Rosemary & Lavender question

CornerCottage(4)November 12, 2013

Hi Ya'll, I'm new here, this is my 1st post on Garden Web and wasn't sure where to ask this question. I live in WI and have been a long time organic gardener but this year I put in an herb garden, the first time up in this zone. I grew, with wonderful results, everything in a raised bed, except my 2 Rosemary plants. They were only a few inches tall so I put each one in an old metal sap bucket, I was afraid the other plants would "overwhelm" them do to their size. They are now about 2 1/2 feet tall and really nice and full. I have brought them into the house in fear of losing them over the winter here, the label said hardy to zone 7 and I'm zone 4. Also, I purchased a Lavender plant, type unknown, on clearance last month. I kept it potted up, gave it lots of TLC and it's doing really well but I also brought it in the house when a hard freeze was in the forecast. My question is...did I do the right thing by bringing these potted herbs inside? I have them in my spare bedroom where it stays cool, in a south facing window. Does anyone have anything to add about how to over-winter these 2 herbs? I truly appreciate any input ya'll may have for me. Thank you.

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balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)

You were correct in bringing your rosemary inside if you wanted to keep it. However, rosemary is a pretty picky potted plant, that has very specific needs, mostly related to drainage in the soil. You'll want to be very careful not to overwater over the winter--check the soil with a finger or get a water meter. With the cool temps, it won't be growing as much, and therefore not need as much water. Do some forum searching on rosemary and you'll see lots about keeping it in pots.

You're also on the chilly side for lavender. Some of the newer hardy varieties can go to zone 5, but you're probably a bit too cold. It has very similar requirements to the rosemary--watch your watering and soil drainage.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 11:22PM
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scents_from_heaven(z9b Orlando FL)

I know with rosemary you have to place it in a southern exposure window but it requires 6 hours of sunlight per day and in your zone that will be difficult so you may need to help it out by utilizing a grow light. It is best to keep the temperature around 50-60 degrees F and do not water more than once or twice a month unless the sir in your house if extremely dry. Mine stays out year round and fends for itself. It is approximately 5' tall and 5-6' wide. It is taking over everything and is four years old.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 1:57AM
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Thank you both very much for your responses and tips. I will keep them both (rosemary and lavender) located in the window I have them in, where it's cool, but a grow light is a good idea...our winters here are dreary. There is good drainage in my pots but I'll be more careful on the watering. With that said, I'll cross my fingers and hope for the best, they're at least worth trying to save.

Thanks again for your help.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 6:45AM
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When we lived in WI(z3/4), I tried to grow lavender. I did manage to get some to survive in the ground(actually a very large raised bed) by giving it shelter in the form of small pine branches piled over it. I can't remember which cultivar, but I purchased it at a local nursery(Dragonfly, I think). We moved to a different apartment building and the tenents where we moved from pulled up the lavender thinking it was a weed the next spring before I could go back and dig it up. I never tried rosemary as I knew I wouldn't be able to bring it in(to a too warm apartment) for the winter. Chives, oregano, catnip and thyme survived the winters just fine.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 5:08PM
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