Growing Lavender, Planting, Care, and Harvesting

Growing Lavender in Pots.
Growing Lavender in Pots.

A step by step guide for growing lavender in pots, indoors

Let us learn today about growing lavender plants in the home garden along with lavender plant care, harvesting procedure. Lavender which is scientifically called as Lavandula is a very good addition to any garden. Lavender is the one which has flowers which are beautiful and also has a wonderful aroma.  For the maintenance of this beautiful flowering herb, you will need to select a site which is suitable for the growth of the lavender in your garden.

Selecting an area for plantation

  • Select a location which receives a good amount of light. As lavender is a herb which grows in the Mediterranean region, it survives well in region which is sunny and hot. Select a spot in your garden where your lavender plant will get abundant sunlight for a minimum of 8 hours a day. The place you select should also be covered to some extent for protecting it from harsh winds.
  • Ensure that the soil has very good drainage. Lavender will not survive if the soil is damp. So the most important thing you will have to take into consideration is that you have to select a location in your garden where the soil has a very good drainage system. The soil has to be fluffy, light and air circulation should be at its best.
  • For the improvement of the drainage of the soil, you can combine a tiny amount of silica sand prior to the plantation of lavender. Silica sand will provide many advantages. It will drain very well and will not cement. This is also reflective and will also help in reflecting sunlight towards the lavender plant. This mainly helps in the climatic conditions which are wetter and colder.
  • As an alternative, you can try the plantation of the lavender on a raised bed, beside a wall which has drainage at its maximum and also at the top of a slope.
  • If you are growing lavender in a pot, you can take into consideration, setting up a pot on a bed of gravel or even stones to improve the drainage to its best.
  • Now it is the time to check the level of pH of the soil. Lavender will grow at its best in the conditions which are slightly alkaline. The perfect pH of the soil for growing lavender would be in between 6.5 to 7.5. The pH of the soil can also be tested by making use of a test probe which can be purchased in the garden stores. These soil test kits will also be available in any of the home improvement stores present in your locality.
  • If required, you can also raise the soil alkalinity by combining some amount of lime. The quantity of lime you add will be completely based on the soil type and the recommendations which you got after testing your soil.
  • Now you can purchase your lavender for growing. There are many varieties of lavender which are available for growing at homes. There will also be lavender plants for sale and you can purchase them from there. The flourishing or failing of the flower to grow will be completely based on the climatic conditions of the locality in which you are residing in. The lavender types which are being sold at the garden center or nursery present in your locality will be generally compatible with the climatic conditions of your locality. Even though you can go ahead and check the plant’s label or you can also enquire any employee present in the nursery or garden center if you are not that sure.
  • Hidcote and Munstead lavender are mainly the varieties which are hardy.
  • It is also possible to grow lavender starting it from seeds. But this is not suggested by anyone as the seeds will need chilling and scarification and they will take almost a month to undergo the process of germination.
A Lavender Plant in the Backyard.
A Lavender Plant in the Backyard.

Plantation of Lavender:

  • Lavender has to be watered in its pot before you start the plantation. You will have to water it in the pot you have purchased at least one hour before you go with the plantation. This will make sure that the roots are sufficiently hydrated. But make sure that you are not making them damp before they go into the soil.
  • A hole has to be dug which would be sufficiently big for the roots to spread. You can make use of trowel for digging a hole in the spot you have selected for the growth of your lavender. The hole should be sufficiently deep and wide to bear the roots when you are spreading them. If you are starting the plantation of lavender in a container or a pot, you will have to select a pot which is large as the root system of lavender is larger than the plant. You can make use of terracotta pots when you are growing lavender in pots. If you are growing lavender indoors, make sure that you are using small varieties for plantation.
  • Now you will have to start the preparation of soil. The soil has to be prepared in such a way that it will receive the lavender and improve its conditions of growing by keeping two handfuls of round stone of size one inch. Adding to this, you can also place lime of half cup, manure which is composted well and bone mean in the hole. Combine all these well and then cover this with a layer of soil in a light manner.
  • The stone will help you with drainage, the lime will make the soil alkaline whereas the fertilizer and bone meal will help your lavender plant to have a good start.
  • Your lavender has to be pruned in a light manner before the plantation. This will help in giving the plant shape and will make sure that there are very good air circulations all across the stems, motivate new growth and will also help in the prevention of the centre stems from becoming woody, which is the most common problem when coming to lavender. Good air circulation is mainly important if you are residing in a climate which is very humid.
  • Now its time for the preparation of roots. The lavender plant has to be removed from its pot and you will have to shake it in a gentle manner for removing any additional amount of soil from its roots. The lavender has to be planted in a new homemade for it with bare roots for making sure that it adapts easily and quickly to its growing environment which is completely new.
  • Now you will have to start the plantation of lavender. The lavender has to be placed in a careful manner into the spot which is prepared and you will have to rest in on a soil layer which is somewhat on top of the stone blend you have mixed previously. Always ensure that the roots are not coming directly in contact with the stone blend. Fill in any additional space above or around the roots of lavender with soil and pat it lightly into place which is present surrounding the stem’s base.
  • If you are going with the plantation of more than one lavender plant, you can leave about 38 to 40 inches of space in between each and every lavender plant. This will make sure that there is good circulation of air and will give some space for the lavender for growing.

Lavender plant Care and maintenance:

Lavender Plant Care.
Lavender Plant Care.

