Woody herbs are perennial or biennial plants that develop woody stems over time.
Rosemary, lavender, sage, sweet bay, thyme and tarragon are some of my favorite woody herbs.
Although they are hardier than tender perennial herbs like basil, which have soft stems, woody herbs benefit from protection in winter.
One of the most pleasant ways to overwinter them is to bring them indoors where they make wonderfully aromatic winter houseplants.
wash & Re-Pot
Before bringing woody herb inside, be sure to give them a good washing to remove dirt and debris as well as pests and pest eggs.
To wash the plants, first mix up a solution of warm, soapy water using a mild dish washing liquid like Method or Palmolive.
Then sponge the herb plants down. If they are small and lightweight, dip them directly into the sudsy water. It won't hurt them.
Finally, rinse the plants with cups of clear, warm water.
Short, strong bursts of spray are also effective for removing soap residue and dislodging insect eggs.
To accommodate next year's growth, you can re-pot woody herbs before moving them inside. Place them in containers several inches larger than the root ball, adding fresh soil mixed with compost for good drainage.
Suddenly mving potted herbs indoors can cause them undue stress, so it's best to acclimate them slowly to the indoor environment. Otherwise, they might turn brown or drop their leaves or even die.
To prepare them for the move, stop fertilizing them in early autumn and give them a hard pruning.
Then place them in a sheltered outdoor location, such as a covered porch, deck or breezeway, for one or two weeks before bringing them inside.
Fertilize & Prune