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How To Grow Lavender

Whether grown to line a pathway, fill summer pots or add to a wildlife-friendly border, lavender is a well-known and much-loved Mediterranean shrub which is highly versatile in the garden. Lavenders are available in hardy, half-hardy and tender short-lived varieties. The hardiest types tend to be English and hybrid lavenders, whilst French and Spanish varieties require a little more care over the winter to survive. All have a recognisable aromatic fragrance and will attract pollinators to your garden.

Most Lavender varieties have silvery-grey foliage, but some are more vibrant green. Flower colours range from whites and pinks to several shades of purples and mauve. Plants remain compact with light annual pruning and will reach an overall height and spread of 50-60cm.

Our guide will help you to get the absolute best from these wonderful shrubs.


Key Information

Position: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained, neutral to alkaline soil

Flowering Period: June-July

Hardiness: Hardy perennial

Where & When to Plant Lavender

 

Spring is the ideal time to plant Lavender when the soil is just starting to warm up which will allow your plants to settle in before they flower in early summer. Avoid planting in winter as young plants may rot in cold, wet ground. Lavender thrives in full sunshine, so be sure to pick a sunny spot for your plants where you will enjoy their scent. Bear in mind the overall height and spread of your chosen variety when you choose a location for your plants.

How To Plant Lavender

 

1.

Dig a hole for your plant twice as deep and wide as the pot it arrived in. Lavender plants prefer poor soil and do best in neutral to alkaline soil types. If your soil is heavy clay, then add plenty of drainage to the planting holes in the form of coarse grit.

2.

Loosen your plant from its pot and place in the planting hole at the same depth as it sat in its pot.

3.

Fill around the edges with loose soil and firm in around the base of the plant before watering well. Water plants once or twice a week for the first few weeks until they are settled. Lavender do not like to sit in wet earth and should not need watering once established unless in periods of drought.

4.

Lavender can also be grown in pots of peat-free loam-based compost or soil. Ensure the pot is large enough to accommodate your lavender as it matures, has large drainage holes, and add plenty of crocks and grit to the bottom of the pot. Pot grown plants will require additional watering in dry periods.

What To Plant With Lavender

It is no wonder sun-loving lavenders have been adored by gardeners for centuries. These adaptable shrubs pair well with many other plants in summer and their strong scent is said to deter aphids. Lavender, therefore, makes an excellent companion plant to garden roses providing a beautiful lower storey to a rose-bed, and interest at the base of a wall or fence below climbing varieties.

Please contact our excellent Customer Care Team if you would like any help or planting tips for your Lavender. Below are a few ideas to help get you started



How To Care For Lavender

 Pruning & Deadheading

 

Trimming off the faded blooms will encourage a second flush of flowers later in summer. Once flowering has finished in late summer, prune all flower spikes and the tips (2-3cm) of the foliage. Try not to cut back into older, woody stems as the plant may not produce new growth from this area.

 Watering

 

Lavender demand little attention once established. They do not require feeding as they prefer soil which is low in nutrients and are very drought tolerant.

 Cold Protection

 

If you are growing tender varieties of lavender in pots, then your plants should be brought into a sheltered position, ideally a greenhouse, for protection over winter.

 Pests & Diseases

 

It is well known that lavender is susceptible to relatively few pests and diseases – they are far more likely to suffer as a result of overwatering than anything else! However, there are some you should keep an eye open for just in case. Alfa Mosaic Virus will cause leaves to yellow and contort, it is a virus that is spread by handling and by insects. Plants are unlikely to recover and should be destroyed (preferably by burning). The same goes for Lavender Shab, which is a fungus that will destroy the plant and spread quickly to others, so the wisest treatment is to destroy the infected plant in order to prevent its spread. Pests are relatively few and the one you are most likely to spot is contained in ‘cuckoo spit’ and is known as the spittlebug or froghopper. It will not really harm the plant but if you find it unsightly then wash it off with the hose – remembering not to overwater as a consequence. Rosemary beetle, a beautifully striped, iridescent culprit, will eat the lavender plant itself and is now widespread throughout England and Wales. They should not consume enough the kill the plant but they can make it unsightly so a proprietary spray may be needed if you choose to treat it.

How To Propagate Lavender

 

1.

Softwood, or semi-ripe cuttings are best taken in summer. Choose non-flowering shoots which are 8-10cm long and remove them from the plant either with a sharp knife or by pulling gently, taking a piece of the tougher stem (heel) with it.

2.

Strip the leaves off from the bottom half of the cuttings.

3.

Fill a small pot with a mix of loam-based compost and grit and place your cuttings in the soil around the edge of the pot. Do not sink the cuttings in any deeper than the leaves. Water the pot lightly and cover with a clear plastic bag to retain humidity. Place the pot in a warm, sunny spot and the cuttings should root within 4 weeks.

4.

Once rooted, you can pot each cutting on into individual pots to grow on. Plants grown from cuttings will be identical to the parent plant.

Lavender can also be grown from seed. Bought or harvested seed can be sown from early spring until mid-summer. Sow seeds onto the surface of seed compost and cover with a layer of vermiculite, or a thin layer of sieved compost. Water the seed tray well and cover with a clear plastic bag. A temperature of 21-25°C is required for germination, so a propagator, or sunny windowsill is the best spot if it is early in the season. Germination should occur within 2-4 weeks after which time the clear bag can be removed and once large enough to handle, the seedlings can be pricked out and grown on in individual pots. Plants grown from seed may not match the parent plant.

Common Lavender Questions

Can lavender grow in shade?

Lavender needs full sun for most of the day, so needs to be planted in a sunny spot. They will not grow well, if at all, in shade.

Can lavender survive winter?

Although lavender is easy to grow, its ability to survive winter depends on the variety. If you intend to leave plants out over winter, choose an English lavender or one of its hybrids as these are the hardiest types.

Can lavender grow in a pot?

Yes, lavender can be grown in pots, although the eventual size of the plant would be restricted by the pot size..

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