Growing Herbs in Texas: Protecting Herbs in the Winter

| 12/3/2010 4:47:42 PM

c.meredith2Cynthia Meredith has been gardening with herbs, reading about herbs, and discussing herb gardening in Texas for more than 20 years. She has owned The Herb Cottage ( for over 10 years, selling herb plants to people all over our state. 

There have been many changes in my Texas garden over the last month or two. We've had one freeze so far. I'm always so pleased with how well most of the herbs in the garden handle the cold. Aside from basil and lemongrass, the herbs barely notice the cold. I try and remember to water them in the afternoon before freezing temperatures are predicted.

12/3 oregano
Oregano 'Santa Cruz' and rosemary 'Arp' held up well during a freeze.
Photo by Cynthia Meredith

Moist soil holds more heat than dry soil. If you feel the need to cover certain plants, the cover will help trap the heat and hold it closer to the plant. Gardening Tip: We've learned never to cover with plastic for several reasons. One is that any place where the plastic touches the plant can cause freeze damage. Another reason is that if you're not home to remove the plastic and the sun comes out, the plastic traps too much heat and the plant can be damaged by that. So, always use a permeable cover such as a sheet, old bedspread or blanket.

The light freeze we had over Thanksgiving damaged a few landscape plants, but I'm surprised at how the well my basil survived. The specialty basils—the Indian and African varieties—sustained some damage, but are still growing. They are so large, I decided not to cover them as I have been collecting seed. As you can see, there are still lots of seed heads on the plants. I expected them to be completely frozen, but they are not.

These basil seed heads survived the cold and are just ripe for collecting!
Photo by Cynthia Meredith

4/26/2018 8:27:40 PM

Also, do they attract bugs? I have lavender plant and mosquito olant

4/26/2018 8:27:39 PM

I have recently planted basil, cilantro and chives in pots. Would like instructions on watering, amount of sunlight and what to do over the winter months