How to Grow Lavender: See What’s Need to Do First

There is something quite charming about lavender. Whether its purple flowers, the appealing scent, or its immense potential in DIY cooking and crafting, Lavender is perfect for your needs. However, to enjoy the best of Lavender, you don’t have to own a large number of resources such as land space. Even if most gardeners apply it is a living border or decorative shrub, you can also grow it as a herb. Once you get the steps right, you should be on your way to enjoying some of the best Lavender herbs in the world.

Lavender classifies as an evergreen herb, that often has purple flowers during the summer months, and silvery foliage. The plant is native to the Mediterranean, which makes it quite hardy and suitable for hot or wet areas.

Perhaps the single most crucial factor in growing lavender is to use well-drained soil, particularly during the winter months. However, if the ground has poor drainage, consider using large pots or raised surfaces. Also, consider using permatil, which helps to enhance soil drainage.

Before you can start a lavender garden, it's good to identify some key benefits of using the plant. Some of these benefits include:

Sleep Aid

Lavender mainly consists of linalyl acetate and linalool, which are phytochemicals that are crucial for body functions. They are easily absorbed in the body, which makes them ideal for people who have sleep issues. Furthermore, research has shown that these compounds also promote the performance of neurotransmitters in the body. Thus, a user might experience anxiolytic and sedative effects.

Wound healing

Lavender essential has exceptional antiseptic benefits. Using it on wounds can improve cell development, and also promote optimal healing. Furthermore, lavender has also been used to help reduce the occurrence of scars. The plant has also shown immense potential with its antibacterial properties, which help to prevent further re-infection.

Treating Burns

Lavender Oil has a well-documented history of effectively treating burns and scalds as well. Its pain-relieving properties, combined with its anti-inflammatory benefits. The best version of the plant to use would be the oil, which is sometimes produced through techniques such as cold pressing.

Basic Facts About Lavender

lavender plant
  • Botanical name and family – Lavandula species, which falls under the Lamiaceae – sage and mint category
  • Place of Origin – Mediterranean regions
  • The type of Plant – classifies as a perennial shrub
  • Growth zones zone 5 to 8
  • Hardiness – a Mediterranean plant, lavender is relatively hard and can survive in various types of outdoor environments.
  • Physical characteristics – it is a small shrub that grows on average between 25 to 32 inches tall
  • Flowers – the lavender flowers are primarily purple, with accompanying colours such as blue, pink and white
  • Leaves – needle-shaped greenish and grey leaves, with average-sized stem size

Varieties

On average, there are as many as 47 well-known species of lavender, with well over 400 varieties. More so, the many types of the plant also share different colours, including purple, pink, white and violet.

The common names for the French and English Lavender for specific species tend to be somewhat misleading. For instance, English Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia), is a plant-specific originated from the Pyrenees. That said, the French Lavenders are from many countries in the Mediterranean.

Among all the lavender categories, Angustifolia is believed to have the best fragrance and the best for preparing meals. Usually, they have green-grey leaves and are relatively small in size. Other species such as “Hidcote” and “Munstead” are also highly popular. That said, a recent study showed that the “Munstead” species were the hardiest of all lavender species.

Dentata, which is Latin for toothed, is also a hardy plant, which can survive both in arid and snowy conditions. On average, it grows tallest of all Lavender, species averaging at about 1.5m, thus making it ideal for hedges.

Growing Lavender from Cuttings or Seeds

growing lavender

The first step is to determine whether you will use seeds or cuttings for the garden. Both of these approaches have their merits and demerits. If you already have lavender plants, or perhaps know of someone with the plants, the cuttings are excellent.

Just a few years back, seeds from the same packet would often yield plants of different characteristics. However, advancements in gene technology have made it easy to produce a consistent number of plants, with similar physical characteristics. You can easily find lavender seeds from platforms such as Amazon or Burpee.

The ideal conditions for Lavender would warm settings, using a seed tray with some soil with exceptional ventilation. You should expect the seeds to sprout in about two weeks, whereby you should transfer the plants to place with optimal sunlight. Then, water the seeds and be keen for any development of mildew. Once the plants start developing leaves, you can transfer them to final pots.

When and Where to Plant Lavender

  • Light – you should place lavender in well-drained soil and optimal light for the best growth results. Lavender grows well in USDA zones 5 to 10 and depending on the type of lavender plant.
  • Soil – lavender plants grow on most moderately fertile soils, so you won’t have to fix the ground with compost or manure before the planting period. More so, lavender also grows well in neutrally alkaline soil. Consider using some lime to improve the soil Ph to around 7.9.
  • Spacing – depending on the type, consider placing lavender plants on average 1 to 4 feet apart. Having adequate space between the plants will also make it easy to put rose covers and mulch.
  • Spring planting – consider locations that are colder than zone 6, and plant during times such as early summer or in the spring.
  • Fall planting – consider planting lavender in locations that are warmer than zone 6. Furthermore, plant early in the fall to ensure the roots get established during the moist and cold winter weather.

