-draining soil. Horseradish has broad leaves and produces spicy roots used to make the condiment of the same name. It can become invasive, so caution is needed when planting. Horseradish can be grown from crowns or sprouted roots.

Fact Detail
Type Herbaceous perennial herb
Hardiness Zones 2 to 9
Sun Exposure Full sun to part shade
Soil Type Well-draining
Leaves Broad
Roots Spicy, used to make the condiment
Planting Caution Can become invasive
Propagation Grown from crowns or sprouted roots


I absolutely adore lavender! This beautiful shrubby perennial herb, scientifically known as Lavandula spp., is a perfect addition to any garden. Its silvery-green foliage, delicate flowers, and heavenly fragrance make it a favorite among gardeners and nature enthusiasts alike.

Lavender is known for its cold-hardy nature, making it an ideal choice for gardens in Zones 4 to 11. It thrives in full sun and well-drained soil, so be sure to give it the perfect spot in your garden to thrive.

With its woody stems, lavender can reach heights of 12 to 36 inches and can spread from 18 to 40 inches, creating a stunning visual display and adding texture to your garden. Not only is lavender visually appealing, but it also offers a range of uses.

The floral fragrance of lavender is instantly recognizable and highly coveted. It is often used in perfumes, soaps, and candles, adding a touch of luxury to any product. Additionally, lavender is a popular culinary herb, bringing a delicate floral flavor to sweet and savory dishes alike. From lavender-infused desserts to herbal teas, there are countless ways to incorporate this herb into your cooking.

But lavender’s uses don’t end there! This versatile herb also has therapeutic properties, offering relaxation and stress relief when used in essential oil blends or bath products. Its calming scent has been known to aid in sleep and soothe headaches.

Best Cold-Hardy Lavender Varieties

Variety Hardiness Zone Height (in inches) Spread (in inches)
‘Munstead’ Zones 4-9 12-18 18-24
‘Hidcote’ Zones 5-9 18-24 18-24
‘Provence’ Zones 5-9 24-30 30-36

“Lavender is like the gentle touch of nature, bringing beauty, fragrance, and serenity to any garden.”

To cultivate lavender, start with well-draining soil and provide it with regular water until established. Once it takes root, lavender is quite drought-tolerant and requires minimal maintenance. Pruning the plant after blooming helps promote growth and maintain its shape.

So, next time you’re planning your garden, consider adding lavender to the mix. Its cold-hardy nature, stunning visual appeal, and versatile uses make it a must-have herb for any herb garden or landscape. Embrace the beauty and serenity of lavender, and let it infuse your garden with its charm.

Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm, or Melissa officinalis, is a herbaceous perennial herb that thrives in Zones 3 to 9. It loves basking in the warmth of full sun or the gentle shade of partial shade, making it a versatile addition to any garden. With an impressive height of 18 to 24 inches and a generous spread of 18 to 36 inches, Lemon Balm creates a lush and vibrant display.

What makes Lemon Balm truly special is its delightful lemony flavor and enchanting aroma. This herb is cherished for its diverse range of uses, from herbal medicine to culinary creations. Whether you’re brewing a soothing cup of Lemon Balm tea or adding a refreshing twist to your favorite recipes, this herb will infuse your dishes with a burst of vibrant citrus.

Adding to its appeal, Lemon Balm is incredibly easy to grow from seeds. With a little care and attention, you can cultivate a thriving Lemon Balm plant that will bring beauty, fragrance, and a touch of zesty elegance to your herb garden. With its cold-hardy nature and ability to withstand winter temperatures, Lemon Balm is truly a gem among cold-hardy herbs.

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