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Growing Lavender


Having trouble growing Lavender?  This page should help.

The biggest killer of lavender are root-rotting funguses. The ideal condition for these diseases is high humidity and wet soils.  If you live in a humid area, like here in the Midwest or the Southeast, give your plants as much air circulation as possible. Don’t crowd them in and don’t try growing a lavender border with plants spaced tightly. If one plant catches a disease, it will run right down the row. If using mulches, avoid dense organics that will hold lots of moisture.  Pea gravel or river stones will drain water away quickly.  Cocoa shells are also a good choice if not piled too deep.  Don't use grass clippings!

Where to plant:

Choose a sunny, open area for planting. Good soil drainage is crucial. If the soil stays soggy for more than 4 hours after a rainfall, work 2 inches of coarse sand into the
top 8 to 10 inches of the soil. Avoid planting lavender near fences, trees (Especially Walnut), buildings or any place where the free flow of air is impeded.  If you have heavy clay that drains poorly, consider raised beds or containers.

Plant 2 to 3 feet apart. If you're planting in rows, allow 3 to 6 feet between each row. Dig a hole just large enough for the plant's root ball.   Work 1/4 cup of bone meal into the bottom of the hole, and plant in the hole, making sure there are no air pockets.  Be sure to remove the pot first!  If planting in containers, do not use garden soil!  Select a rapid draining potting mix and be sure that the container has adequate drainage holes.

Water  lavender every 3 to 6 days after planting. Once the plants are established and new growth appears, water only during extended hot, dry periods.  Do not let the soil become soggy for extended periods!

Harvest  lavender when about half of the buds are open. Lavender should be harvested in the morning when the plants are hydrated and the aromatic oils are strongest.
Clip only every third bloom so that the plants continue to look full and bushy. Clip flowers when they fade so that the plants continue to bloom.

Apply a thin layer of bark mulch around the plants after the first hard frost of the winter. Don't pile the mulch directly on top of the plants. In zone 5, we suggest covering with a rose cone over winter.  Remove the mulch in early spring so that it doesn't impede air circulation.

Prune in early spring every year. Prune the lavender immediately after new growth emerges at the base of the plant, removing up to one-third of the old growth
from the top of the plant. Pruning keeps the plant from becoming woody and nonproductive.  If allowed to become overly woody, it is very difficult to restore the plant to a productive state