How To Grow Lavender

Written by: Lars Nyman

Growing Lavender

Growing Lavender

Lavender is a flowering shrub in the mint family, with fragrant flowers and foliage. It is a popular aromatic herb used in many forms of traditional medicine, cooking, and cosmetics. The essential oil is said to have calming, healing, and antiseptic properties, and is used in a variety of ways in herbal remedies. The plant has also been used by perfumers since antiquity due to its strong and pleasant aroma. Lavender is found in many parts of the world, with a wide range of plants and cultivars available.

Lavender Growing Cheatsheet

Choose the Right Location

๐ŸŒž Full sun exposure

๐Ÿ’ง Well-draining soil

Planting

๐ŸŒฑ Start from seed or transplant

๐Ÿ“ Space plants 12-18 inches apart

Watering

๐Ÿšฟ Water deeply but infrequently

๐Ÿ’ง Once a week in hot weather

Pruning

โœ‚๏ธ Trim after flowering

๐ŸŒฟ Prune to 1/3 height

Harvesting

โœ‚๏ธ Cut when flowers are in bud

๐ŸŒธ Harvest early morning

Uses

๐Ÿ’†โ€โ™€๏ธ Essential oils for relaxation

๐Ÿต Culinary ingredient in teas and dishes

๐ŸŒธ Dried flowers for decorative purposes

Health Benefits

๐ŸŒก๏ธ Reduces anxiety & stress levels

๐Ÿคง Relieves headaches & migraines

๐Ÿ’ค Promotes restful sleep

Sustainability

๐Ÿ’š Attracts pollinators to your garden

๐Ÿ Supports the bee population

๐ŸŒ Low water requirements

Growing Lavender: Choosing the Right Variety

Lavender comes in several varieties, but English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is a personal favorite for its fragrance and hardiness.

French and Spanish lavenders are excellent options for warmer, arid climates.

โ€œUnderstanding your local climate and soil type is crucial when selecting a lavender variety.โ€

I've tried planting French lavender in my colder garden, but it struggled. Stick to varieties that thrive in your specific conditions for best results.

Growing Lavender: Optimal Planting Conditions

Plant lavender in well-draining soil. They hate having 'wet feet.'

Sandy or rocky soils work best, mimicking their Mediterranean origins. If your soil is heavy, consider raising your beds or adding plenty of grit.

โ€œPoor drainage is often the number one killer of lavender plants.โ€

Full sun is essential. Aim for 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily. Lavenders thrive in sunbaked soils and intense light.

Space your plants about 2-3 feet apart. They need good air circulation to avoid mildew and other diseases.

Growing Lavender: Planting Techniques

Spring or early summer is the perfect time for planting lavender. Soil temperatures are warmer, giving the plants a good start.

Dig a hole twice the width of the root ball but no deeper. This gives roots room to expand horizontally and helps with stability.

  1. Remove the plant from its pot and gently tease out the roots.
  2. Place it in the hole, ensuring the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface.
  3. Backfill with soil, firming it gently around the base.

Watering Lavender

Water immediately after planting to help the roots establish. But after that, go light on the watering.

Once established, lavender is drought-resistant. Let the soil dry out between waterings.

โ€œLavender prefers to be kept on the drier side. Over-watering is a common mistake.โ€

Water earlier in the day when the sun can help dry the foliage. This minimizes the risk of fungal diseases.

Pruning Lavender

Prune annually, usually in late summer after the main blooming period. This encourages strong growth and helps maintain a tidy shape.

Trim back about one-third of the plant's height. Avoid cutting into the woody part of the plant, as those areas are slow to regenerate.

โ€œProper pruning increases air circulation and reduces the risk of disease.โ€

In my garden, a good yearly haircut keeps lavenders lush and blooming profusely year after year.

Harvesting Lavender

For the best fragrance and oil, harvest lavender in the morning.

Choose stems where about half the buds have opened. This stage is perfect for maximizing both scent and beauty.

  1. Cut the stems as long as possible, gathering into small bundles.
  2. Hang them upside down in a cool, dark, well-ventilated area to dry.

Dried lavender is a lovely addition to sachets, wreaths, or even culinary dishes.

Success in growing lavender comes down to mimicking its natural environment and providing the conditions it loves: sunshine, well-drained soil, and a bit of disciplined neglect. Happy planting, and may your garden be filled with the delightful aroma of thriving lavender!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. When should I plant lavender?

Plant lavender in the spring after the last frost or in early fall.

2. Where should I plant lavender?

Choose a location with full sun and well-drained soil.

3. How often should I water lavender?

Water lavender deeply once a week, allowing the soil to dry between watering.

4. How do I prune lavender?

Prune lavender in early spring to promote a bushy and compact shape. Trim one-third of the plant.

5. How can I prevent lavender from dying in winter?

Protect lavender from winter moisture by planting it in raised beds or containers. Mulch around the base to insulate roots.

6. Can lavender be grown indoors?

Yes, you can grow lavender indoors in a sunny window or under grow lights. Ensure good air circulation.

7. How often should I fertilize lavender?

Fertilize lavender once a year in early spring with a low-nitrogen, organic fertilizer.

8. Are there any pests or diseases that affect lavender?

Lavender is generally resistant to pests and diseases. Watch out for aphids and root rot in poorly drained soil.

Lavender is a great herb to add to any garden for its numerous health and therapeutic benefits. Lavender has powerful antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties which make it helpful in treating skin irritation and wounds. It has also been used to ease anxiety, insomnia, depression and stress. Moreover, lavender is an aesthetically pleasing plant with a pleasant smell that many find pleasant to have around the home. consequently, growing lavender can be a rewarding experience as well as a great natural remedy.

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