Lavenders are ‘susceptible to rot’ – ‘perfect location’ for plant now

Matt James reveals how to pot a lavender plant in 2013

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The plant is also perfect for pots, borders and beds, smelling delightful when it blooms in the early summer months. English lavender is the hardiest of all the lavender varieties and is particularly attractive to pollinators like bees and butterflies.

The plant is also easy to look after as it’s native to the Mediterranean, loves the sun and thrives in poor soil.

However, at this time of year with the weather getting cooler and more extreme, it may be necessary to winterise your English lavender.

Winterising a plant may help it survive particularly cold temperatures and harsh conditions like strong winds and torrential rain.

Luckily, it’s not difficult to winterise lavender ready for a healthier plant in the spring and summer months.

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Lavenders don’t love the winter months when it’s cold and wet as they prefer lots of sunlight and dry soil, however, they can survive the winter months.

Brody Hall, Certified Horticulturist and co-founder at The Indoor Nursery said lavender is a “drought-tolerant plant” that can “survive most winters” without a lot of work.

He added: “However, in areas with severe winter weather, it is best to take some precautions to ensure your lavender plants survive the cold months.”

Here are five ways to winterise your lavender plant:

1. Check drainage

Lavenders, particularly those in pots and containers, can be prone to becoming water-logged which can lead to root rot and frost damage.

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Morris Hankinson, Managing Director of Hopes Grove Nurseries said lavenders dislike being “wet and waterlogged”.

English lavenders tend to be more hardy so can withstand frost but French, Spanish and Italian lavenders are not frost tolerant and will need to be transferred into pots and brought indoors.

When planting lavender, ensure the compost includes horticultural sharp sand or grit to ensure there is plenty of drainage.

The plants can also be planted on raised cushions of soil so the water has a chance to run off the plant.

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If in pots, put the container on feet so any excess water can easily drain out the pot.

2. Potted lavenders

Jamie Rae from Green Cottage Gardens said potted lavenders can be susceptible to “rot and decay” if they’re left outdoors in containers.

He suggested: “Keeping container lavender outdoors in heavy rains can make their roots susceptible to rot and decay, which will eventually kill the plant.

“A garage, shed or greenhouse is a perfect winter location for container growing lavender.”

3. Pruning

If in a cooler climate, some experts suggest pruning lavenders in the autumn months to allow them to conserve energy and “survive the winter”.

Those living in a warmer area will need to wait to prune their lavender until after winter.

4. Watering

Rather than regularly watering your lavender, the plant should be able to survive just through rainfall.

Lavender doesn’t mind being dry so regular rainfall should be enough, especially while the plant is dormant.

However, Lindsey Hyland, founder of UrbanOrganic Yield, said regardless of whether the plant is indoors or not, it needs about an inch of water each week.

She added: “Lavender needs about one inch of water per week during the winter, whether it’s rain or snowfall.”

5. Mulch

Lindsey also suggested mulching lavender with organic matter like straw, pine needles or leaves to insulate the roots and protect the plant from the colder temperatures.

Try and avoid heavier mulches like manure as this can hold too much water.

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