At Urban Herbs we are really passionate about enjoying winter herbs that are a constant presence throughout the year and provide such a boost to us on cold days. We wanted to put together a list of our favourite herbs for winter, all of which are tolerant of cold temperatures and will grow outside all year round; evergreen herbs that can be left outside within normal winter conditions here in the UK.
Thyme is a relatively low-growing culinary herb that is evergreen and hardy to normal winter conditions in the UK. It is one of the evergreen herbs that is constantly present in the winter herb garden. There are so many beautiful varieties of Thyme, with Lemon Variegated Thyme and Orange Thyme being two of our favourites. Creeping Red Thyme is also a beautiful plant providing evergreen, low-growing foliage and the promise of beautiful red flowers that will emerge each summer. Thyme is a perennial herb that is perfect for enjoying as part of your winter herb garden.
Thyme is a traditional herb to use in cooking although the various lemon-flavoured varieties of thyme are perfect for using to provide a sweet and sour flavour. They are great for using in desserts and making cocktails too.
Rosemary is one of the winter herbs that we simply couldn’t do without. It’s a hardy, evergreen herb with such a beautiful flavour that can transform so many dishes. It’s one of the more common herbs here in the UK, although alongside traditional Rosemary you can also grow BBQ Rosemary, with a smoky flavour and aroma or Trailing Rosemary, which looks so beautiful as it spills down from a raised bed or hanging basket.
Rosemary is traditionally used to season meat such as lamb, although it’s also gorgeous in a veggie stir fry. Rumour has it that Rosemary might be a great garnish in a Gin and Tonic too.
Sage is one of the evergreen herbs that we enjoy in the winter herb garden. We find it quite difficult to make or even imagine a herb garden that doesn’t contain a variety of Sage. It is another of the more common herbs in the UK, with traditional Grey Sage being the most common variety but we absolutely love to plant, use and enjoy Purple Sage with its dark foliage. This is a staple of cold weather winter cooking; for us the smell of sage reminds us of classic roast dinners enjoyed in good company.
Oregano is a flavour that we absolutely adore. Here at Urban Herbs, we are foodies, who absolutely love rich flavours on a chilly winter evening. We wanted to particularly shine a spotlight on the amazing Oregano ‘Hot n Spicy’, which is one of those amazing winter hardy, evergreen herbs that can transform a meal. This variety has a traditional Oregano flavour, which is also coupled with a slightly spicy kick. Does that sound good to you? We promise that it tastes even better and is perfect for adding to homemade fajitas or pizza.
Hot n Spicy Oregano is one of the evergreen and perennial herbs that we love to grow at Urban Herbs. We don’t play favourites with our herbs, but if we did, this variety might be close to the top.
This is one of the most beautiful flavours that we grow here at Urban Herbs. It is evergreen and hardy, providing a constant presence in your herb garden throughout the winter months. We often say that Winter Savory simply smells like the best food that you have ever had, it’s flavour being similar to Thyme with a slightly peppery kick. We love to add this variety to soups and stews on a winter evening; there is something so homely about the flavour it brings.
Caring for your herbs during winter
All of the herbs listed above are hardy, evergreen and require little or no protection against winter conditions here in the UK. There are, however, steps you can take to help these perennial herbs to thrive throughout the winter.
All of the above varieties of herb will enjoy free draining conditions and it’s important to ensure that they have adequate drainage to prevent the plants from becoming waterlogged. If you are growing in containers you can add grit to your growing medium to improve drainage. You can also move your herb containers into a more sheltered position to protect against heavy rain or raise the pots up onto ‘pot feet’ to further improve drainage.
The winter hardy herbs described above will also enjoy a sunny position and it is important to consider how light conditions fluctuate throughout the year but especially within the winter months, as light is at a premium.
We also like to venture out on bright sunny winter days to enjoy the herb garden, to engage the senses, and to check on our winter herbs for any signs of problems such as waterlogging.
The winter herb garden is a beautiful and special place, filled with hope and dreams of spring. We think that the five varieties listed here are beautiful additions to any winter herb garden.