5 Hardy Herbs For Short Season Gardeners

Some herbs seem to die under the most gentle conditions, while others keep growing and look even better, no matter what Mother Nature throws at them. These are the herbs that many high altitude gardeners should focus on. If you live in an area with sketchy temperatures and unpredictable weather, grow as much as you can in pots, and choose from these cold weather herbs.

  • 01 of 05


    Flowers of Chives.

    Roel Meijer / Getty Images

    Chives are the perfect choice for difficult growing areas. It starts early, blooms profusely, and can take a beating in the herb garden area. Choose chives for any fussy conditions, because it stays where you put it, growing in a clumping habit. You won't suddenly find chives growing in your lavender unless you put them there.

    The flowers are lovely and edible; you can cut the leaves again and again (freeze them whole and snip into dishes all winter), and enjoy the taste of onion, in a lighter manner. What's not to love?

  • 02 of 05



    yevkusa Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    Cilantro should be called the Wonder Herb. It can be snowing like crazy, and you can wander through the garden and tiny cilantro plants sprouting. It is one of the first markers of spring on a farm, even germinating before some of the early wild plants like Catmint and Dock.

    It is funny that cilantro likes the cold weather so much when it is such a cooling herb for spicy dishes. Even young children can enjoy Mexican food with some cilantro added.

    Grow Cilantro in a pot for short season gardeners. This ensures it can be moved to a handy location when the weather turns cold, but don't worry about sunlight. It even grows in partial sun or shade.

    A word of warning: The very nature of cilantro makes it sort of a problem if you like things all tidy. You will find a few unsolicited cilantro sprouts where you least expect them. You will consider them a gift!

  • 03 of 05



    Alice Henneman / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    As useful as sage is for colds and flu remedies, it just makes sense that sage can withstand rough weather as well. For short season or high altitude gardeners, sage is a colorful addition to sometimes less than fancy looking herb gardens. There are a wide variety of colors and shapes of plants to choose from.

    You can grow sage in nasty weather, but don't soak its roots. If you live in an area of cold and wet (poor you), grow sage in pots that have great drainage. But be sure to grow it. Sage is known as the throat herb for a good reason. It is perfect for tea when you are sick.


    Some people with high blood pressure or sensitive to sage can experience a rise in their blood pressure if used regularly. Use caution.

  • 04 of 05


    Fennel Plants Growing
    David Gomez / Getty Images

    Fennel is on the list of hardy herbs for tough gardens. This is wonderful! Fennel is not only delicious; it makes a lovely plant to see growing in the herb garden. For a pretty punch of color, grow bronze fennel and enjoy the unusual shade of deep purple.

    Fennel keeps blooming, despite the temperatures. Collect the fennel pollen for a tasty culinary treat. The plant's flowers are wonderful attractants for bees-something that high altitude gardeners will appreciate. Some fennel grows well over 6 feet tall!

    If you allow fennel to go to seed, however, you will forever be granted new fennel plants every year. Just in case you want to avoid that.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05


    mint, peppermint (mentha x piperita), foliage
    David Q. Cavagnaro / Getty Images

    What would a list of hardy herbs be without mint? Grow it in pots, though, even in short-season gardens; there is enough time for it to take over all the garden area possible. No matter how high of an altitude, or harsh weather, you will never be rid of unwanted mint.

    Simply grow any of your mints in pots and plant that pot into the ground. Then, by the end of the season, lift your mint pot up and out of the ground, roots and all. Consider this your public service announcement. Mint is probably the hardiest of all these herbs. Beware but love it anyhow.