Perennial Herbs for Cold Climates

Chives- need some water

Five herbs, chives, oregano, French tarragon, mint and thyme come back year after year in my Edmonton garden. They survive the extreme cold of Alberta winters. 

These herbs do not require much care, either. Plant them  where they get at least a few hours of direct sunlight each day. They are indestructible.

Mint will take over, so you might want to keep it in a pot, or a secluded spot with natural boundaries. Oregano will spread out a few inches and seeds will sprout. The tarragon too can get quite large in a sheltered sunny spot. Hardy chives need some water and do well with a little shade.  Thyme gets bushy and is easy to start from seed. All of these herbs transplant well. They don’t need much fertilizer and grow in poorer soils. They also pop up early in spring. 

Thyme-vigorous and bushy
Ask neighbors with gardens for a little clump of each herb. Wait until late May to transplant. If you buy herbs at a garden store, be sure the varieties you buy are hardy for your climate.

French Tarragon- a lovely herb

Sage? Lately garden sage comes back each spring, but for many years it did not. Coriander and dill reseed in the garden by themselves. Basil is best started indoors from seed and transplanted out. Rosemary will die off outside over winter, and is difficult to grow from seed, in my opinion. Vietnamese coriander and rosemary plants can be brought indoors and overwintered, to be planted out again in spring. Parsley can be grown from seed. We grow both curley and Italian (leafy) parsley.

Sage and parsley seedlings

Check out my video on how to grow great garlic in a cold climate.