Today, we will discuss how to grow lavender. Lavender is a group of 47 species, and their uses can vary widely. Lavandula angustifolia is the type that is used in teas for medicinal purposes. Others are used for their striking color. Depending on the variety, lavender can reach 3 to 4 feet in height. Lavender is one of my favorite plants for these reasons. It’s both functional and beautiful, and will make a great addition to any landscape!
How to Grow Lavender
When picking out the variety of lavender you will grow, research which type grows well in your region. In the south, where the environment is more humid, you might try Spanish Lavender. In the north, you would want to look for varieties that tolerate the cold better. You may have to bring the plants in during the winter if it gets too cold.
Lavender needs to be set out with 12 – 18 inches apart from one another. The plants absolutely love sunlight, so full sun is necessary. When preparing the soil, you need to ensure that the soil drains well. This is really important since lavender cannot tolerate soil that holds a lot of moisture. Lavender also prefers slightly alkaline soil, between 6.7 and 7.3 pH. If your soil is acidic, then you can add a bit of lime to help adjust the pH level.
When watering, you need to ensure that you do not over water the lavender. An inch a week is plenty. Also, before watering, you may want to feel the soil and make sure it needs the watering. I cannot stress this point enough, since most people over water the plant. Additionally, you may utilize small stones or sand to help the soil drain more efficiently. Avoid mulch. Mulch holds in moisture and promotes fungal growth.
During the spring and fall, prune the plants back by about a third. This will help to promote growth, in addition to maintaining proper airflow to keep the plants dry. If you choose to harvest your lavender, you can do so at any time during the flowering season. The key, however, is to only harvest about a third of the stems from the plant. This is to avoid cutting too much from the plant which can inhibit growth. A popular way to dry the stems involves taking bundles of stems and hanging them upside down in a dark and dry place. Lastly, you can skip fertilizing the plants as lavender is sensitive to over fertilization.
Lavender is very drought tolerant and easy to take care of once established. ‘Munstead’ Lavender is also a companion plant for roses as well. Just with roses, you can dead head the lavender to keep the flowers blooming. You can even use both the rose and lavender blooms for potpourri.
Lavender is a truly beautiful and useful plant. They can make an excellent addition as a hedge or to provide some color to your landscaping. I use quite a bit of lavender for various things, but one of my favorite uses for lavender is teas. I wrote another article a short time ago about some Lavender Earl Grey that is simply amazing.
If you would like to read other gardening articles, feel free to browse my gardening section.