How to Grow Lavender: The Guide
Here on Celtic Farm we grow a large field of beautiful lavender, and the harvest has become one of our favorite events each year. We have learned quite a bit from our experience, and have outline a Guide for Planting and Growing Lavender below.
Lavender is an excellent and hardy perennial flower that attracts butterflies, bees, and other pollinators to your garden. This Mediterranean native is now cultivated, developed, and adored worldwide and used as a cut flower, for its scent and essential oils. It can be planted within or alongside your herb garden, in a perennial flower border, or in pots to experience their beauty and amazing scent. Follow our “Planting Lavender” plant guide and you’ll be amazed how quickly this amazing plant will prosper in your yard!
Planting Lavender: The Basics
Required Light Exposure: Lavender grows best in full sun and well-drained soil. Afternoon shade may help them = in extremely hot summer areas.
Soil: Lavender grows best in low to moderately rich soils, so don’t add organic matter to the soil before planting. Lavender thrives on soils that are neutral to slightly alkaline. Add lime to elevate the soil pH to roughly 7.0; for optimal results, we recommend doing a basic soil test.
Spacing: Plants should be spaced 1 to 3 feet apart, depending on the variety.
Planting Time: We recommend planting in spring or early summer in places cooler than Zone 6 (Zone 6-1). We recommend planting in early fall in locations warmer than zone 6 (7-10), so the roots can grow throughout the chilly, damp winter conditions.
Step-by-Step Instructions for Planting Lavender
- Begin with healthy plants that have established root systems. Be very careful on your source of lavender as there are some nasty root pathogens that can kill your plants and spread throughout your garden.
- Dig a hole twice as deep and twice as broad as the root ball of your lavender plant. When planting numerous plants, you can amend/modify the soil in each planting hole individually, or you can amend the entire bed before planting. Prepare a well-draining soil mix in a container by blending gravel or sand with dirt as lavender despises wet roots.
- If the roots are circling or stuck to the pot’s sides, roughen them up around the perimeter to stimulate outward expansion and development.
- Plant your lavender with the root ball top flush with the soil line. Backfill the soil around the plant and tamp it down.
- Apply water to the soil to make sure your plant gets a head start. Only water your Lavender in the coming weeks if both the plant and the overall circumstances in your garden are extremely dry. Remember that lavender prefers fast-draining soil and does not like “wet feet” or standing water, which can cause root rot and plant demise.
Some Tips for Lavender Plant Success
Staking: Lavender plants grow 1 to 3 feet tall and broad and do not need to be staked.
Watering: Avoid overhead watering! Lavender plants will split and crack if watered from above. Give young plants plenty of water. Lavender is drought resistant once established and mature and does not require frequent watering. Overwatering is a typical cause of lavender plant stress and plant demise.
Fertilizing: We don’t fertilize our lavender and it grows spectacularly well. When it comes to fertilizer, like with watering, less is more with lavender. Your lavender plants should not require feeding.
Mulching: Except in exceptional circumstances, lavender should not require mulch to preserve soil moisture because it is drought resistant. We mulch with light colored pea gravel to keep the plants warm and encourage oil production.
Pruning and harvesting: If you can manage, the first year you plant lavender, a hard prune before it flowers will focus growth on the root system and core. You will have a plant that roars back in year two with an amazing bloom. We harvest our plants in late spring and late summer, but we have a very warm climate here in the California foothills. At the end of the season we do a hard prune to put the plants to sleep for fall. When pruning, ensure not to cut back to the hardwood.
Just some quick thoughts for you in this lavender planting 101 guide.