How to Care for Lavender Successfully Through Winter

Last Updated on November 11, 2022 by Stephanie

The lavender plant is a low-maintenance plant, but there are some winter-care best practices be aware of during the winter months to ensure that your lavender is able to survive:

  • Lavenders require dry roots. If your soil doesnt drain well, then youll have to amend the soil using sand or grit since the cold winter soil will hold the moisture for a longer period of time.
  • Reducing the amount of time spent watering lavenders during winter. The lavender plants that are established outdoors will not require watering during the winter months. Indoor lavenders require watering every 4 to 6 weeks.
  • English Lavenders are hardy to cold and can be kept outside during winter. Non English lavenders can only endure winter in mild climates , and require to be moved into pots before being brought indoors during winter.
  • Get your lavender ready for winter by trimming the flowers into a mound that can withstand winter weather. Also, clean up leaves.

Learn what steps to take to ensure that your lavender is taken care of throughout the winter months to ensure it will give beautiful flowers with strong scents during the next growth period…

Prepare Lavenders for winter

In order to prepare your lavenders for winter, the two most important things you should do is:

  1. Clean up the fallen leaves that have accumulated in the vicinity of the lavender
  2. Cut your lavender to a thick and sturdy mound shape because this helps efficiently withstand the winter weathers effects.

The fall leaves can be an excellent mulch for certain species, but lavenders prefer soil that is able to drain well and doesnt retain excess moisture. This is due to the fact that lavenders originate from in the Mediterranean area of Europe which is where they thrive within the sandy soils which are low in fertility..

Leaves possess a remarkable capacity to hold on to water, which can create undesirable conditions that can cause fungal diseases root rot that is typically found in soils that are damp.

At the end of Autumn ensure that you take the Rake (or make use of the leaf blower) out and remove any decaying organic matter the area around your lavenders, and then put it on your compost pile.

This time of year you can put gravel or sand to serve as a mulch that will help to control the growth of weeds. Sand in particular will be absorbed through the earth over time, and will improve drainage of the soil by creating a porous soil structure.

lavender with sun in background

Pruning Lavenders Before Winter

The lavenders need to be cut back every year to slow the development of growth that is woody, improve the duration, maintain a beautiful shape , and encourage greater flowering.

(If your lavender is displaying lots of woody growth, check out my article for how you can manage it).

The primary pruning should be performed in the beginning in spring to determine the shape and appearance of your lavender. But you must also do the light pruning of your lavender plants during the autumn and late summer to get your lavender ready for the coming winter.

The aim of lavender pruning is to create a beautiful compact mound because this is thought to be the to be the most appealing and will protect against winter damage.

For pruning your lavender in winter, cut the flowers that have been sucked up and tidy the appearance and finish off the lavender well.

The most important rule to follow when it comes to lavender pruning is that you should never cut back the woody part since the wood doesnt regenerate and is the most fragile and weakest component of the plant.

This time of year it is not advisable to cut any of the foliage from the lavender. The minimum you need to reduce is one third of the growth that is green The most important thing is shaping your lavender mound, so that its more sturdy.

Mounds stop snow, ice or excessive water from entering the lavender plant and damaging the wooden base of the lavender plant.

Caring for English Lavenders over Winter

It is believed that the English Species of lavender is the only plant species to endure the cold winters and frosts that are common in an arid climate.

The hardy lavender plant can be found in zones five in the USA with the cultivar Hidcote Superior capable of surviving the winter months with temperature as low as 30 degrees Celsius (-20 degrees F)!

While English varieties of lavender are able to endure frost and cold, it is vulnerable to the effects of cold , wet soils which are difficult to manage in winter.

Despite its name English Lavender, all lavenders are derived in the Mediterranean region in southern Europe and, therefore, require similar soil conditions, including poor fertility and good drainage.

A soil that drains quickly and doesnt retain moisture is more crucial in winter months to prevent the effects of root decay (lavender roots prefer dry soil).

To ensure a clear drainage, soils must be amended using sand or gravel up to 18 inches prior to planting lavender.

If you have lavenders already established in the soil, it is possible to move the plant around using a fork and not using a shovel (to keep the roots from being damaged) and then mix with sand or gravel and aim for proportions that range from 30-50% sand and 50-70 percent compost. The more moist your soil naturally is, the more sand should be used in amending the soil.

The amendment of the soil will ensure that the lavender roots dont get trapped in damp, cold soil that drains too slow.

Watering Lavenders over Winter

Lavenders go into a state of winter dormancy , and dont require any water during the winter months. They are also a drought-resistant shrub, so the need for watering in winter is extremely low-maintenance.

