Lavender has long adorned not only our gardens, but also gladly tubs and window boxes on the balcony and terrace. So, with proper care and plenty of sun, the plant feels good everywhere. You have now got your new plants wonderfully through the hot summer. So far so good. But how do you actually overwinter lavender? To what extent is this beautiful plant hardy and what are the differences between specimens in the bed and those in plant containers? We explain what to consider if you want to overwinter lavender.
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Is lavender hardy?
Can lavender be overwintered? In principle, they are all more or less hardy, although it comes from the mild Mediterranean region. But whether and how you need to support them during the winter depends on the variety. There are those that can withstand frost without any problems, but also those that need winter protection or even winter quarters. For this reason, you should find out what kind of lavender yours is at the latest after you buy it. The most popular variety is probably the true lavender ( Lavandula angustifolia ). This is suitable for the garden, as well as for tubs and the like, and is therefore the most common.
When is the time for overwintering?
Your plants, whether in beds or pots, may remain outside as long as no frost is imminent. However, as soon as the first frost is expected at night, the hardy ones must be given shelter outside, while the sensitive varieties must go to the winter quarters even before that. For the right time, it is best to follow the weather forecast.
How to prepare and protect the plant
Overwintering lavender – cut back or better not?
Before you overwinter the lavender, you should prune it back. But this is in no case done in the fall, because then the plant does not have enough time to mature and will be damaged by frost. Then when should you cut the lavender?
The last pruning is done in the summer , early August. If you missed it, it is better to leave it and wait until spring. Also, if, despite all measures, the plant suffers frostbite, do not remove the affected parts of the plant immediately, but with the standard pruning in the spring.
Overwintering lavender in a pot
Non-hardy species definitely need cool winter quarters to survive. Hardier varieties can stay outside with the right protection ( 5 to 15 degrees are the optimal temperatures). If you want to overwinter lavender in a pot, the first thing to do is to choose the right flower pot, because it can have both a protective and the opposite effect. Especially important are drainage holes, so that excess water, which could freeze, can run out.
But the material can also assist in winter protection. Thus, terracotta is preferable, because it has the practical property of absorbing excess moisture from the substrate, so that the latter is not too wet. Either way, the container still needs to be wrapped. Bubble wrap is ideal and is then further wrapped with burlap or fleece. A carpet pad can also come in handy. Styrofoam, wood or an insulating mat work well.
The appropriate location to overwinter lavender in a container
Varieties that are sufficiently robust to be able to spend the winter outside only with winter protection, but for this purpose need an appropriate place. This is necessarily protected from the wind, which is best achieved by placing the pot against a house wall. Although the plant needs a lot of sun in the warm season, this is not the case in winter. On the contrary, even full sun can cause the plant to die. Therefore, choose partial shade and make sure that, if possible, no snow can fall on the pot.
- dry location
- protected from (east) winds
- on the wall of the house
The care of lavender in winter
How should you care for the plant if you overwinter lavender in a pot? All you need to do is to water it from time to time, so that the root ball does not dry out. You should definitely avoid too much water, because then the risk of freezing the substrate increases. The latter can be tolerated and withstood by the plant only if the soil is at least airy and sufficient, but not too dry.
Note: Proceed in the same way if you want to overwinter lavender in a window box on the balcony.
Protect garden lavender properly in winter
If you want to overwinter lavender outside, the right choice of location is very important even before planting (after all, you can not specially transplant the plant before winter). Namely, this must be protected from the wind. Also, mulch the plant to protect it from both frost and strong sun. For this purpose, use, for example, brushwood or leaves. If a longer period with temperatures below minus 15 degrees is imminent, it is also advisable to additionally cover the above-ground parts of the plant with garden fleece. Coconut matting also provides good thermal insulation.
If you overwinter lavender outdoors, watering is necessary only when necessary. Usually, nature provides enough moisture during this period to get the plant through the winter. However, if there is a prolonged dry period, you can moisten the soil a little. With lavender in the garden, it is also important not to overdo it, and also to choose a frost-free day for this purpose. Otherwise, the roots could freeze and be damaged.