Winter Herbs to Plant in the Shade

The nice thing about herbs is that they can be cultivated inside, and then moved out into the garden once they’ve begun to sprout. Just because winter is here, that doesn’t mean you can’t invest in some delicious garden herbs to enhance both your landscape and your dinner table.

There are plenty of popular herbs that will happily withstand both the shade and the cold of the winter season. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Lemon Balm

    Lemon Balm, AKA Geraniums

  •  AKA Geraniums


  • Garlic


  • Catnip


  • Rosemary


  • Chives


  • Mint


Lemon Balm

Also known as Melissa, or simply as the well-loved geranium, lemon balm is both fragrant and medicinal. Both its petals and foliage can be used for tea, or simply for attracting friendly pollenators to your garden.

Lemon balm requires a layer of mulch for protection during harsh winters, but will generally thrive in the agricultural Zone 8 (Dallas-Fort Worth region). Be sure to thin the stalks to about 1 to 1.5 feet apart during active growth.


Most bulb plants fare well through the cold months, and garlic is definitely one of them. This well-loved herb is surprisingly easy to cultivate, even for beginning gardeners.

Garlic can be grown from simple cloves bought from the produce section at your grocery store. Simply plant them pointy side up, about 5-by-2 inches apart in rows, and be prepared to harvest them once the leaves turn brown.


It’s not just for cats! Catnip tea is actually quite tasty and soothing, and the plant itself is an attractive addition to your landscape.

This winter hardy plant actually prefers cool weather and lots of shade. It produces lovely purple florets, and the leaves can be harvested once the flowers bloom. Dry them for 2 to 3 weeks for loose tea.  


This hardy evergreen is well-loved both in landscaping and in the kitchen. It requires very little care, and easily thrives through winter frosts and shaded areas.

During heavy snowfall, you can minimize damages by draping a light tarp over the shrubs. For optimal flavor, you will want to prune back to about 3 inches from the main stem, directly after the first frost. In an active growing season, rosemary can be harvested continuously.


Chives are technically a bulb plant, but they’re also considered an herb due to the fact that their stalks are often used as a garnish. Whether dried or freshly chopped, they offer a colorful and fragrant addition to potatoes, soup, and poultry dishes.

Chives are wonderfully winter hardy, and even offer a nice whitish flower. Be sure you chop the stalks to about 6 inches once they blossom, as this is the best time to capture optimal flavor.


Mint is actually comprised of a huge family of plants, including basil, peppermint, spearmint, oregano, and even lavender. Aside from the specifics of some hybrids, most mint plants hold similar features, including  growing conditions.

Mint is a great pest deterrent due to its spicy aroma, and can be a precariously fast spreader. Due to this tendency, you may want to encase its environment to minimize overgrowth. It does well in mild winters, but may need covering during a long or harsh freeze. Be sure you


Parsley may as well be the “salt” of the herb family, as adding a dash of it will enhance practically any dish. Delicious either fresh or dried, this herb is both attractive and easy to grow.

It prefers partial shade, and can withstand a light frost without any harm. Plant them about a month before the final frost, and give them some time to grow. Parsley takes some time to cultivate, but you’ll know it’s time for harvest when the stalks have produced 3 mature leaves apiece.





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