Forum home Plants

Herbs indoors losing vigor

I moved my favorite herbs indoors for the winter about a month ago and already they are looking awful.  They were in pots outdoors and I didn't transplant before bringing them in.  I have oregano in one pot,  basil/parsley in another pot, lavender/sage/oregano in another pot, and sage/rosemary in the last pot.  My house is already dry from running the heat, so they seem constantly bone dry.  I water every other day and feed rarely. They're under a grow light that runs from 6am to 8pm.  Would they benefit from being tented to add humidity to their environment?  I have a small indoor greenhouse I could set up but I'm not sure if that's the answer.

New England, USA
Metacomet soil with hints of Woodbridge and Pillsbury


  • didywdidyw Posts: 3,535
    I'm no help - I just can't grow herbs indoors.  I try every year with basil but it soon succumbs to whitefly and other sticky horridness.  The dryer herbs (oregano, rosemary etc) shouldn't need any more humidity.  I keep mine in troughs outside the back door and can still pick from them all year round. Because that is south facing it doesn't get toooo cold, but even with a bit of frost they are OK.  But obviously they are more abundant in the summer months.  Maybe yours just need a bit of a rest, rather than being forced to keep going?
    Gardening in East Suffolk on dry sandy soil.
  • B3B3 Posts: 27,331
    edited December 2022
    I don't know what your climate is like but all of the ones you mention but basil survive outside in the winter here.   I had a prostratus rosemary die on me but the ordinary one is hardy  
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • bédébédé Posts: 3,073
    The problem will be mainly lack of light.  The grow-light might not be enough.

    Each plant will have its own individual requirements.  My recommendation, possibly not welcome, is: don't even try.  My advice, probably not welcome, is: don't even try.
     location: Surrey Hills, England, ex-woodland acidic sand.
    "Have nothing in your garden that you don't know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
  • I'm in zone 5, and when I look at a zone map for the UK, most of it is 8 or 9.  My zone is -20 to -10 F (-29 to -23 C), so most herbs don't survive outside here.  Creeping thyme and most of the mint family will, so I leave them in the gardens.
    Maybe if I cut back the sad looking herbs it will rejuvenate them? 
    New England, USA
    Metacomet soil with hints of Woodbridge and Pillsbury
  • Lack of light would make sense, too. :(  Even though they're in front of a window and have the grow light, it doesn't replicate the long, sunny days of summer when they look their best.
    New England, USA
    Metacomet soil with hints of Woodbridge and Pillsbury
  •  Lavender, sage, Rosemary and Parsley are hardy enough outside in most of the UK.  Basil is rarely worth trying to keep going all year - harvesting and preserving in several ways before the cold weather starts is best and then start again next year.
    New England is a different matter so much depends on  how you have dealt with these plants in previous years ?  Perhaps a local based site may be helpful ?
    I would certainly agree that adding humidity isn't a good idea :)
  • For what it's worth, I've always thought of/treated culinary basil as an annual - never lasts more than a few months for me (indoors or out). 
    Kindness is always the right choice.
  • Well, shoot.  I can grow all this stuff outdoors, but have to treat them as annuals.  One of the sage plants, the lavender, basil, and both oregano plants are all 2-3 years old.  I've been overwintering them, but they hang on by the slightest thread indoors and I was hoping to help them out a little better this year.  I'll keep doing what I've been doing, I guess. :)
    New England, USA
    Metacomet soil with hints of Woodbridge and Pillsbury
  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 7,080
    I grow a lot of herbs outdoors. The ones that keep growing through the winter, like rosemary and sage, all lose potency even though they don't lose their leaves. I assume the essential oils are not produced when the plants are cold and/or in low light - they are all much more aromatic when the sun is on them. I'd do as you are, keep them alive over winter but don't ask too much of them - let them rest in their different ways and don't try to 'force' them.

    I usually harvest a good crop in summer shortly before they start to flower, on a warm, dry morning and preserve them (generally by drying, apart from mint which I turn into mint sauce and/or jelly) to get me through the winter months. They regrow fast at that time of year and I have more than one of most types so giving one plant a really hard cut back is not a problem.
    Gardening on the edge of Exmoor, in Devon

    “It's still magic even if you know how it's done.” 
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,860
    I only have basil outside in summer. I don't try and keep it going over winter. I don't think my house is warm enough for it  ;)
    I do grow extra whenever possible, and I freeze it for bolognese/pasta dishes etc.
    I don't grow many other herbs now as most of them need overwintering undercover here, but I'd agree with @raisingirl - let them have a rest over winter, and dry or freeze some if you have the means to do that  :)
    I'd also agree with @philippasmith2, and certainly humidity could be a real problem. As she says, perhaps there are sites/forums in your area which may give some good indicators as to what will work  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
Sign In or Register to comment.