Learn how to grow lavender and discover the different ways you can enjoy this fragrant plant.
In this article:
- Growing Lavender
- When to Grow Lavender
- Lavender Varieties
- Difference Between English and French Lavender
- How to Grow Lavender From Seeds
- Growing Lavender From Cuttings
- How to Grow Lavender in Pots
- Growing Lavender Indoors
- Lavender Plant Care
- What to Do When Lavender Shrubs Become Woody
- Preventing Woody Lavender
- Pruning Lavender
- How to Properly Apply Fertilizer
- Drying Lavender
- Making Oil From Lavender
How to Grow Lavender | Growing and Caring for Your Plant
Want to learn how to grow lavender? Who wouldn’t, when lavender is such a versatile plant?
It can be grown in a flower garden, an herb garden, or as an indoor plant in pots or containers. Lavender is used in cooking, can be dried, extracted for its essential oil, and even used as a pest repellent.
Growing lavender is relatively easy but every garden and homeowner has different needs.
So I’ve put up this complete growing guide for you to have a better idea of whether to grow in pots or directly on the ground or grow from lavender seeds or cuttings. You’ll find this guide helpful in learning how to properly care for the plant in the growing process.
Growing a herb garden isn’t complete without the perennial lavender, although I grow mine in my flower garden as a backdrop for shorter flowers. I do this simply for its wonderful aroma making my garden all the more therapeutic and relaxing.
Since lavender is a perennial plant, you can grow it once and you’ll have lavender for a long time. I’ve been keeping a few for some years now and have enjoyed it for so long.
As you are aware, lavender is used in a lot of products from food to health and body care. But I tell you, nothing beats the natural scent and the essential oil from the actual plant you’ve grown.
When to Grow Lavender
You can grow lavender any time after the spring frost but the best time to grow it would be in the cool fall season. Fall is perfect for growing this temperate perennial to establish the plant before winter.
An established lavender plant in fall and winter blooms by the following early spring or summer.
Grow lavender at least two months before the first frost for late summer or fall planting. This will give the plant time to settle the roots before the frost.
Lavender is an old world plant which has 39 known species and dozens of subspecies or varieties. Research is important when selecting a variety suited to your needs.
There are dwarf varieties perfect for growing in pots or small gardens, like the Little Lottie.
When growing for its essential oil, the Grosso variety, which is an English lavender, would be best. For culinary uses, the Buena Vista variety (which is another English lavender) is perfect.
Although lavender is a temperate herb, it would be best to pick one that is native to your area for growing.
Difference Between English and French Lavender
Lavenders are a great garden and house plants but they’re not all the same. You’ve probably heard about English and French lavenders.
English lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) is more suitable for gardens and containers, which is why it’s cultivated more. French lavender (Lavendula dentata) on the other hand, are not commonly cultivated.
English lavenders are hardier and can tolerate cold winters while French lavender can’t.
In terms of flowering, French lavender has a longer bloom time and continues to produce beautiful purple flowers that begin in spring and all throughout the summer. English lavender is known for the strong scent we’re all looking for in a lavender plant.
How to Grow Lavender From Seeds
Growing lavender from seeds will require patience since it takes some time for you to enjoy a full-grown plant. It can be tricky too but it’s fulfilling to watch lavender grow from seeds.
You can save money from buying full-grown plants too.
Prepare your seeds three months before sowing. You have to let your seeds undergo a process requiring them to be refrigerated in a plastic bag with moist moss.
You can also use grow lights to speed up germination.
Lavender grown from seeds is ready for transplant once the roots have filled out the pot or cell. Lavender seedlings in a seedling tray need to be transplanted to a larger pot first before planting directly on the ground.
Allow the seedlings to grow in a larger pot first, to develop more roots.
Growing Lavender From Cuttings
Lavender can be propagated from cuttings too. In fact, successfully rooted lavender cuttings grow faster than when grown from seeds.
However, it can be a bit tricky so carefully follow this guide:
- Choose healthy-looking side shoots from a fully grown lavender.
- Pull the side shoots gently taking a small bark with it, then twist to separate from the plant.
- Take off leaves from the lower half of the stem.
- Then, soak the base of the shoots in warm water.
- Fill a pot with peat-free compost and with perlite or nutshells at the base for increased drainage.
- Poke a hole in the middle of the soil and insert the cutting.
- Pat the soil down gently in the base of the plant to take out air pockets.
