Home > Growing Herbs > Growing Lavender

Growing Lavender

By: Kate Bradbury - Updated: 29 Jul 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Growing Lavender English Lavender French

Lavender is an easy herb to grow and is very rewarding too. It is loved by bees and humans alike and emits a beautiful scent when you brush past it. Lavender is widely grown in British gardens and can have a number of uses in the home and kitchen. The plants can be used for edging beds or grown to form an attractive, low-growing hedge.

Lavender is a native of the Mediterranean but grows well in our cooler climate. It will thrive in a sunny, sheltered position in well-drained soil. The plants can tolerate poor, stony soils and very dry conditions once they are established, but will suffer if kept in damp soil for a long period.

Varieties of Lavender

There are two main types of lavender grown in the UK today:

  • Lavandula stoechas (French lavender) – less hardy, requires a warm, sunny position to thrive. Will tolerate slightly acidic soils.
  • Lavandula x intermedia (English lavender) – will tolerate cooler areas and slightly acidic soils.

How to Grow Lavender

Lavender is best grown from plants rather than from seed. When planting lavender it’s important to ensure good drainage so the roots are not waterlogged. In poorly drained soils consider adding gravel or organic matter such as well-rotted animal manure or homemade compost to the planting hole to improve drainage. You could also try planting the plants on a raised mound or a ridge, if growing the plants to make a hedge. This will keep the plants’ roots out of saturated soil.

Lavender should be planted in April or May and pruned back to encourage bushy growth. Water them well and continue to water the plants until they are established. Ensure adequate spacing to maintain good air circulation between plants. This prevents a humid environment in warm conditions, which can hamper the plants’ growth. Space plants 90cm apart, or 30cm apart if growing the plants to form a hedge.

Growing Lavender in Containers

Lavenders grow well in containers but they need large pots as they have long, deep roots. Use a soil-based compost, as this is the closest the plants will get to their natural habitat. Add some old crocks and coarse grit to the base of the container to ensure good drainage. Lavender grown in containers will need watering regularly in summer months, as the pots are prone to drying out. Feed lavender once a week during the growing season with a high-nitrogen organic feed such as seaweed.

Pruning Lavender

Lavenders should be pruned once a year to keep them in shape. Simply use secateurs to remove the flower stalks and straggly stems. You could also chop the plants back using shears. Snip about 2.5cm off the plants, leaving plenty of green leaves in place. Pruning can either take place in late summer after the plants have finished flowering, or in early spring, before the onset of new growth.

Uses for Lavender

Lavender looks great in the garden but it can have many uses in the home too. It is a delicious ingredient in sweet dishes, including biscuits. It can be cut and dried and popped in your pillowcase to aid sleep, or used in dried flower arrangements to give off a wonderful scent to your home.

Whatever uses you have for lavender, it is a fantastic and beautiful herb to grow in the garden. It is easy to grow and looks great in a traditional herb garden, herbaceous border or even as edging for beds.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Is there anyway of keeping English lavender blooming until September. Would a feed of tomorite encourage it to produce more buds. Many thanks
Myrtle - 29-Jul-16 @ 7:08 AM
I have an entire bed of lavender in my garden and it's wonderful. Brush against it as you go past and suddenly the air smells delicious. However, I've never pruned my lavender, and so far it hasn't been a problem as it hasn't become overgrown. It's worth it for the different shades of lavender on the heads and the bees and butterflies who come around to enjoy the plants, as well as the scent.
Sarah - 23-Jun-12 @ 9:25 AM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • sjpmorris
    Re: Growing Rosemary
    Long shot; we have a quite large rosemary plant that has no leaves or branches on the bottom foot of the "trunk", is there any way to bring them…
    18 June 2019
  • Dorey
    Re: Growing Thyme
    Hi. I have several seedlings that’s sprouted and now need repotting. How many seedlings should I plant per pot please, appreciate the advice. Thanks
    4 June 2019
  • janice miller
    Re: Growing Rosemary
    I have grown rosemary for several years.For the first time i have lovely lavendar flowers on it. Is this usual?
    30 April 2019
  • Cindy
    Re: Cooking with Thyme
    I have german thyme and want to dry and save. My plants when I harvested/pruned them I noticed that some of the stems and leaves are a…
    3 April 2019
  • MaryAnne Sans
    Re: Cooking With and Recipes Using Mint
    Will the mint I planted last year come back this year ?
    17 March 2019
  • MBJ
    Re: Growing Mint
    My mint in containers 3 have it seems got a disease. I am going to put new plants in after i have disgarded plants and soil and disinfected containers.…
    20 February 2019
  • Courtney
    Re: Growing Rosemary
    Top part of rosemary plant is green bottom is brown & dry what to do? And can you use the brown leaves still for cooking? Will new growth return…
    18 November 2018
  • Maggie
    Re: Growing Rosemary
    We have a rosemary plant in a pot on the patio (doing well) that we use for cooking. We have a large herb garden that takes up 1/4 of the garden…
    14 September 2018
  • Kyle
    Re: Growing Bay Leaves
    How tall (approximately) could a 2m potted tree grow if moved to a well drained planter 3m wide (L) , 90cm high (H) and 50cm deep (B) that’s…
    1 August 2018
  • Betty
    Re: Growing Bay Leaves
    My young bay leaf plant in a pot all leaves became pale gree and brittle. What do I do
    12 July 2018