Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > January 2017 > BONNIE'S GARDEN--Rosemary and Lavender

BONNIE'S GARDEN--Rosemary and Lavender

After all the winter weather—and extra cold temperatures—we had not long ago, the thought suddenly occurred to me that I had forgotten to give a couple of my little more tender herbs some extra protection.  Yes, I lost my rosemary—again.  And I just talked to a regular customer and we commiserated—she lost hers, and her lavender, too.
So for those of you who lost yours, I understand.  And here is a little overview of some of the more commonly found varieties—for those of you who have to replace yours—like me!
Barbeque—good culinary variety; straight and sturdy stems make excellent barbeque skewers.  It is borderline hardy here so plant in a protected area outside and consider covering on nights where temperatures drop below the mid-teens.
Prostratus—a pretty trailing rosemary for hanging baskets or for hanging over the edge of a window box.  It has fragrant dark green leaves and grows fast.  It is only hardy to zone 8 but is a fast enough grower to make it worth growing here for the summer.
Salem—Upright rounded shape with lots of small blue flowers in early spring.  Grows 2 to 3 feet tall.  Best with some winter protection.
Tuscan Blue—One of the tallest varieties, up to six feet.  Pretty glossy foliage and early spring flowers.  Good fragrance.  Best with winter protection.
Arp—One of the most winter-hardy varieties of rosemary with silver-green foliage and bright blue spring flowers.  Good fragrance. Grows to around 4 foot tall.
Hill Hardy—brighter green foliage than Arp with profuse spring flowers.  Grows 3 to 4 feet tall.  Along with Arp, fairly winter-hardy here.
Provence-fairly winter-hardy.  Leaves and flowers highly aromatic.  12 to 18 inches tall and wide with pale lavender/blue flowers mid-summer.
Hidcote—a traditional English lavender; 12 to 18 inches tall with rich blue summer flowers.
Munstead—another durable English lavender with pretty silver-green foliage and lavender/blue summer flowers.
Phenomenol—grows up to 3 feet tall.  Somewhat less prone to winter die-back than some lavenders. Somewhat more tolerant of our summer humidity than some.
Silver Edge—a sport of a traditional English lavender having silver margins on the foliage. 
French—French lavenders have pretty slightly scalloped foliage with large showier earlier flowers than English lavenders; however they are less winter-hardy.
Grosso—A somewhat globular growing species with an intense fragrance.  Somewhat more humidity tolerant.
One of the biggest challenges rosemary and lavenders face here over winter is that even the most winter hardy varieties will NOT tolerate cold AND wet so planting in well-drained soil is a must. Both rosemary and lavender need full sun and prefer slightly alkaline soil.
I have had best results growing lavender in a container over the winter—pulling it to a somewhat protected area (right up next to my house, under the overhang—which has the advantage of keeping it drier as well.)  And, yes, my lavender made it over this latest 5 degree night—it was the container-grown rosemary that I meant to wrap (rosemary is a few degrees less hardy.)  
Posted: 1/16/2017 by Bonnie Pega | with 2 comment(s)
Filed under: bonnies, garden, lavender, rosemary
c. dickson
Thank you for so much good information. My daughter and I are doing our first herb garden this spring and will keep in mind the drainage issue as our soil is red, red clay.
1/23/2017 11:08:30 AM

Martha Polkey
I've had success overwintering both rosemary and lavender planted on the southeastern side of my house (on a southern slope). It is protected from the worst of the winds, and the good drainage helps too, especially in our Virginia clay.
1/19/2017 10:48:39 AM

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