Established lavenders do require no extra water during the winter months. The issue with lavenders is typically excessive water in winter due to the greater winter rainfall in the majority of climates.

The lavenders that are in the initial year of development might receive water every 4-6 weeks during winter, if there is little or no rainfall. However, they are more likely to get enough water throughout winter , without needing to water due to the lower rate of evaporation in colder weather.

It is possible to bring potted non English lavenders inside during winter in order to keep them safe from frosts. In this case, the lavender will require a small amount of water during the winter months to prevent it from drying out completely.

(Read, Watering Lavender in Pots for advice on watering throughout the year.)

It is recommended to do this once every 4 to 6 weeks, however when the soil is damp to the feel (when measured to the depth of your fingers) then you must stop the watering until.

Care to Non English Lavenders over Winter

There are three varieties of lavender: Spanish, French and Italian varieties of lavender differ in comparison to the English varieties because they arent cold-hardy and require regions with mild winters which do not get to temperatures of minus.

Certain hybrids and varieties of other English lavenders can be more tolerant to cold than others, but they will all be killed if exposed to severe frosts.

If you live located in an climate that experiences frost during winter, then you must choose an assortment of English species.

If you have a non English varieties of lavender in your garden and you are worried about due to cold winter weather, then you could transplant the lavender in the pot and then bring it inside, (placed in a bright window) or in a heated the house with a green roof during winter.

All varieties of lavender grow extremely well in pots since they provide ideal drainage conditions.

If you are in a region that has mild winters, and an unseasonable chance of frost, you could use Cloches that are great in insulating plants. You can make your own using an old duvet or blanket to cover the plant to block out dangerous frosts in an interim, but rarely necessary method.

How to care for indoor Lavenders in the winter months

The care of indoor lavenders during winter is easy. They require little attention and care if they are kept indoors since they are protected from frigid winter air.

Do not place indoor lavender plants in areas with higher humidity levels, like the kitchen and bathroom. The lavender should be given a large amount of space so that it can let airflow through the plant.

It is possible you to drink water from your indoor lavender every once or twice during winter months to ensure that it doesnt dry out because it wont be able to get the water it needs naturally, as the outdoor ones will.

For more details and the best practices, read my guide on caring of indoor lavendar.

Caring for Potted Lavenders over Winter

The potted varieties of lavender are much more prone to frost and cold because their roots are above the ground and is not protected in the same way as the lavender plants are.

If youre expecting an extreme frost or cold temperatures, its recommended to bring your children in for a few days until that cold snap is over.

This is especially applicable to Spanish, French and Italian species that are not tolerant of frost, which is why growing the varieties of lavender in pots is a great option, unless you reside in a hot climate that has mild winters.

The same practices for care apply to potted lavenders just as like any other that you have, like a drainage in the soil that is good and is amended by sand. Water them only occasionally when indoors, and not in any way if they are outdoors in winter. put them in the most sunny spot in your home or in your garden.

Read Do Lavenders Grow in pots? for advice on taking care of potted lavenders all the time.

Key Takeaways

  • Get lavenders ready for winter by trimming them in late in the summer or before fall to form a mound to provide more resistance to harsh winter weather and help deflect snow.
  • Remove fallen leaves and organic matter that is decaying the area around the lavenders, as this can only promote the root rot of the disease.
  • Established lavenders in the outdoors do not require watering during the winter months since they are drought-tolerant. A lot of water can harm the plant and could cause root rot. Indoor lavender might require frequent irrigation during winter, but not more than once every 4 to 6 weeks.
  • Be sure the soil drains fast. Cold winter, wet soils could cause root rot , which can kill lavenders. Add a layer of gravel or sand to improve the soils structure and improve the rate of infiltration , so that the roots of lavenders remain mostly dry.
  • English Lavenders are the sole species that can withstand frigid temperatures and frosty weather all through winter.
  • Spanish, French and Italian lavender is not cold-hardy and are likely to be killed by frosts. If you reside in a cold climate, then you must plant these lavenders in pots, bring them inside and put them in a bright window , before bringing them back to the garden in the spring. If you reside in a climate that is mild, you could keep the plants outside all year long and put them in a cloche to keep them safe from the occasional cold winter snap.
  • Indoor lavender require occasional watering over winter. A couple of times a week will suffice as the lavenders go into a state of dormancy in winter. Fortunately, they are drought-resistant.
Stephanie

Stephanie

Went from an inexperienced gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. I cover anything from general indoor plant guides and lawn care, to succulents and flowers. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)