Factors to Consider When Growing Lavender

  • Growth habit – lavender can grow into a round and bushy shrub, especially in warm climates. However, in colder climates such as snow prone areas, it grows as a lower perennial. Evaluate the types of plants growing to ensure they are mature enough.
  • Staking – on average, lavender plants grow between 1 to 3 feet tall, and might not require staking.
  • Watering – ensure that you water your plants correctly. Once grown, note that lavender is a hardy plant, and might not require watering. Overwatering is not good because it can promote the growth of mildew.
  • Fertilizing – similar to water, fertilizer should be applied in adequate amounts to ensure the best growth results. However, avoid applying using insecticides and pesticides with the fertilizer because this can compromise the plant growth.
  • Mulching – since lavender is a hardy plant, you won't need much to promote optimal soil moisture conservation. If you want to use mulch, consider the small-sized bark, and never let it pile next to the crown of the plant. Such an issue can easily cause the plant to experience rotting.

Trimming and Pruning

These are two crucial procedures in the process of planting herbs. Owning appropriate tools such as pruning shears, gloves and overall can improve your gardening capabilities. The flower stalks of lavender stalks can be harvested and used in various ways. Some people dry the stalks while others use them fresh. If you don’t want to collect the plants, then consider cutting off the overgrown blossoms. This way, you can encourage the plant to spruce up and promote the growth of other flowers.

Lavender is a woody plant. It often produces the most fragrant flowers and foliage, when the stems are still young. Thus, consider pruning 2-year-old plants during times such as spring, or perhaps slightly cutting the woody stems. Using this approach will encourage new plant growth, which in turn brings enhanced flowering and foliage.

End of Season Care for Lavender Plants

Pests and Diseases

Lavender often have brightly coloured purple flowers that are very fragrant. However, many pests such as wild deer or beetles tend to keep away from its leaves. In humid conditions, the fungus diseases and powdery mildew can easily compromise the growth of the plant. You can prevent fungal complications from occurring by ensuring that the plants are well spaced and have optimal air circulation. Using this approach will ensure the leaves stay dry, and are less likely to die off due to the fungus. 

Common pests such as whiteflies, spittlebugs and aphids might also attack your lavender garden as well. Consider using a stream of water to deter any insect activity on your lavender plants. Furthermore, you can use insecticidal products, which can kill the pests, without harming other beneficial forms of life. Remember, spraying early before the pests increase can be helpful.

Transplanting and dividing 

To propagate lavender, use cuttings that you get early in the summer. However, note that lavender does not survive well when it's divided. To produce cuttings, use a health branch, and cuttings of about 5 inches long. Then, remove the lower leaves, and place the cut end in some hormone powder, which you can prepare DIY. The next step is to put it in a pot with moistened soil, and also consider keeping it partly under the shade. 

Even more, another useful technique of planting lavender is through the layering approach. During spring, consider bending a health 8-inch-long, and lower lavender branch for the planting process. Remove the leaves that make contact with the ground, and make a scar on the branch in the contact spot using a sharp object. Then, clean the cut section of the plant using some rooting powder, and leave the remaining part of the branch sticking out from the ground. Done correctly, and this plant should root within a year.

How to Dry Lavender

Lavender is best used when it dried. The following are some tips to consider when drying lavender:

  • Harvest the stems when you observe the opening of the first blossoms
  • Issues such as mildew are avoidable when you harvest lavender on a dry and sunny day.
  • Cut each stem until you remain with a few sets of leaves
  • Make a bundle of close to 40 stems, and tie them together using a rubber band
  • Hang the plants upside down, and let them dry in a place away from the direct sun. The plants should be ready to use in 4 weeks

How to Prune Lavender

How does one prune lavender, and why is the process necessary? Ever come across the phrase “what does not kill you makes you stronger!” Pruning is a vital aspect of plant care because it promotes growth, longevity and plant strength. 

Lavender is famous for its unique fragrance, health benefits and anti-inflammatory capabilities in the body. Growing the plant is relatively easy, as well as maintaining optimal growth. Thus, as long as you can cut at the right time during the year, you will get a reasonable harvest. Consider the following tips for pruning lavender:

  • For the young plants, let the roots grow and then prune the newly grown roots in the first year to promote optimal growth. Also, it is highly recommended that you keep young plants from blooming until they reach the second year, to make the pruning process convenient.
  • For the average aged plants, you might have to consider heavy pruning to achieve the best results. You can cut as much as one-third of the plant. It is also the best time to cut the plant to improve airflow, and space through the blossoms.
  • For the mature plants, never hold back. If the pruning process started earlier on, then the plants are ready for a significant cut. Increased levels of pruning might reactivate the weak stems, thus making it easy to bloom and produce flowers.