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  • The soil has to be fertilized once a year. Lavender is a plant which will have less maintenance and will only require to be fertilized one time in a year. You can make use of a little amount of top dressing of mixed compost and also a bone meal, at some time in the starting stage of spring.
  • The best time for the fertilization of the lavender which you have planted newly is after completing the first watering. The soil has to be allowed to dry and then you will have to continue applying the fertilizer.
  • When you water the lavender plant excessively and make the roots damp, it will cause death to the plant immediately. Overwatering the lavender plants which are new at the time of spring season is the main reason for the failure in their growth. Once the plantation of lavender is done, you can water it well and deep for every 1 week to 10 days.
  • For the achievement of proper watering levels, ensure that the soil is dried whenever you water. Anyways, the lavender should not be made to get dehydrated.
  • If you are growing lavender in colder climatic conditions, then you will have to keep watering the plants in a very careful manner until the climatic conditions become hot and the soil gets dried. You will then have to start watering of the lavender plant for every one week to ten days.
  • When you are growing lavender by making use of a pot, always ensure that the pot has a very good drainage system for the prevention of water getting pooled at the bottom.
  • Prevention of weeds which are growing at the plant’s base can be done by covering the soil by making use of a layer of mulch which is thin. You will have to make use of a mulch which is light in terms of color, such as gravel. Coarse sand or oyster shells. Mulch will also help in the protection of roots of the plant from the frosts of winter.
  • You will have to perform the pruning of the lavender plant for one time in a year. You can prefer doing that at the time of spring before the start of new growth. You will have to start pruning about ⅓ rd to ½ of the plant when it will show is the new growth at the time of spring. You can make use of hedge trimmer or pruning shears for the achievement of a rounded and clean shape.
  • New growth of the lavender plant will look like the legs which are thin and long and coming from the branches which are leafing. The lavender plant will also start the formation of flowers. This is also a perfect time for the fertilization of the plant.
  • Pruning the lavender plant will give rise to new growth and will also help in stopping the plant from sprawling and breaking open.
  • Always ensure that you are not pruning your lavender plant too much as it will lead to the death of the new growth.
  • There are two types of most common pests which will affect your lavender plant and they are spittlebugs and whiteflies. These two can be taken off by making use of hand or by using a stream of water which will be poured on the plant. You will have to monitor the lavender plant on a regular interval of time for checking reinfestation.
  • Aphids are the pests which will spread the alfalfa mosaic virus which will affect the growth and flowering of the plant. You can take off any of the foliage which was affected and make sure that you are burning it. Also, ensure that you are sterilizing all the tools used for gardening by making use of chlorine bleach or any type of disinfectant for stopping the virus from spreading.

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How and When to Harvest lavender:

  • The perfect time for the harvesting of the lavender is when you see that the flowers which are at the bottom of each and every stem are just opening. This is the time when the lavender is fragrant and also vibrant. The flowers have to be cut at the stem’s base, closer to the foliage. Then, you will have to start pruning the lavender plant back for the new growth of its leaves. This will help in encouraging the lavender plant to flower again at the time of autumn.
  • If almost all the flowers are opened on the plant, then it means that it is already late for the harvest if you are growing it for herbal benefits. If you are planning to get the lavender dried, then you will have to harvest it when almost ¾ the of the flowers have been opened.
  • If you are interested in decorating your house by making use of lavender, the flowers can be placed in a vase, but make sure that you are not putting them in water along with the roots. This will lead the flowers to fall quickly and the stems will also become mushy.
  • For drying the lavender, you will have to make a bunch of at least 100 flowers together and tie them by making use of a rubber band. The bundle has to be handed in the indoor locations in the place which is dark, dry and also warm. They can be hung in an upside down direction from a nail for about 2 weeks.
  • If you are wanting to take off the lavender which is dried from the stems, you can also start rolling the bundle on a metal screen which is being kept on a bucket. This process is called garbling.

Some facts about growing lavender:

  • The best time for plantation of lavender is autumn. The climatic conditions which are cooler with a moderate amount of rainfall and sufficient sunlight will work better for the plantation of lavender. If the establishment of lavender is done at the time of autumn and winter, then it would be ready to flower by the time of spring.
  • Lavender is a perennial which is woody and it is the one which continues its growth every year, but the stem will remain upright all across the winter preparing for the growth at the time of new spring. With utmost care and pruning, lavender will be able to thrive in the garden for many coming years.
  • Seeds of the lavender will take about almost a month to undergo the process of germination. Sometimes, they make take months for reaching the size of transplantation, i.e., 3 inches. Once the transplantation of lavender into the garden is done, it will grow a few inches every year. It will start to flower during the second and third years after the transplantation is done.
  • For reviving the lavender to can spread 0.25 pound of N-P-K fertilizer at a ratio of 10-10-10. This can be done for every 20 to 25 square feet surrounding the plants of lavender and you will have to water them with at least 1 inch of water.
  • There should be an improvement in the circulation of air and sunlight and this can be achieved by pruning the plants which are closer and also by taking off any debris found around your plants.
  • Lavender has to be planted in an area which has full exposure to the sun and also the soil which is well-drained. It will not grow at all if you are planting it in the shade. But it has flowers which are highly scented and like all the other varieties of lavender, a spot which has some amount of shade will be the best for making the flowers dried once they are removed from the plant.
  • If you take care of the lavender plants well and prune them at least one time a year, your lavender will last for several years.

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