How to Grow Lavender in Pots
Growing lavender in containers is so easy, you can grow it with your eyes closed. However, it’s important you use potting soil for growing in containers.
Adding perlite will greatly help with drainage.
- Dig a hole in the center of the soil a bit bigger than the lavender’s root ball.
- Gently squeeze the lavender from its pot.
- Place the lavender plant in the hole covering the base or root line with soil.
Watch the full video from Burpee Gardens to grow your lavender in containers at home:
After the growing part, we now go to plant care, more tips for expert growing, and how lavender can be used in different ways. Explore the versatility of lavender as you continue reading.
Growing Lavender Indoors
Lavender plants are more suitable to grow and prefer warmer climates like the hot Mediterranean, where they grow wild and are found almost everywhere.
Growing lavender indoors is basically the same as growing them outdoors. Make sure your indoor lavender garden is warm and that they receive ample light.
Water the plants only when they’re considerably dry and avoid using fertilizer in the growing process.
Pick the right variety for growing lavender indoors in the dwarf and tame varieties. You don’t want a forest full of lavender indoors, no matter how sweet-smelling it is.
Lavender Plant Care
This amazing herb grows even in inferior soil and arid areas. In the Mediterranean, it grows perfectly at home in sandy and gravelly soil.
It is important to know lavender thrives in full sun.
Watering is important in the first stage of growth until roots are established. Once settled, lavender does with occasional watering since it is drought-tolerant.
You can lay white pebbles around the base of potted lavender plants. It served as both a decoration and as a sun reflector for the plant.
What to Do When Lavender Shrubs Become Woody
The bright, fragrant flowers of lavender shrubs can live up to more than 20 years. Even so, this plant can start to become woody after six years and lose a lot of its sweet-scented blossoms, replacing them with dead wood.
That doesn’t mean it’s time to give up. You should know its previous glory can be restored and this is where pruning woody stems comes into action.
Preventing Woody Lavender
You can prevent your lavender plants from becoming woody with cultural care and appropriate planting. Controlled fertilizer and proper drainage are important for lavender to maintain its fragrant blooms.
Apply light fertilizer during the first year while planting in well-drained soil. After the first year, ease up on fertilizers and perform light pruning.
Without pruning, lavender is more likely to grow woody, messy, and less fragrant flowers. The brown branches are usually found at the base of the lavender.
Take them off only when they’re really dead. You can’t stimulate the woody parts of the plant.
When pruning the branches, do it gradually without reaching the brown wood. Don’t trim the entire plant at one time.
Make sure the plant still has green leaves after the pruning is done.
Pruning is done in the second year since the first year is devoted to setting the roots and producing flowers.
If your lavender plant needs restoring from its woody appearance, bear in mind this takes a few years to complete. Remember that excessive pruning is never advisable.
For fall pruning, make sure not to cut all the way to the woody base. This will create strain in the plant and the frost will kill it.
Remove the top portion of the plant for culinary uses or for extracting oils. Find out more about the latter below.
How to Properly Apply Fertilizer
Yes, I understand it has been mentioned above that you don’t need to frequently apply fertilizer for lavender plants, but it doesn’t mean it’s totally out of the equation. It’s just that heavy fertilizing can cause it to stop flowering.
Do it right then you’ll reap the rewards of growing a beautiful lavender shrub. Springtime is the best time to fertilize the plant, or at the start of the growing season.
An effective way is to place about an inch of fine compost around the plant, which provides enough nutrients in the succeeding months. As an alternative, slow-release fertilizer is another option in small amounts.
Remember that too much fertilizer can hurt your precious plant so avoid fertilizing it in the fall.
Making Oil From Lavender
Lavender is a well-loved herb for the essential oil extracted from the plant. The scent is an all too familiar aroma used in soaps, moisturizers, perfumes, bath and body products, and more.
The essential oil extracted from the lavender has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. You can make your own lavender oil at home.
Watch this video from WaysAndHow to make your own lavender essential oils:
Who wouldn’t want to grow lavender with all its benefits and wonders? The sweet scent alone is sought after for its many uses in the household.
Plant lavender if you want a sturdy and lovely hedge to your lawn and for a delicious aroma in your garden.
Want homemade aromatic products such as soap and lotion? Extract natural oil from your homegrown lavender.
Grow this well-rounded hardy perennial herb and learn how to grow lavender in this complete growing guide.
What lavender growing ideas were helpful to you? I sure am glad I’ve been of assistance. Do share your thoughts in the comment section below.
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Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.