Growing Lavender

How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Lavender

Lavender Field

Lavender is a bushy, strong-scented perennial plant from the Mediterranean. In warmer regions, its gray to green foliage stays evergreen throughout the year. Here’s how to plant and grow lavender in your garden!

Prized for its fragrance, medicinal properties, and beautiful color, lavender is a valued plant across the world. It also attracts pollinators to the garden.

Planting

When to Plant Lavender

  • Lavender is best planted as a young plant in the spring as the soil is warming up.
  • If planting in the fall, use larger, more established plants to ensure survival through the winter.

Choosing and Preparing a Planting Site

  • Lavender thrives in most soil qualities, from poor to moderately fertile.
  • If you have compacted or clay soil, add some organic matter to improve drainage. Learn more about soil amendments and preparing soil for planting.
  • Keep away from wet, moist areas, which could encourage root rot.
  • Plant lavender 2 to 3 feet apart. Plants typically reach between 1 and 3 feet in height.

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Check out this video to learn how to plant lavender:

Care

How to Care for Lavender

  • Add mulch (rock or pea gravel work particularly well) to keep weeds to a minimum. Keep the mulch away from the crown of the lavender plant, however, to prevent excess moisture and root rot.
  • Water once or twice a week after planting until plants are established. Water mature plants every two to three weeks until buds form, then once or twice weekly until harvest.
  • In colder growing areas, plants may need extra winter protection. Cover the plants with a winter mulch of evergreen boughs or straw, which will block freezing winds and temperatures. 
    • Another option for cold areas is to grow lavender in a pot, keeping it outdoors in the summer and indoors in winter. While indoors, place the pot in a south-facing window with as much light as possible. Water sparingly, as the plant will be dormant at this time.
  • Prune established plants in the spring when green leaves start to emerge from the base of the plant. Remove approximately one third of the top.

Pests/Diseases

  • Fungal diseases, in humid climates
  • Root rot due to excess water (look for yellowing leaves as a sign of overwatering)

Harvest/Storage

How to Harvest Lavender

  • Harvest the lavender stems when approximately half of the flower buds have opened.
  • Harvest in the morning hours when the oils are the most concentrated.
  • Cut stems as long as possible. Gather into bundles and secure them with rubber bands.
  • Dry the bundles of lavender in a cool, dark place where there is good air circulation.
  • Use your lavender to make lavender sachets—a lovely gift!

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Recommended Varieties

Wit & Wisdom

  • Lavender oil scent is used for calming, and to induce sleep. Its first documented use was by the Romans in 77 A.D. for repelling insects and soothing insect bites.
  • Learn more about the benefits of lavender!

Recipes

Growing Lavender

Botanical Name Lavandula angustifolia
Plant Type Herb
Sun Exposure Full Sun
Soil Type
Soil pH Neutral
Bloom Time Summer
Flower Color Blue, Pink, Purple, White
Hardiness Zones 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Special Features Attracts Butterflies