Overwintering Night Jessamine, Woolly Lavender and Bay Laurel in , Zone 5b
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Graham Jones
Posted on: October 27, 2000

I live in London, Ontario, Canada in zone (5b)

I purchased from you a night jessasmine plant and just this week brought it indoors. It has some rather long almost woody branches with leaves only at the end. What should I do with this tender perennial?

Since this plant is a shrub, it will get quite woody. Keep it well lit and watered during the winter and it will eventually reward you with its tiny, but oh so fragrant blooms! You can prune the plant to keep it smaller, but the best time to do that is just after flowering - that way you won’t cut off flower buds. Place it in your south window and it should do fine.

I also have a woolly lavender plant that has become quite bushy in its first year. Should I cut it back?

To overwinter it indoors, wait until it has gone through a few frosts and then keep it in a bright cool place until spring. Keep slightly moist but not soggy wet. It will not need any fertilizer during the winter until it starts growing again. How soon growth begins will depend on how cool you keep the plant. If you are a bit low on light for a Mediterranean plant try to delay regrowth with cooler temperatures. Otherwise you may not get any flowers. Pruning would be best after flowering to prevent cutting off flower buds.

What is the general care that I should give these plants in the winter. I have a grow light stand where I plan on placing the plants.

Put them as close to the lights as possible without touching the lights and give them 12 hour days and cool temperatures.

My last question is regarding two lovely bay laurel plants I purchased from you several years ago. Both are around one meter high and fairly bushy. They are getting fairly heavy to carry to the basement where my Grow Light is so could I leave them in our entertaining room facing the south?

They would be great there! Many people use bay laurels instead of benjaminas and find them easier to grow and are delighted that there is a great use for the clippings! Just keep them moist - important in the drier indoor atmosphere.

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