These are the changes you need to make to your herb garden in fall, according to the experts

As temperatures cool, it's time swap out sultry summer favorites such as basil and cilantro and plant hardier sage and thyme instead

person wearing gardening gloves and carrying a potted oregano plant
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Growing herbs is a great way to add variety to your backyard, attract pollinating insects, and add extra oomph to home-cooked dishes. 

However, as fall brings colder temperatures in many US zones, your sun-loving summer herb garden ideas can begin to look past their past, with favorites such as basil wilting outdoors.

'You’ll want to make sure you’re replacing some of the more classic summer herbs like basil and tarragon for heartier herbs like parsley and sage,' says Tom Monson, owner of Minnesota-based gardens company Monson Lawn and Landscaping

3 easy herb swaps for fall

Some of the best herbs to grow in your garden are suitable for planting in fall, making it easy to replace your summer varieties. 

'Remember, you want to make sure your fall herbs are able to withstand colder temperatures and more moisture, which is why it’s especially important to have them planted in well-draining soil,' says Tom Monson. 

Here are three swaps to try. 

1. Swap basil for oregano

person harvesting oregano from the garden

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If you love that touch of Italian seasoning in your food, the first thing to do is swap basil for oregano, says expert gardener Jen Stark, founder of the Happy DIY Home blog.  

'Basil is a lovely summer herb that doesn't do well in cooler weather. On the other hand, oregano is much more robust and can handle the cooler fall temperatures just fine.'

2. Swap cilantro for parsley

parsley growing outdoors in a garden

(Image credit: Jack Nobre/EyeEm/Getty Images)

A fresh green garnish can lift any dish, but in October, cilantro may start to struggle. 'I find cilantro won't make it much longer through the year and so this tends to get replaced by a few parsley herbs which I'd started off already to help get them established,' says Alex Tinsman, gardener at How to Houseplant

'If they're kept in a sheltered position you should be able to benefit from year round parsley. If you do get harsh frosts you may need to protect your plants from frost by covering them, or keep a pot on a windowsill somewhere instead.'

3. Swap thyme for sage

sage growing outdoors in a pot

(Image credit: Daniela Duncan/Getty Images)

Whilst thyme will still thrive in warmer zones, sage is almost guaranteed to keep growing whatever the mercury says. 

Plus, says Inez Stanway, CEO of crafting and home-making website Live Laugh Create, sage is the perfect addition to hearty fall meals: 'Sage pairs well with other winter favorites like potatoes, onions, and squash.

'As a result, it can help to give your dishes a more robust flavor. So if you're looking to change things up this season, consider adding some sage to your herb garden repertoire.' 

Which herbs will you swapping out in your kitchen garden this season?

Jayne Dowle
Freelance writer

Jayne Dowle is an award-winning gardening, homes and property writer who writes for publications including Sunday Times Home, Times Bricks & Mortar, Grand Designs, House Beautiful and The Spectator. She was awarded the Garden Journalist of the Year accolade at the Property Press Awards in 2021.