Best Techniques for Pruning Lavender

There are various techniques used in pruning lavender. While there is no specific set of steps for the process, it’s always good to stay organized to achieve the best yield. Consider some of the following key steps in preparing the lavender yield:

Deadheading

You can perform some spring cleaning by eliminating any damaged or dead blooms from the lavender shrub. This process is best done during the summer, but you can also perform it as many times as required throughout the year.

Pruning

Place a bunch of shoots in your hands, then use pruning shears to cut back two-thirds of the plant. Also, cut a few nodes close to the woody section of the bush, but carefully enough to avoid damaging the entire plant.

Shaping

Shaping your lavender plant into a gumdrop shape can also go a long way in improving the growth rates of the plants. In fact, cutting the plant into a symmetrical shape will enhance the development of shoots in the coming season.

Positioning

Lavender plants thrive well in the sun. Thus, ensure that you put them in regions with adequate sunlight for the best growth results. That said, if you are dealing with the Spanish or English versions of the plant, then consider being cautious. Consider protecting the plants from issues such as moist or frost by moving them indoors.

Cutting

For those who are not aware, you can actually clone your lavender plants. Using cuttings from pruned plants, you can propagate a new and thriving lavender plant. Consider putting them all in a small pot, and then transplanting them to a soil bed for secondary growth.

How to Grow Lavender FAQs?

Q. What is the main tip when growing lavender?

A. Lavender is a hardy plant that needs sun and well-drained soil. The plant is likely to die from issues such as excessive moisture when compared to issues such as cold in snowy areas. A pot provides an excellent approach for keeping the plant drained. However, the plant might be vulnerable to issues such as freezing temperatures, as when compared to when its planted in the ground.

Q. Can I grow lavender in a container?

A. Yes. You can easily grow lavender in humid or moist places, and using a container is the best approach for keeping the plant drained. Even though lavender thrives well in arid areas, too much moisture can easily cause the plant to become prone to infection. Using plant care solutions such a terra cot with a unique potting mix is suitable. Furthermore, lavender grows well with soils of about 6.6 to 7.4 ph. A significant portion of potting soils tend to be acidic, thus, consider adding some lime to the ground. As far as fertilizing goes, consider using time-released granules or products that provide nitrogen.

Q. How is lavender likely to spread?

A. Lavender is a small tree that grows on average 20 to 25 inches tall. That said, the height range might include flower stalks, so when not in bloom, the foliage might not reach the foot height range. The spread rate of lavender does not exceed that of Oregano, Thyme and other herbs. The speed at which the plant also depends on growth factors as well. 

Q. Can I use lavender for cooking?

A. Yes. Lavender is an excellent condiment for various types of meals, including teas, desserts and more. When making desserts, lavender can be mixed with a liquid substance, to help in the release of the lavender oil fragrance. 

Q. My plants seem to flourish, but not flowering? What might be the problem?

A. Lavender is a perennial shrub that grows in many of the world’s regions. To ensure optimal growth, the plant should receive optimal drainage. However, if the potting mix is overly fertile, then the leaves and stems will grow from the plant, rather than flowers. Thus, ensure that you cut down on the amount of fertilizer used, mainly if it contains excessive levels of nitrogen. Also, consider using a bloom booster solution or stop the plant-feeding process completely.

Q. What is the best plant care approach for lavender plants during the cold months?

A. Lavender plants find it difficult to grow well, especially in places that experience high levels of water. Most gardeners prefer lavender because it is a perennial plant. Therefore, ensure that you plant lavender in a pot or a raised surface. With adequate drainage, the plants should be able to survive even in the harshest of weather conditions. When grown in a pot, the lavender might require some protection or shade, especially those that grow in zone 6.

Q. Can you splint one lavender into many components during the snow season?

A. No. Unlike herbs that might grow in several clumps with stems reaching above the ground, lavender is a wood plant and might not develop into a clump.

Q. What is the best care approach for lavender plants during winter?

A. Lavender plants are a challenge to grow in areas of high rainfall, particularly in winter. Many gardeners in the Southeast consider lavender an annual. Be sure to plant lavender in a pot, raised bed, or atop a retaining wall. Given sufficient drainage, plants will be winter hardy in zone 5 and areas that are warmer. If grown in a pot, lavender will need some protection during winter in zone 5 and areas that are colder.

Finally

Growing plants can be a great way to save on cash, access beneficial herbs or condiments and even as a leisure time activity. When it comes to growing lavender, there are various vital factors to consider if you want the best harvest. While the plant is relatively hardy and classifies a perennial shrub, issues such as excessive moisture can easily compromise its growth and development. Thus, get well-drained soil, a pot or a well-prepared garden for your batch of lavender.

Also, you can take your harvest to the next level by learning how to dry lavender and how to prune lavender plants. This way, you produce lavender that is suitable for cooking and human consumption. 

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