Overwintering lavender plants

(Question)

Hi … I purchased a very small 2″ lavender plant in June, planted it in my backyard, and it has grown.  I live up north on Lake Simcoe.  Should I dig it up and put it in a pot and bring it inside over the winter?  Or can it just stay outside in the soil?  Also, do I need to cut it at all?  Any tips would be appreciated.

(Answer)

There are 28 species of lavender and some are hardier than others.  In your area, you will have the greatest success overwintering ‘Hidcote’ or ‘Munstead’ lavender.  If you know you have one of these varieties, you should be able to overwinter your plant in the ground with some mulch for protection.  Wait until the first frost to ensure your plant is dormant, then mound some mulch or pile some leaves over the plant.  Pull back the mulch in the spring and prune hard to about 6-7 inches from the ground to ensure lots of bloom.

If you have one of the other species or don’t know what species you have, you could consider moving it to a container and then storing in an unheated garage or porch.  Lavender has a large root ball so be sure to choose a good sized container with good drainage – lavender won’t tolerate wet feet.  Water the plant in well and then not again as long as the soil remains frozen.   This method works well for lavender that has been grown in a container but may be a bit of a gamble for a transplant.

Good luck.  Lavender is such a pleasure to have in the garden so well worth some extra effort to help it through the winter.