Wintering Herbs in Cool Dark Area
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Karen Taplin
Posted on: October 5, 1998

I live in northern Manitoba and need to bring in a number of herbs - well, most of them actually. Of the following plants, which can I essentially put in a coolish dark spot to essentially abandon for the winter (much as they would be outside if I lived a great deal south of here) and/or which should be nurtured with light and water and some heat?

Lady and Provence lavenders; pineapple and regular sages; basils of all sorts; lemon and regular thymes; scented geraniums.

These were all purchased from Richters and have been a joy to have this summer, it being so long and hot. I’d love to keep some alive for next year.

Before the advent of centrally heated houses gardeners got most of their plants through the winter by storing them in their root cellars. These cellars were unlike the hot cosy basements we have nowadays, but cold and very damp! If you happen to have a spot like that and cannot find enough room for overly large plants or simply too many of them you could try overwintering Provence lavender, regular sages, thymes and scented geraniums with heavy stems. It does not work as well as a sunny window! Basils, lady lavender, pineapple sage and thinstemmed scented geraniums will have to be on a sunny windowsill or under flourescent lights. The latter might work even better than a sunny window, because many winters are anything but sunny, and even on sunny days the days are too short.

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