Does Lavender Prefer Full Sun or Shade?
Lavender is a plant that is native to the western Mediterranean region, such as Italy, Spain and France. Therefore, lavender loves heat and hates water.
Lavender needs full sun to ensure strong and healthy growth and to enhance the blooming. If you live in a cold and humid climate, growing lavender needs some extra patience and love. You should grow it in a pot, so you can bring it inside during the winter. Also, you must choose the right variety for you. Not all lavender will survive in a cold climate.
In this article I will talk about how much sun lavender need, when does the shade is needed, and how to help it through the winter.
How Many Hours of Sun Does Lavender Need?
Lavender grows best in full sun, so this should be planted in a place where it gets at least 6+ hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight every day. However, don’t get panicked if some days the sun is not shining constantly for at least 6 hours, this doesn’t have to be continuous.
We can say that your lavender gets full sun if this gets at least three hours of sun in the morning and another three in the afternoon. That would be enough for your lavender plant to survive. If it gets more direct sunlight, will benefit the plant.
If your garden or backyard is shady, you can trim back the trees or any other bushes that are keeping your lavender in shade.
Another way to boost the sunlight in your garden is to use light colored or even better, white-colored rocks, mulch or fence. The white color will reflect the sunlight to your lavender.
If your lavender is planted in a pot, you can move it around your land during the day. This can help the plant to get the needed amount of sunlight.
Will Lavender Survive in Shade?
Unfortunately, your lavender, if planted in shade, will not survive. As I stated above, lavender need at least 6 hours of full sun every day.
Therefore, if this receives less than 6 hours of direct sunlight, this will produce fewer flowers, will be weaker in its fragrance and will not grow well. My experience is that all lavenders will die in full shade.
One of the biggest problems when growing lavender in shade is that the soil cannot dry out quickly enough. Earlier I said that lavender hates water. These plants prefer well-draining soil, which dries out quickly and if this grows in a shady place, the soil will stay damp, leading to root rot.
However, some varieties can tolerate partial shade. I will talk about them later in the article.
Will Lavender Flower in Shade?
Growing lavender in full shade will lead to a complete failure, however, some lavender can survive in shadier places.
But these will be stunted in growth and the full blooming period is compromised. Lavender grown in the partial shade cannot flower as much as in the full sun, and the fragrance is less pronounced as well.
If you want to grow lavender for its flowers and aroma, you should grow it in a sunny place with very little or no shade.
Shade – Tolerant Lavender Varieties
As I said earlier, lavender grows best in full sun and well-drained soil, however, some varieties can tolerate some partial shade and survives if it gets less direct sunlight.
– English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
English lavender grows best in direct sunlight, but this is the varieties that can best tolerate the low light as well.
If grown in the full, unfiltered sun, this can reach a height of 20 inches and a width of 24 inches. In partial shade, English lavender will never reach its full size, however, do not overwater, as the soil cannot dry out as quick as in full sun.
The fragrance of the English lavender is weaker and the blooming is less if grown in shady places, but at least you can enjoy some lavender flowers even if your backyard is not the brightest one.
– Other Shade – Tolerant Species
French Lavender (Lavandula dentata), French lace Lavender (Lavandula multifida) and Spanish Lavender (Lavandula stoechas) are the varieties that can tolerate some minimal shade. But not as much shade as the English Lavender.
These also grow best in full sun, but some shade is not killing them. However, these varieties will not grow to their biggest size either if are not grown in a sunny place.
Does Lavender Need Sunlight in Winter?
English Lavender varieties are the only ones which can survive in colder climate if left outside for winter. The other species are not hardy enough to endure the snow and ice.
However, lavender needs to get enough sunlight in every climate even during the winter.
So, if you live in a cold climate and your lavender grows in a somewhat shady place, then you should transplant it to a sunny part of your garden, or into a pot, which can be brought indoors.
Lavender needs lots of direct and unfiltered sunlight to thrive. These plants grow and bloom best if they get at least 6 hours of sunlight every day, however, some varieties are hardy enough to tolerate some shade as well.
In full shade, your lavender most likely will die because the soil is usually damp all the time. Lavender hates water; therefore, soil that is always wet, leads to root rot and this is what really kills the plant.
However, if you have a shady landscape, you can still grow English Lavender. This variety is the best in tolerating some shade, from all the varieties.