Wintering Dittany of Crete, Fo-Ti, Ginger, Lemongrass
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: [No name given]
Posted on: October 5, 1998

I bought several plants from you and grew others from seed. They are doing well, especially the Ginger. Now I need to ask about wintering over, and your booklet on Growing Herbs does not answer these specific questions. I hope you can help. I am in the southernmost tip of Zone 6 and hope that ginger, dittany of Crete, fo-ti, and lemongrass will over-winter if cut back and well mulched. Is this correct?

Of the four plants you ask about only fo-ti will over-winter reliably in zone 6. It can take temperatures down to minus 15 degrees Celsius. Dittany of Crete just might survive in a very sheltered spot with lots of insulation and with a mild winter! It is rated hardy in zones 8 to 9. The ginger of commerce is hardy in zones 9 to 11 and can only take a minimum of minus one degree Celsius. Lemongrass is tropical and must be overwintered indoors in zone 6.

Another related set of questions: how much root of ginger and of fo-ti should be taken and how much left? And should I wait to take these until late or take them as they become available?

Ginger should be harvested after the plants die down in the fall. You replant about 5 centimeters of the growing tip and use the rest in the kitchen. The fo-ti root is allowed to grow for 4 to 5 yrs and then is harvested after the plant has died down- in late fall. At that time you may wish to replant as many of the fleshy rhizomes as you wish for new plants.

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