Although many herbs are Mediterranean natives that won’t survive cold winters, you may be surprised at the number of beautiful, aromatic herbs that grow in zone 5 climates. In fact, some cold hardy herbs, including hyssop and catnip, withstand punishing cold winters as far north as USDA plant hardiness zone 4. Read on for a list of hardy zone 5 herb plants.
Cold Hardy Herbs
Below is a list of hardy herbs for zone 5 gardens.
- Anise hyssop
- Clary sage
- Chamomile (depending on variety)
- Lavender (depending on variety)
- French tarragon
- Garlic chives
- Lemon balm
- Mint hybrids (chocolate mint, apple mint, orange mint, etc.)
- Parsley (depending on variety)
- Salad burnet
- Sweet Cicely
- Oregano (depending on variety)
- Thyme (depending on variety)
- Savory – winter
Although the following herbs aren’t perennial, they reseed themselves from year to year (sometimes too generously):
Planting Herbs in Zone 5
Most hardy herb seeds can be planted directly in the garden about a month before the last expected frost in spring. Unlike warm season herbs that thrive in dry, less fertile soil, these herbs tend to perform best in well-drained, compost-rich soil.
You can also purchase herbs for zone 5 at a local garden center or nursery during spring planting time. Plant these young herbs after all danger of frost has passed.
Harvest the herbs in late spring. Many zone 5 herb plants bolt when temperatures rise in early summer, but some will reward you with a second harvest in late summer or early autumn.
Winterizing Zone 5 Herb Plants
Even cold hardy herbs benefit from 2 to 3 inches (5-8 cm.) of mulch, which protects the roots from frequent freezing and thawing.
If you have evergreen boughs left over from Christmas, lay them over herbs in exposed locations to provide protection from harsh winds.
Be sure not to fertilize herbs after early August. Don’t encourage new growth when plants should be busy acclimating for winter.
Avoid extensive pruning in late fall, as the cut stems place the plants at higher risk for winter damage.
Keep in mind that some cold hardy herbs may look dead in early spring. Give them time; they will likely emerge good as new when the ground warms up.