Whether you're a novice gardener or a seasoned pro,
lavender will make it look like you know what you're doing. It's evergreen,
pest- and disease-free and fragrant. I'll take a dozen!
This small aromatic shrub with
has-usually-lavender colored flowers, although some varieties produce yellow,
white, pink or blue flowers. Plants vary in height from as low as six inches up
to three feet tall.
It's versatile, too. Lavender can be used as a low hedge
or border plant. It can be mixed among perennial flowers and other shrubs in
the garden. Lavender is most useful in hot, sunny spots where it will thrive.
climate, lavender can look a little bedraggled in
winter. It hunkers down and waits for the rain to stop. To ensure that your
plant survives until spring, the soil must drain well. If you have soil that
drains slowly, amend with gravel and mound the soil a bit above grade. Make it
impossible for water to stand in the root zone.
While it makes an excellent landscape
plant, some people
grow it for flower and essential
If you grow
lavender for flower production, fertilize
twice a year, first in late winter when dormancy breaks and again in July after
the blooming season. Lavender, along with most of the herbs, loves
well-rotted manure. When putting
organic matter around lavender, keep the material away from wood to prevent
stem rot. In addition, add lime once a year. Amending soil and fertilizing are
important for the most abundant flower production.
lavender is drought tolerant, flower and oil
production can be affected by soil moisture. If the plants are stressed from
lack of water the stem length and flower size with be reduced. If the soil is
well-drained and fertile, flowering and growth will be enhanced.
After flowering is done, shear lavender plants. Don't
take off more than half of the length of the foliage, as the plant needs to be
able to photosynthesize and maintain sufficient energy stores. Groom plants
lightly in late winter, at the same time as you fertilize.
Lavender is harvested at different times for different
uses. For dried flower production the crop is picked selectively and harvested
when the flowers have several of the florets open on the flower head. For oil
production, harvest when approximately one-third of the florets are open,
one-third is withered and one-third are still buds. Allow flowers to dehydrate
for a few days before distilling the oil.
lavender varieties should be propagated by
cuttings. Mid-spring and late summer are the best times to take softwood
cuttings. Place treated cuttings in heated beds at around 70° F. Keep the soil
moist and roots should develop in four to six weeks.