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growing lavender

Growing Lavender

Soil and Growing Conditions

The lavender plants will do the best with a soil pH of between 6 – 8. Lavender likes an alkaline soil that is well drained and in a sunny position
(8hrs of sunshine a day is recommended). The plant will still grow well in shadier positions but be much less prolific with their flowers. If you have heavier soils then making a raised bed would be an option. Most lavender plants can survive a light frost. Plants should be spaced approx 40 – 80cm apart,depending on what variety of lavender is being planted. (Angustifolia - 40cm through to intermedia - 80cm)

In some areas it is recommended to add a handful of lime to the base of the plant annually before the new growing season begins.

Pruning

Pruning can take place at any time of the year but is best after flowering or in Autumn, well before any frosts are due, as they will burn any new growth. Lavender hedges need pruning twice per year. A third of the bush can be safely removed. Lavender plants that are not well pruned annually, are prone to become woody in the centre and will eventually have to be replaced. Even new lavender plants need to be pruned slightly as this will help make the plants bushier and more robust.

Watering

All lavender seedlings and young plants need to be kept moist but not wet during their first summer. After that, they require very little water but if there is not adequate rainfall then some irrigation will be needed. Even mature lavender plants will show signs of stress if there is insufficient moisture and you will see some yellowing of the leaves. The lavender plant will probably survive but will not flower as profusely and the stems and flower heads will not be as long.

Growing in Pots

Smaller varieties of lavender plants (those growing up to 60cm, usually angustifolias) are suitable for growing in pots. Slightly larger lavender plants (growing to 80cm) can be grown but should be transplanted out to the garden after two years. All potted lavender plants need well draining potting mix (not one containing pine chips etc. as this is too acidic), with good drainage in the bottom of the pot. Watering is kept to maintaining moisture but not keeping the lavender plant wet. Do not over water the lavender as the plant will get root rot and probably die. In winter watering should be kept to a minimum. More nutrients will need to be added or the lavender plant repotted every 12 months to keep it looking at its best.