Lavender is one of the most beautiful flowers you can grow. It's native to the Mediterranean area and has a long history that goes all the way back to the Old World. It has a sweet fragrance and it's a very popular perennial herb that's used in a variety of ways for gardening and landscaping. It's also used in alternative medicine as well.
It's usually grouped into four different subgeneras, each with a large number of hybrids that have been created for different conditions all over the world. These include Lavandula angustifolia (or "true lavender"), Lavandula dentata (Spanish hybrids), Lavandula stoechas (French hybrids), and Lavandula multifida (Egyptian or fernleaf). Egyptian is a very tough variety and you'll find it doesn't need a lot of care throughout the growing season.
Lavender is low-maintenance, drought-resistant, and because it has very strong oils it's useful in keeping away pests.
How To Pick The Correct Type By Planting Zone
Lavender loves heat, needs lots of space, hates too much water, and needs lean soil. It originally comes from a climate similar to France or Spain. So keep in mind that cold or humid weather is not great for growing it. If you're in a southern state where summers are hot and long, you'll have to give your lavender slight shade when the day is the hottest. You'll also need to help with air circulation by making sure you plant your flowers with plenty of space between them. If there is a lot of humidity in your area, you'll have to ensure maximum air circulation in order to prevent disease. It's also important to make sure the soil has proper drainage because lavender doesn't like too make water. A good variety for a southern region is dentata or stoechas.
If you're in a colder region in the north you may have to plant your lavender in planters so you can bring them in during the winter. Angustifolia is a good hybrid to plant in a colder region.
Regardless of the type you plant, remember to give them plenty of space. A good rule of thumb is to plant them as far apart as they will grow tall. Some varieties grow taller than others, so make sure to check how tall they'll get before you plant them.
Drainage Is Super Important
Find a place with well-drained soil or add a layer of gravel to help with water drainage. Some other great places to consider planting lavender include raised flower beds, containers, and flower pots.
Don't Forget About Soil
Lavender needs alkaline soil. If the soil isn't alkaline, your plants won't thrive. If it's too acidic you can easily correct the issue. All you need to do is add half a cup of a lime and bone meal mixture to the soil. Do this every year to encourage strong growth in your plants. Lavender reaches its full peak after three years.
How To Prune Your Lavender Plants
It's important to prune your flowers because it slows down the growth of woody stems and encourages the plants to create new foliage. They should be pruned right after they flower and then again at the end of summer. This will help prevent damage in the winter and will increase flower blossoms in the following year. If you have a very woody plant, try pruning lightly throughout the season.
How To Harvest
If you're interested in harvesting your lavender here are some tips. Cut the plant above the beginning of the woody stem and then let it dry out for about two weeks. You can bundle the branches together and add them to a flower bouquet if you'd like. Or you can strip the flowers off and create a fragrant potpourri or even use them in baking. The essential oil in lavender has some medicinal properties and has been used for centuries as an antiseptic. Many people also believe that it can help with relaxation and stress relief.
Now you know how to grow this beautiful plant. It can take a lot of work but it isn't too complicated if you take the time to learn the proper techniques to ensure that your flowers thrive. So no matter where you live you can bring the beauty of lavender flowers into your life.
Sunset.com. Your Guide to Planting, Care, and Harvesting Lavender. Accessed at https://www.sunset.com/garden/flowers-plants/guide-planting-care-harvesting-lavender on June 6, 2018.
HGTV.com. 10 Tips For Growing Lavender. Accessed at https://www.hgtv.com/outdoors/flowers-and-plants/herbs/10-tips-for-growing-lavender on June 6, 2018.