Lavender, also known as Lavandula angustifolia, is a herb and a perennial plant known for being a great plant for attracting pollinators. It first originated in the Mediterranean, and now it has grown worldwide.
Most gardeners grow lavender plants because of their culinary features and beautiful smell. Also, it can make a good border for your garden, and since it is a perennial plant, it can provide you with various colors from early summer to the end of fall. It has green foliage throughout its growing period. However, the flowers change their colors. The standard colors include purple, blue, white, and pink.
For those looking to grow lavender plants, this article will guide you through the process and help you choose the best variety to grow in your region.
Common varieties of Lavender plant
Before you grow lavender plants, you must know the different varieties available in the market. These varieties have features that make them unique. So, let’s look at the types you can choose for your garden.
French Lavender — Its botanical name is L. dentata. It grows best in early summer to fall in areas with a hardiness zone of 8 to 11. The lavender plant’s growing features include light purple flowers and fine, narrow green leaves. The scent from the flowers is less than that of English lavender, however, the fresh leaves are more fragrant with a rosemary-like solid scent.
English lavender —- Its botanical name is L. angustifolia. It grows well in cool areas with zones of 5 to 8. It can grow in cold-hardy conditions because it has low camphor content. The best blooming time is June to August. The flowers grow into different colors like lavender, deep blue-purple, light pink, and white.
Spanish lavender — its botanical name is L. stoechas. It is different from the rest because of its pineapple-shaped blooms (bunny ears) that grow from the flower spike. To grow lavender plants, ensure you plant them in late summer and a zone of 8 to 11. It grows to 18 to 24 inches and produces deep purple flowers.
Lavandin — its botanical name is L. intermedia. It’s a hybrid derived from English and Portuguese lavender. So, both varieties’ cold and heat tolerance are combined to create this variety. It blooms mid to late summer in areas with hardiness zones of 5 to 11. Its flowers are highly fragrant. Unlike the others, it’s not edible because of the high camphor content in the flowers and foliage.
Conditions required for lavender plant’s growing.
To grow lavender plants, you need access to full sunlight, especially if you want to attract pollinators to your garden. After receiving hot sunlight in the summer, you can provide them with an afternoon shade to let them cool for a while.
The plant grows in soils that don’t have organic matter, known as lean soil. This soil encourages the plant to have a higher contraction of oils that provide good smells. So, if you decide to use fertilizer for lavender plant’s growing, ensure you limit the amount.
Use well-drained soil, and add sand if you are using potting soil. Ensure the soil is alkaline with a pH of above 7. A lower pH value reduces the life of the lavender plant.
The Lavender plant is drought-tolerant. However, regularly water it during the first growing stages so it can mature. After it’s matured, it can go for longer periods without water. Giving it excess water will lead to root rot and fungal diseases attacking the plant.
Temperature and humidity
Lavender is a hardy plant that can grow in various temperatures. The condition that kills lavender is dampness, even more than cold temperatures. Dampness results from overwatering, winter conditions, or high humidity in the summer.
To prevent humidity from killing your plants, give them enough spacing during planting to ensure proper air circulation. Also, ensure they are in a sunny area during summer. Plant them next to a wall for winter conditions to provide extra heat. You can apply mulch to maximize the heat from the ground.
Pruning is not ideal because you regularly harvest the flowers once they are ready. However, it’s best to prune extra leaves during spring to encourage new growth and keep the plant clean and well-shaped.
Reduce the height by an inch or two, depending on the plant variety. If you have strong winter in your area, don’t prune until you see fresh growth from the base of the plant. If you prune too early, they won’t develop new growth.
How to grow lavender plants
Following the growing conditions for a lavender plant, it’s time to start planting.
How to plant lavender plant
You can grow lavender plants from seeds or starter plants. Since starting from seeds is difficult, we recommend purchasing starter plants from a local nursery. Or, if you have an existing plant, take a softwood cutting.
If you decide to start from seeds, plant them indoors. This may take them up to three months to germinate. After germination, overwinter the seedlings indoors in cool climatic conditions.
On the other hand, plant the cuttings 2 to 3 feet apart in well-draining soil. Add mulch to prevent weeds from growing. You can use rock or pea gravel to keep the weeds away. Ensure the temperature is at least 15 degrees Celsius when planting them. If you are planting in winter, ensure the plant is more established to handle the winter conditions.
How to care for lavender plant
Caring for the plant means giving it water, pruning, weeding, and keeping it clean and fresh. Water it twice a week when it’s growing until the buds form, then start watering it once a week until it is ready for harvest.
Cover the roots with mulch during winter to protect them from the cold. Another option is to move the plant indoors if it’s in a container.
How to harvest lavender plants
Check the flower and leaves to see if it is ready for harvesting. The best time to harvest the plant is the morning hours when the oils in the flowers are concentrated.
Cut off stems using a sharp knife. Make sure you cut them when the buds are open and cut them as long as possible. Gather the stems together and tie them with a rubber band in bundles. Dry the bundles in a cool, dark room with proper air circulation.
After the flowers are dry, shake them gently into a lidded jar. Then store them in a cool, dark place. You can use the dried flowers to make lavender sachets that produce a sweet scent.