Planting Lavender: Planting Tips

How-To’s for Planting Lavender

How-To’s for Planting Lavender
planting lavender

There are many advantages to planting lavender; beautiful upright plants, lovely blossoms, the wonderful aroma and the numerous ways to use this versatile plant. 

Lavender is one of those comforting scents from the old world.  Native in the Mediterranean, this herb normally loves a warm and sunny home.  There are many varieties from which to choose, however, making planting lavender easy for gardeners anywhere.

A few types of lavender are available; English lavender, lavandins and French lavender.  Each has a different blooming period, multiple sub-varieties and characteristics.  The best way to begin planting lavender is with established plants from a nursery.  While the plants are able to be started from seeds, they are difficult to find and difficult to germinate.  Some lavenders do not even produce seeds, or have seeds that are non-productive.  Many of the lavender plants that can be purchased have been started from cuttings of existing plants; a quick propagator and producing a plant that is identical to the mother plant. 

When planting lavender in an outside garden, just about any soil is acceptable as long as it has good drainage.  Wet conditions can be the bane of lavender; causing it to fail.  The soil should also be only slightly acidic; with a pH level between 6.5 and 7.5.  A home kit for checking soil conditions would be a beneficial tool.   Provide a layer of mulch to prevent weed invasion, but be sure to keep it away from the lavender stem.  Planting lavender in containers may be an option for those who enjoy the beauty and fragrance of the plant but lack the garden space outside.  The same procedures used for outdoor planting apply for container lavender, but each year the lavender should be provided with a larger container and fresh soil to enable it to continue its growth.  Full sun is required when planting lavender either outside or in containers. 

Uses for lavender are many.  The lavender reaches its peak flowering and fragrance when the lowest flowers begin to open.  This is the time for harvesting.  Simply cut the stems at the bottom of the foliage.  You will need around two inches of stem that is free from foliage, so some trimming of the leaves may be necessary on the cut stems.  Using a rubber band, bind the bottom of the stems together and hang them in a dark, hot area such as an attic for around 15 days.  This allows the stems to fully dry.  Once dried, it can be used as a scented accent in the home, crushed and used as pomanders, provide wonderful aromas in potpourri and more.

Planting lavender can bring great enjoyment in many ways.  The plant itself is an attractive addition to homes and gardens, with the blossoms scenting the warm summer air.   Dried stems and flowers can prolong the scents throughout the winter.  No matter how it is used, it will be as well loved today as it has been for many generations.

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