Overwintering Lavender
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Vince Giacomin
Posted on: August 12, 2007

I have purchased several lavender plants from you over the years. Some plants that did very well last year, did not come back this spring. How should I care for the lavender? Should I be cutting the lavender back in the fall or just leave it alone? Or should I be trimming the lavender back in the spring or just leave it alone? Help! I live in Illinois, USA.

Illinois is mostly in zone 5 with the Southern third of the state being zone 6. In normal winters you should have no trouble with the various varieties of English lavender, Lavandula angustifolia. Winter wet will kill lavenders and for this reason I would recommend popping a pot over each plant and covering the pot with some mulch. The pot prevents the plant from getting wet during unusual mild spells in the winter and the mulch slows the rapid temperature changes that are typical during mid-winter in North America and just don’t occur in the plants’ coastal European homelands due to the influence of the ocean.

Cutting back should be done in the spring, after you see some sign of growth. If possible only cut dead branches. It shocks the plant less.

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