Age-Old Wisdom meets Modern Tools
How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Lavender
Lavender is a bushy, strong-scented perennial plant from the Mediterranean. In most 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.
- Lavender is best planted in the spring as the soil is warming up. If planted in the fall, use bigger plants to ensure survival over the winter.
- Plant lavender 2 to 3 feet apart. Plants typically reach between 1 and 3 feet in height.
- It thrives in any poor or moderately fertile soil. If you have heavy 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.
Check out this video to learn how to plant 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.
- 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 cold growing areas, cover the plants with a winter mulch of evergreen boughs or straw.
- In cold growing areas, if growing indoors over winter, place pot in a south-facing window with as much light as possible.
- 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.
- Fungal diseases, in humid climates
- Root rot due to excess water
- 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!
- English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is hardy to Zone 5 and there are hundreds of varieties available in many colors and sizes. It often blooms twice in one season.
- ‘Hidcote’: Compact, silver-gray foliage, deep purple flowers.
- ‘Munstead’: Compact, green foliage, violet-blue flowers.
- A hybrid of English and Portuguese lavender (L. latifolia), Lavandins (L. x intermedia) are generally larger plants that bloom only once, later in the summer.
- ‘Phenomenal’: Vigorous variety that is highly tolerant of heat and humidity and resistant to common root and foliar diseases. Long flower spikes.
- ‘Provence’: Vigorous, long-stemmed variety, very fragrant.
- Spanish lavender (L. stoechas) and French or fringed lavender (L. dentata) are only hardy in Zones 7 to 9.
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!