How to Care for Lavender Plants?
Lavenders are very popular because of their fragrant flowers and aromatic foliage. The flowers’ color can be purple (which is the most popular), blue, pink and white. Lavenders’ foliage is silver-grey or grey-green and these are evergreen.
Lavenders can be used in cooking, for essential oils and it is used in medicine and cosmetics because of its calming effect.
These plants are beloved by humans but also by bees and butterflies.
This is article will introduce you to the basics of how to care for lavender plants.
Size & Growth
Lavenders are bushy aromatic herbaceous perennial plants. These add vibrant color and strong scents to the spaces where are grown.
Lavender bushes usually grow to the same heights and widths: 20”-24”/ 51-61 cm. Therefore, these are often planted in masses as hedges or as companion flowers.
Lavenders are not long-lived plants. Even if you are caring for them perfectly, these will live, in the best conditions, for around a decade.
In about 10 years these will decline and will bloom less, so you should propagate them or plant new lavenders instead of the old ones.
Lavenders grown from seeds usually take between 2 and 5 years to get to maturity size. The seeds germinate in two weeks or more and the seedlings can be transplanted after several months.
After transplanting, lavenders will flower in the second or third year and will grow several inches per year.
When transplanting the lavender seedlings, make sure you leave enough space between them because these will become bushy. Leaving enough space between them ensures better airflow and prevents mold and rotting.
Lavenders grow best in full sunlight. They will not survive if you plant them in shady gardens.
Full sunlight ensures lots of buds and big bushes.
If your lavender plant is in a shady spot, expect a growth stunt and fewer flowers. However, you can transplant it to a sunnier spot to enjoy its full potential.
New lavender plants should be watered regularly during their first summer, especially when they are grown in a container.
When the plants grow in the ground and are established properly you don’t have to water them as often because these can grow well in dry soil.
Lavenders grown in containers need more watering than those which are grown in the ground. Containers can dry out quickly and the lavenders’ roots have limited space and soil to absorb water from.
Lavenders grown in containers should be kept in a greenhouse during the winter, or in the rain shadow at the base of a wall. This will protect the plant from too much rain; therefore, the plant can tolerate the cold weather.
Lavenders like well-drained soil. If the soil is too wet, the plant will end up dying quickly because it cannot stand too much water.
If you grow it in a container you should mix the potting soil with some sand. This makes the water easier to drain.
Lavender especially loves chalky, alkaline soil. This type of soil boosts your lavenders’ fragrance as well.
Temperature & Humidity
If you live in a cold and humid area and you want to grow lavenders, you should be aware that these plants are not doing well in cold, but more than this hates humidity.
As I mentioned earlier, lavenders are drought-tolerant plants. And this means they are actually asking for it. If the soil is too wet, their roots will rot, and the plant will die soon.
You can protect your lavenders from high humidity during the summer by planting them in a sunny location and leaving enough space between the plants. This will ensure enough airflow to prevent rotting.
During winter, if the lavender is in a container, you should move it indoors. However, if you don’t want to do this, you can put it next to a brick wall or a stone. This will protect the pant from the cold.
If your lavender grows in the ground and the winters are harsh in your area, then you can transplant it next to a brick wall which can provide extra heat to your plant.
When you plant your lavenders, it is advised to give them a little boost by fertilizing the soil straight after planting. Or you can put some compost in the hole where you will plant the lavender.
But lavenders don’t need fertilizing in general. So, if you don’t add any fertilizer when planting, this will not cause problems either.
In fact, fertilizing can compromise the overall potency of your lavenders.
Potting and Repotting
Lavenders do well in pots as well. If you live in a cold area, you can plant the lavender in pots and move around in the garden or backyard to follow the sun. During the winter you can also put it indoors, so it will be protected from the cold.
Lavenders have large and spreading roots, but it still likes smaller pots. Large pots can retain too much water and can lead to root rotting.
So, a pot in which can fit the lavender’s root ball plus a few inches as a spare room will be enough for your plant.
It is important that, when you pot or repot a lavender, you chose a pot that has plenty of drain holes. You have to ensure proper drainage for the lavender because, as I stated above, too much water in the soil can kill the plant.
To help the water to evaporate from the soil you can also use terracotta or clay pots. These will absorb from the water.
Using well-draining soil will also help the excess water drain from the pot. However, remember that potted lavenders should be watered more frequently than the lavenders which are growing in the ground.
How to Propagate Lavender?
Lavenders are easy to propagate. You can collect seeds from the seed heads in late summer. These seeds should be kept during the winter and sown in spring. But you should remember that the seeds from cultivars usually produce plants that vary from the original plants.
You can also propagate lavenders by taking softwood or semi-ripe cutting from your lavender plants. This should be done in early summer or mid-summer.
In late autumn, after flowering, you can take hardwood cutting from new flushes of growth. Lavender plants propagated from cuttings will be identical to the original plant.
Lavenders are easy to grow, however, they still need some caring.
Lavenders love the heat and full sunlight, so you should plant them in the sunniest spot in your garden. They don’t need much watering unless they grow in containers.
A well-draining soil is a must for lavenders, as these hates being in a wet and damp environment.
If you take care of your lavenders properly you can enjoy their wonderful blooms and scent for like 10 years. After that, you should replace them because blooming will significantly decline.