Are Herbs Perennial? Here Are Which Will Grow Year After Year Leave a comment

Are herbs perennial? Unfortunately, not all the herbs you plant will come back next year. Some are only grown as annuals. However, there are some perennial herbs out there! Based on your growing zone, here is a list of herbs you can expect to return and which ones you’ll say goodbye to at the end of the season.

are herbs perennial? how to tell.

Are Herbs Perennials?

When people first grow a herb garden, many people get a little confused about whether or not their herbs are going to come back the next year. I get a lot of questions about this!

Many herbs are perennials, but it always depends on where you live. For instance, some of the most popular culinary herbs like basil and dill are grown as annuals.

Perennial herbs are ones that will last multiple seasons. They will die back at the end of the growing season in the fall but will come back in the spring from the same roots.

Meanwhile, annuals are herbs that are only meant to grow during one season. They may seed themselves and return again the next year but they will come from a new seed and new roots.

Planting a Wood Wine Box Herb Garden
I like to grow herbs in a container to keep them easily accessible, like this wine box planter.

What Herbs Are Perennials?

It’s difficult to label these herbs as perennial since we all live in different places! Instead, I’ve broken it down by zones so you can see which herbs are considered perennials based on your climate.

Perennial Herbs for Zone 3 and Higher

Lemon Balm
Lemon balm can grow well for zones 3-7 and acts as an annual in colder climates.

Perennial Herbs for Zone 4 and Higher

Wild Fennel
Bee balm
Sweet cicely

Perennial Herbs for Zone 5 and Higher

lavender mosquito repelling plants
Most lavender grows best in zones 5-9, while Spanish lavender is only hardy in zones 7-9.

Perennial Herbs for Zone 6 and Higher

Which Herbs Are Annuals?

When it comes to annuals, most of these are safe to plant after the threat of frost. In frost-free areas, many of these herbs will self-sow or may act as a perennial.

Dill (technically a biennial but mostly grown as an annual)
Bay laurel
Pineapple sage
Summer savory
Parsley (technically a biennial. It grows a rosette and taproot in the first year, and then flower and dies after the second year)
Lemon verbena

borage plant
Borage thrives in zones 2-11, making it an easy annual to grow.

Herbs in Winter

When winter comes, you don’t have to say goodbye to your precious herb garden! I have some tips on overwintering herbs that you can use to help ensure your perennials make it through the winter.

As for the annuals, you can take some cuttings of your favourites and bring them inside. Propagate these cuttings by placing them in water or soil. They’ll grow slowly in the winter, but you can still harvest them or leave them alone to plant in your garden again once spring arrives.

Growing herbs indoors is a relatively easy thing to do year-round for a constant and cost-effective way to have fresh herbs in your culinary cabinet.

window herb garden

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