Few seasoned gardeners can resist the urge for growing lavender, but even a novice can do it. The basic procedures are as follows.
Where to Plant Lavender
There are many lavender variants and each will have some specific requirements. But almost all of them can tolerate a variety of planting conditions. But the ones that have access to full sunlight and well drained soil is most ideal.
Use lean soil; this will encourage the production of more oil. The alkaline and chalky soil will add to its scent.
Planting the Seeds
Add a generous amount of compost before planting it. When you are growing lavender, watering it consistently during the first year is necessary. It’s true that this plant is very durable, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care for it. Watering it once a week will be sufficient.
Proper Care and Maintenance
The worst enemy of lavender is dampness, not the cold. This can happen with wet roots in the winter or high humidity during summertime. You can prevent this problem by spacing the plants well. You can also prevent dampness by exposing the plants to sunlight.
Never plant lavender in ground that tends to freeze. If the area freezes and thaws, add mulch after the first freeze. Those who are growing lavender should also be wary of strong winds. You can provide shelter by planting it adjacent to a rock wall. This also helps absorbs excessive heat.
Picking off the flowers helps in pruning the flowers. However a spring pruning is a good idea. It encourages growth of more flowers. It also keeps the plant in good shape. The taller ones can be chopped up to a third of their height. For smaller types, just cut back a couple of inches.
Do not cut off leaves if the plant is afflicted by winter die-back. Wait until some greens emerge at the bottom first. More to the point; do not mess with the plants during the early part of the season.
Growing Lavender in Pots
It’s possible to plant lavenders in containers. Although its roots are large, they like tight places. An added advantage is that you can move it indoors during the winter. The pot size should leave a couple of inches to spare for the plant. Don’t use very large pots because it will cause dampness.
The pot must have lots of drainage. Put some loose gravel at the bottom so water doesn’t stagnate. A loose mix is ideal. Water it when the soil is dry (not the plant). You should spray the water at the bottom, so the leaves don’t get soaked.
The compact types (i.e., Spanish lavender and Nana Alba) are best suited for pots. Other types you can grow are the French and English lavenders. Bear in mind that each variant have different water requirements. Some are also less aromatic than others.
Growing lavender is easy enough and it is very durable. It is beautiful, fragrant and it can be used in a variety of recipes as well. No wonder then that it is so popular.