How to Overwinter Lavender Grown in Pots
Keeping Potted Lavender Alive During the Cold Months
Lavender plants that have been potted up need special care when cold weather comes. Below you will find suggestions on how to care for Lavender and keep your potted Lavender alive until the weather warms up. Tips for both the cold hardy and tender plants are given below. Caring for Lavender in containers is easy!
Lavender plants that are hardy for your climate can overwinter pretty well on their own in their container as long as it is not sitting under a pile of snow, tree leaves or ice. Depending on the size of the growing container larger pots can usually remain outside but do keep an eye on them. By large I mean 5 gallon and larger for those living in areas that have very cold harsh winters. Learn more about winter preparations for Lavender plantings and how to care for Lavender plants that are in the ground.
Small pots of the hardy varieties of Lavender will need to be brought inside or placed in a cooler non-freezing location where they receive as much light and air circulation as possible. They also need to be where they will not be forgotten about as they will need a little water every so often.
If the winter is especially dry your plant may need a little water but no where near the amount that is necessary during the active growing season. If the ground is frozen then your potted Lavender probably is too and that is fine for the cold hardy varieties. It's the frequent freezing and thawing and dampness that causes problems.
Tender Lavender plants grown in pots require a little more work because they cannot withstand cold conditions unlike the more hardy types. To keep them alive overwinter you will need to start preparing them 2-3 weeks prior to freezing temps. They need to be slowly acclimated to their new location just like new plant seedlings started inside need time to adjust to outside conditions.
How To Move Your Lavender Inside Safely
Start by moving your plant to a covered porch that receives filtered sun for a few hours each day to get it used to lower light conditions. Do this daily for about a week or so increasing the time toward the end. Next just leave the potted Lavender in the new filtered light position for another week. Do check to see if it might need some water and that it looks healthy.
The final step is to start moving the potted Lavender inside your house or other non-freezing area that receives as much sun light as possible with good air circulation. Move the plant inside for a few hours (2-3) each day for at least 7 days gradually increasing the amount of time each day until it remains inside.
Place your potted Lavender in good location. This means as much sunlight as possible with good air circulation. A sunroom is great for this although you could rig some broad spectrum or fluorescent lights up in a basement if you cannot find a sunny spot. Houses in winter tend to be drier due to heating so humidity usually is not a problem.
Make sure to check on your Lavender plant periodically and as for watering try to be lax about it erring on less and not more. Allow the top inch or so of soil to get bone dry. Rotate the pot every week so it receives uniform light and air.
Over watering potted Lavender grown inside is the main reason for plant fatality. Your plant will not need as much water and definitely not any fertilizer until warm spring weather returns. You will need to reverse the above acclimation process to get your plants outside again come spring. Be sure to wait until the last spring frost date for your area or you overwintered your potted Lavender for nothing!