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Before last winter, I was paranoid about getting my ginger lilies – especially 'Tara' – through the winter. Then the cold and snow arrived before I had chance to cover the plants. After –14C in January, I thought they'd all be dead.... but they all came back and 'Tara' was better than ever.... Should I cover them this winter? What do you think?
ginger lilies, (Hedichium) do vary in hardiness. Cultivars from species that naturally grow at high elevations are likely to survive our winters best. I think that 'Tara' came from a Nepalese plant. Many plants in the UK fail to come through winter as a result of the damp as much as the cold. There is a theory that a blanket of snow does a good job of keeping damp away from plants and protecting them. As for mulching, the nursery folk do generally recommend this and I would follow their advice, as long as you don't get damp, sticky mulch stuck in the crown of the plant. We may get a damp and cold winter that is actually more damaging than the last. However, you've already had great success with growing these, so exercising your own judgment has worked well so far!
The hedychiums outside are well mulched for the winter in the Bristol Botanic Garden but they also have to be netted against mice when they emerge in the spring. Mice seem to love them. The more tender species are in the greenhouses in large pots.