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French tarragon - getting it though the winter

DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,246

Hi, I have a small (one year old) French tarragon plant in my herb garden.  It's on the south side of a trellis fence inhabited by a grape vine.  The garden is East-south east facing and fairly well sheltered.  Shall I leave the tarragon where it is and protect it with fleece, or shall I pot it up and put it in the mini-greenhouse which I plan to insulate with bubblewrap, or .... what do you suggest?

I did take some cuttings earlier, but they didn't take, as I forgot to instruct the under-gardener in their care when I slipped a disc a few weeks ago!

“I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh


  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,731

    Dividing is better than cuttings, Dove. Late winter or early spring is best. French Tarragon is unknown here in Italy despite it sometimes turning up in Sienese cooking. In fact it's supposed to have originated in Siena. Anyway, the only way we can get plants is to have friends bring them from Australia stuffed in a tennis ball tube with the roots wrapped in wet tissue paper.

    Don't know what your winters are like but if it doesn't get too freezing cold you can cut it back and cover it with fleece or mulch. It will come back. It's so rare and prized here that I keep it in a pot. In winter it's wrapped in bubble wrap and fleece under cover.

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,567

    I had French tarragon growing for years in a thick ceramic pot outside in a sheltered south facing spot.   It survived severe winters with and without snow blankets but did not survive the nasty frost last spring when everything was pumping sap and in the mood to grow.  Lost loads of stuff to that.

    Your tarragon should be fine outside as long as it's in a well drained and sheltered spot.  I have now bought a new one from the herb section in the local supermarket but will be keeping it on my kitchen window sill for the winter and then trying it outside next spring after the worst of teh cold is over.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,731

    FT also has a finite life. They lose their energy and flavour after four or five years. Dividing every couple of years keeps the supply going.

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