This is the first year I grew garden sage (one has long and thin leaves, the other one has fat big leaves), rosemary, lavender, Russian sage, anise hyssop, false indigo, and wormwoood. They all are on the ground. Will they survive Kentucky winter? Which one do I need to dig up and move into the house and when?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hi, Mel: I hope you have enjoyed gardening this season. As I am sure you have found it can be quite addicting. So, let’s start with the plants that are without a doubt considered perennials in your Kentucky garden. Russian sage (Pervoskia atriplicifolia), false indigo (Baptisia australis), anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum), and wormwood (Artemisia) are all sun-loving perennials that should be left in the ground. You can prune back your hyssop and baptisia this time of year and your Russian sage as well, but you can also wait until late February or early March to cut the Russian sage back since it has a nice silvery foliage throughout the winter months. As for your herbs, it is going to depend on which variety you are growing. Most culinary sage is hardy but the ornamental sage, also known as salvia, may or may not be hardy. There are three hardy varieties of lavender we can grow in Kentucky: ‘Munstead,’ ‘Hidcote,’ and ‘Provence’ can all be left in the garden. They demand full sun and extremely well-drained soil. There is only one variety of rosemary that is reliably hardy for us and it is called ‘Arp.’ All other rosemary should be brought indoors to over-winter. Hopefully you still have your grower’s tags but if not you can take the chance of leaving them outdoors to see how they do or bring them all in to make sure you do not lose them. Indoors you will want to place them in a south-facingwindow or any space that has adequate light. You will want to cut back on your watering and be careful not to over water. It is not necessary to fertilize during the winter months. Next spring after the frost-free date passes (around May 10) you can take them back outdoors and enjoy them for another season.