How To Plant lavender

General Introduction

Lavender is a bushy, strong-scented perennial plant from the Mediterranean. In warmer regions, its gray to green foliage stays evergreen throughout the year. Here’s how to plant and grow lavender in your garden!

Prized for its fragrance, medicinal properties, and beautiful color, lavender is a valued plant across the world. It also attracts pollinators to the garden.

Planting

  • Lavender is best planted as a young plant in the spring as the soil is warming up.
  • If planting in the fall, use larger, more established plants to ensure survival through the winter.
  • Lavender thrives in most soil qualities, from poor to moderately fertile.
  • If you have compacted or clay soil, add some organic matter to improve drainage. Learn more about soil amendments and preparing soil for planting.
  • Keep away from wet, moist areas, which could encourage root rot.
  • Plant lavender 2 to 3 feet apart. Plants typically reach between 1 and 3 feet in height.

Care

  • Add mulch (rock or pea gravel work particularly well) to keep weeds to a minimum. Keep the mulch away from the crown of the lavender plant, however, to prevent excess moisture and root rot.
  • Water once or twice a week after planting until plants are established. Water mature plants every two to three weeks until buds form, then once or twice weekly until harvest.
  • In colder growing areas, plants may need extra winter protection. Cover the plants with a winter mulch of evergreen boughs or straw, which will block freezing winds and temperatures.  Another option for cold areas is to grow lavender in a pot, keeping it outdoors in the summer and indoors in winter. While indoors, place the pot in a south-facing window with as much light as possible. Water sparingly, as the plant will be dormant at this time.
  • Another option for cold areas is to grow lavender in a pot, keeping it outdoors in the summer and indoors in winter. While indoors, place the pot in a south-facing window with as much light as possible. Water sparingly, as the plant will be dormant at this time.
  • Prune established plants in the spring when green leaves start to emerge from the base of the plant. Remove approximately one third of the top.

Pests/Diseases

  • Fungal diseases, in humid climates
  • Root rot due to excess water (look for yellowing leaves as a sign of overwatering)

Harvest/Storage

  • Harvest the lavender stems when approximately half of the flower buds have opened.
  • Harvest in the morning hours when the oils are the most concentrated.
  • Cut stems as long as possible. Gather into bundles and secure them with rubber bands.
  • Dry the bundles of lavender in a cool, dark place where there is good air circulation.
  • Use your lavender to make lavender sachets—a lovely gift!

Recommended Varieties

  • English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is hardy to Zone 5 and there are hundreds of varieties available in many colors and sizes. It often blooms twice in one season. ‘Hidcote’: Compact, silver-gray foliage, deep purple flowers. ‘Munstead’: Compact, green foliage, violet-blue flowers.
  • ‘Hidcote’: Compact, silver-gray foliage, deep purple flowers.
  • ‘Munstead’: Compact, green foliage, violet-blue flowers.
  • Lavandins (L. x intermedia)—a hybrid of English and Portuguese lavender (L. latifolia)—are generally larger plants that bloom only once, later in the summer. ‘Phenomenal’: Vigorous variety that is highly tolerant of heat and humidity and resistant to common root and foliar diseases. Long flower spikes. ‘Provence’: Vigorous, long-stemmed variety, very fragrant.
  • ‘Phenomenal’: Vigorous variety that is highly tolerant of heat and humidity and resistant to common root and foliar diseases. Long flower spikes.
  • ‘Provence’: Vigorous, long-stemmed variety, very fragrant.
  • Spanish lavender (L. stoechas) and French or fringed lavender (L. dentata) are typically only winter-hardy in Zones 7 to 9.

Wit & Wisdom

  • Lavender oil scent is used for calming, and to induce sleep. Its first documented use was by the Romans in 77 A.D. for repelling insects and soothing insect bites.
  • Learn more about the benefits of lavender!

Recipes

  • Lavender Scones
  • Lavender Shortbread Cookies
  • Lavender and Herb-Encrusted Slow-Roasted Leg of Lamb
  • Honey-Lavender Syrup

How To Plant lavender

Botanical NameLavandula angustifolia
Plant TypeHerb
Sun ExposureFull Sun
Soil Type
Soil pHNeutral
Bloom TimeSummer
Flower ColorBlue, Pink, Purple, White
Hardiness Zones5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Special FeaturesAttracts Butterflies

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