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How to Grow Lavender

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Lavender is a beautiful, fragrant herb that is perfect for any garden. Growing lavender is easy and only requires a few simple steps, as long as you get started the right way. This article has all the details on how to grow lavender at home, from the ideal lavender growing conditions to ongoing maintenance.

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A gardener growing lavender in a garden.
Growing lavender.

Growing lavender at home

You may be wondering, is lavender easy to grow? The answer is yes! Once you have an established plant, lavender is very easy to grow. However, getting an established plant can be the tricky part.

Lavender seeds are slow to germinate, so growing lavender plants at home from seed is generally not recommended, especially if you are new to gardening.

For this reason, we usually recommend growing lavender from seedlings. Lavender seedlings should be available from your local garden center or plant nursery for a relatively low cost.

This approach will save you a lot of time in the long run!

Lavender growing conditions

Like most plants, your success in growing lavender plants at home depends on which varieties you select to grow and what kind of growing conditions you can provide. 

Climate

Lavender is relatively hardy and can tolerate a range of climates. Still, growing lavender is best under warm, full sun conditions. 

Most lavenders are hardy through USDA zones 5a to 9a.

Soil

Soil conditions will affect essential oil production. So, if you want higher essential oil production to enhance the fragrance of your lavender plant, then you need to take care to get the soil conditions right. 

Lavender plants prefer well-draining alkaline soil, which is rich in organic matter.

Dig in some organic matter ahead of planting out your seedlings to improve the quality of the soil.

Moisture

Lavender is native to arid regions, and will not tolerate moist or overly wet conditions.

Too much moisture, either from high humidity in the summer or wet roots during the winter months, is often responsible for killing lavender plants. 

Lavender plants should be located in a location with adequate drainage and where they are spaced far enough apart to ensure there is good air circulation between the plants. This will help to avoid them developing root rot. 

You can improve the drainage of the soils by digging some coarse sand or perlite into the soil before planting your lavender.

Where to plant lavender

For the best success in growing lavender at home, it is essential to choose the right location in your garden for it to grow.

Since lavender is native to arid regions, it prefers full sun and is sensitive to too much moisture.

Choose an area that gets a lot of direct sunlight, with well-draining soils.

How to plant lavender

The best times to plant lavender seedlings into your garden are early in the morning or late in the day. This ensures that the plants aren’t exposed to the hot sun straight away. 

Always water plants well before and after planting.

Lavender plants are tough and highly drought resistant. However, to give them a good start during their first growing season, it is good to give them a handful of compost and keep them regularly watered.

Lavender plant care

Once established, lavender plants require little care or maintenance.

Watering and feeding

As lavender plants are highly drought-tolerant, they only need little water. 

Lavender is a low-maintenance plant and does not need to be fertilized regularly. However, it will benefit from being fertilized in spring to ensure your lavender grows to its full potential.

Pruning

Lavender plants may be regularly pruned simply by harvesting the flowers, however, regular spring pruning is still recommended. This is not only to keep your lavender looking tidy but also helps to encourage new growth.

Low-growing lavender plant varieties can be cut back to the new growth while larger growing lavender plant types can be pruned to about a third of their overall height.

Don’t prune the plant early in spring if you live in an area where lavender suffers some winter die-back. Wait until you see some new green growth at the base of the plant. It is not good to disturb the lavender plants too soon in the season.

Harvesting

Generally, the time from planting out your lavender seedlings until the plant is hardy enough for harvesting will take up to one year (or more).

The best time for harvesting lavender plants is early in the day. Pick flower spikes that haven’t fully opened yet for lavender flowers with the best fragrance.

Bundle the harvested plants up and hang upside down in a dry and dark area for about 1-2 weeks.

Lavender growing tips

  1. Growing lavender from seed can be tricky, so it’s best to start with seedlings if you can.
  2. Plant in the spring.
  3. Pick a sunny spot in your garden that has well-draining soil.
  4. Amend your soil with coarse sand or perlite to improve drainage if needed.
  5. When planting, set the plants 18 inches apart to give them room to spread.
  6. Lavender is an especially drought-tolerant plant, so don’t overwater it. Water plants regularly, especially during dry spells, but don’t allow the soil to become waterlogged.
  7. To keep your lavender plant looking its best, prune it back after it blooms.
  8. Apply a light layer of mulch in the winter to protect it from the cold weather.
  9. Harvest lavender flowers regularly for bouquets and potpourris, and enjoy the lovely scent of lavender in your home or garden.

Final thoughts

Overall, growing lavender is not difficult, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

Full sun, well-drained soil, and moderate watering are key to success. Be sure to give your plants enough room to grow, and don’t forget to deadhead regularly to encourage new growth.

With a little bit of care, you’ll be rewarded with beautiful blossoms and a lovely fragrance that will fill your garden for years to come.


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