Lavender In The Garden: Information And Growing Lavender Tips
By: Nikki Tilley, Author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is a commonly grown herb plant popular for its fragrant aroma. This easy-care plant enjoys hot, dry conditions, making it suitable for use in a variety of landscape settings and an excellent candidate for areas prone to drought. Keep reading to learn more about lavender plant care.
How to Grow Lavender in the Garden
As lavender seeds are slow to germinate, purchasing seedling plants is the most reliable way to grow this plant. Growing lavender plants is an easy endeavor provided you give them what they need. Although lavender can tolerate a variety of growing conditions, this plant thrives best under warm, sunny conditions in well-drained soil. In addition, an alkaline soil rich in organic matter can encourage higher plant oil production, enhancing the fragrance in lavender plants.
As lavender is native to arid regions, the plant will not tolerate moist or overly wet conditions, therefore, it’s important to consider location when growing lavender plants. They should be located in areas with adequate drainage and spaced far enough apart to ensure good air circulation. This will help reduce the chance of developing root rot.
Lavender Plant Care
Once established, lavender plants require little care or maintenance. While they should be watered regularly early on, established plants need little water, as they are extremely drought tolerant.
Regular pruning not only keeps lavender plants neat looking in appearance, but also helps to encourage new growth. Low-growing varieties can be cut back to the new growth while larger types can be pruned to about a third of their overall height.
Generally, lavender plants take up to a year or more before they are ready for harvesting. However, once they are ready, it’s best to harvest the plants early in the day, picking flower spikes that haven’t fully opened yet. Bundle the plants up and hang upside down in a dry, dark area for about one to two weeks.
How to Grow Lavender Indoors
Growing lavender plants indoors is no different from out in the garden. However, when growing lavender inside, make sure that the plants receive plenty of light and warm temperatures. Water only when the plants are significantly dry and do not fertilize.
We hope that after reading these growing tips, lavender will make it into your garden. Once you know how to grow lavender, you can enjoy these fragrant plants for years to come.
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How to Grow Lavender
- Watering: Water lavender regularly until it becomes established then water when the soil becomes dry to an inch deep. Do not overwater.
- Feeding: Side-dress plants with compost tea every two months. Feed lavender a slow-release organic fertilizer each spring as growth starts.
- Mulching: Place a light mulch of aged compost around lavender in hot summer regions.
- Care: Removing spent blooms will spur new blooms. Trim back foliage after blooming to shape the plant. Prune plants back by half in spring remove dead wood and shape the plant. If you prune old wood, it will not regrow. Plants can weaken over 5 years or so and new ones can be started from cuttings in summer. Rejuvenate the soil with aged compost or aged manure before planting new plants.
- Container growing: Choose a container at least 8 inches deep and wide larger is better if you are growing lavender as a decorative perennial.
- Winter growing: Protect plants in cold winter regions by heaping straw up around plants remove the straw in spring. Indoors grow lavender in a bright window. Do not overwater lavender growing in pots.
- Seed: Lavender seeds do not always produce plants identical to the mother plant. Seeds can be sown indoors or outdoors in late spring. Seeds should be stratified for 1 to 2 weeks. Germination can sometimes be slow cuttings may be a faster way to start new plants. Cuttings are a better way to grow an identical plant.
- Cuttings: Lavender can be propagated by cuttings that are 3 to 4 inches long strip away the lower leaves then dip the bare stem end in a rooting hormone and place in light potting soil bottom heat will encourage rooting.
There many varieties and cultivars of Lavandula here are a few:
- English lavender (L. angustifolia) Grows to 36 inches tall and wide narrow gray leaves about 2 inches long with smooth margins pinkish-purple flowers atop slender, leafless stems about 24 inches long. ‘Munstead’ is a dwarf to 18 inches tall with deep lavender-blue flowers. ‘Hidcote’ grow to 1 foot tall has purple flowers. ‘Jean Davis’ has pale pink flowers.
- French lavender ( L. dentate) grows to 3 feet high and has bright green leaves with square toothed edges. Flowers are lavender-purple on short blunt clusters, each topped with a tuft of petal-like bracts long-blooming.
- Spanish lavender ( L, stoechas) grows 18 to 36 inches tall, has short and narrow gray leaves. Flowers are dark purled growing in short flower spikes topped with a tuft of large purple petal-like bracts blooms in early summer. A cultivar of Spanish lavender is ‘Otto Quast’ which has showy purple bracts.
- Hybrid lavenders (L. x intermedia) are crosses between English lavenders and Spike lavender ( L. latifolia)—which is a large English lavender. Hybrids include ‘Provence’ which is highly aromatic with pinkish lavender blossoms and ‘Grosso’ which is a compact plant with deep purple flowers.