Tips for Growing Lavender
Lavender are sun-loving plants that thrive in hot weather and grow best in arid climates. Lavender plants will be taller and wider in mild winter, hot summer climates. The same varieties when grown in cold (zone 5-6) winter climates tend to be more compact. Lavender plants require two-to-three growing seasons to reach mature size.
These perennials are a superb choice for the drought-resistant garden, doing best in the drier parts of the US like the Great Plains, Intermountain West and West Coast (which has a true Mediterranean climate (wet winters and dry summers). In the Mid-West and Eastern US, sandy soils are a must, and planting on a slope or in a raised bed provides optimum drainage. For the southern US with hot, humid heat, Spanish Lavender (Lavandula stoechas) is the best choice. For large growing Lavender, we recommend French Lavender or hybrid Lavender (Lavandula intermedia) varieties. The key is to make sure you choose a variety with sufficient winter cold hardiness for your region. (‘Vera’ and ‘Pastor’s Pride’ are among the most cold hardy.) Yet with proper soil preparation, and planting site selection, Lavender can also thrive in moister, more humid climates like the Mid-West, East Coast and Mid-Atlantic states. Lavender Phenomenal does particularly well in areas with more moisture and humidity.
- Plant in full sun with good air circulation.
- Plant into well drained soil. Compost-enriched garden loam is alright in drier climates, sandy or gravel soil is best in moister climates. Heavy, poorly-drained clay soils will be fatal.
- Select a raised or sloped bed, or a planting site against a hot wall or along a cement/asphalt walk or driveway where the reflected heat keeps growing conditions hotter and drier.
- New transplants need regular watering. Don't let the plants get too dry. Supplemental watering can be greatly reduced the second growing season as the plants become established.
- When using drip irrigation, place the emitter off to the side of the plant, not right on the root ball to avoid overwatering of mature plants.
- Fertilize once annually in the fall with a top dressing of Yum Yum Mix.
- Mulch with gravel or pine needles in arid climates. In moister climates mulching with gravel will protect the crown from excessive moisture and soil splashed onto the foliage.
More in-depth guidance for growing and maintaining Lavender plants: Growing Lavender, Lavender Bliss, A History of Lavender, The Bold and the Beautiful: New and Recent Lavender Introductions and Lavender: An Old World Herb That Has It All.