lavender in winter

A Look At Lavender In Winter

Written by Victoria

English varieties of lavenders are hardy down to zone 5. French and Spanish lavenders can be perennial down to 5a if proper steps to prune the lavender are taken. On average lavender will survive winter here is a look at how to achieve healthy lavender in cold winters. 

 

Here we include a simple video showing lavender in winter. Toward the end you can see the soft cut and woody cuts described below. For further questions on lavender in winter summit your questions below

Will lavender survive the cold

The short answer is yes lavender will survive winter down to zone 5 if proper precautions are taken. You can increase the odds of lavender surviving winter by picking a cold hardy lavender. For details on lavender temperature tolerance 

Here is a list of popular lavenders and there cold hardiness zones:

Lavender Varieties   Cold Hardiness zones
Hidcote 5b
Grosso 5a
Provence  5b
Munstead 4a
Phenomenal French Hybrid 5b
Royal Velvet 6a

 

What does lavender look like in the cold

Lavender is considered an evergreen. Lavender retains some green texter in colder climates but shades of silver are noticeable. Here is a picture of a Hidcote Lavender in January located in a zone 5a.

Hidcote Lavender winter

 

Is lavender dormant in the cold

Yes in colder climates lavender go into a dormant state. To protect itself portions of the plant may die off. In the pictures below you can see that portions of the lavender plant exposed to frozen snow has died back. We will go into further details on how to prevent this below. 

Lavender Winter Damage

How to protect lavender plant in winter

 To protect lavender in winter you need to minimize its exposure to freezing temperatures and boggy conditions. Direct exposure to freezing air can kill lavender in some cases. To solve this you can cover the lavender with a frost blanket after the plant goes into dormancy. Make sure not to cover to early in the winter or the added heat from the cover can trick the plant into waking up because it believes it is spring. If you live in an area that receives a lot of snow than you may not need to cover the plants. Many people don't know the snow is a great insulator and offers a layer of protection several degrees warmer than the outside air. It is also important to make sure lavender does not sit in wet boggy areas. Lavender prefers it to be well draining and dry. Wet conditions can cause root rot. Planting on the side of a hill as pictured here will help keep water from bogging the roots. Lavender trees require more care find out here.

Lavender on hillside winter

How to prune lavender plants for winter

 It is best to avoid pruning lavender in the winter if you live in a zone colder than 7a. Pruning a lavender plant in the winter should only be if necessary. To prune lavender in winter avoid cutting in to the woody base of the stem. Damage to the woody base can lead to Lavender dying even in warm months. If you must prune lavender in winter only cut back the top 1/3 of the plant that is not woody. You can tell the diffrence by looking at the inside of the cut if you see green you are fine. If the interior of the stem is brown stop cutting and move up higher on the stem. Example A  shows a green stem Example B is a cut wood base.

Example A:

Lavender winter pruning soft stem

 Example B:

Lavender winter pruning woody stem

 

 Grow lavender in the cold

  • You can grow lavender in the winter by using frost covers in late winter. Spanish lavender is to warm climate to promote growth in winter, but English lavender and French lavender can have growth in winter. We recommend using heavy oil producing English lavender like Hidcote as they are more cold hardy in winter conditions.
  • Cover the lavender plants with a frost cloth about 30 days before last frost date to start waking English lavender from its winter sleep. After about a week check the stems and soil of your plant to see if they have thawed. If till frozen add a second frost blanket to increase warmth.
  • Take care to mist the plants weekly to keep from drying out winter lacks the humidity to meet the car needs of the plant waking from dormancy. 
  • Years ago I started taking care to cover my plants in late winter, I saw budding 3 weeks earlier than previous years.

 

 

 

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