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You Already Replied Me Once; However, I Forgot To Ask…

Mel Asked

You already replied me once; however, I forgot to ask how often I need to water my herbs during the winter. This is the first year I grew garden sage, rosemary, lavender, Russian sage, anise hyssop, false indigo, and wormwoood. They all are on the ground and I will mulch them. Is 1 inch mulching thick enough?

The Gardener’s Answer

Hi again, Mel: As the seasons change so do the light levels and temperatures. During the colder months of the year the light levels are at their lowest as well as the air and soil temperatures. For these reasons it is not necessary to water our plants during this time. They go dormant and do not require additional moisture like they do during the warmer months while they are actively growing. At this point they have stored up the nutrients they need and it is time to put them to bed for the winter. They will receive additional moisture from Mother Nature in the form of snow and rain (hopefully no ice) during the winter as well. All the plants you mentioned are herbaceous but if you have any evergreens it is important they do not go into the winter months with dry soil. Because they retain their foliage, if they do not have sufficient moisture before the winter arrives it can make them more susceptible to winter burn/damage. As far as mulching your perennials the general rule is not to apply any more than 2 inches thick. Any thicker will actually encourage insect and disease problems. There are many different mulches to choose from and the choice is more of a personal preference in terms of aesthetics, but keep in mind that some are dyed with chemicals and others are not. The dyed ones will bleed and eventually lose their color.

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