Growing Organic Lavender in Pots
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is a commonly grown herb plant popular for its fragrant aroma and belongs to the mint family. Lavender plants are part of the genus Lavandula. Lavender is a beautiful herb that produces purple, white, and yellow color flowers, depending on the specific plant variety. Most gardeners propagate Lavender from cuttings, but the plant can also be grown from seed. In this article we also discuss the below topics;
- Can you grow Lavender in pots
- How long does Lavender take to grow
- Growing Lavender in pots
- Lavender plants growing tips
- How do you grow Lavender
- Tips for Growing Lavender
- How do you harvest Lavender
- Indoor Lavender plant care
- How to grow Lavender indoors
- Growing Lavender from seed
- Process of growing Lavender from cuttings
A Step By Step Guide to Growing Lavender in Containers
Lavender also grows quite well in containers or pots. When growing Lavender indoors, using the right size container is very important. Organic growing methods can boost the plants’ health and longevity. Healthy plants have higher levels of fragrant oil, increasing their value whether you use them for homemade soap, oil extraction, or to flavor food. Chemical-free, organic Lavender is safe for all uses.
Conditions Required for Growing Organic Lavender
Choose a sunny location for growing Lavender. This grows well in moist soils, but it must drain well. Lavender plant thrives best under warm, sunny conditions in well-drained soil. Also, an alkaline soil rich in organic matter can encourage higher plant oil production, enhancing the fragrance in Lavender plants. Success with Lavender indoors starts with bright light. Place Lavender plants in a sunny, south-facing window where they can receive 6 to 8 hours of sunlight daily. Ideal indoor growth temperatures for Lavender shouldn’t dip below 50F at night.
Lavender plant grows best in full to mostly sun. A few hours of the light shade is okay. A minimum of 7 hours of direct sunlight per day is suggested for growing Lavender.
Organic Soil Preparation for Growing Lavender
- Lavender must have well-drained soil, with a pH level of 6 to 8. You can test the soil with a simple pH tester found at most garden centers. If your soil tests alkaline, you can add sulfur to lower the pH level. If it is too acidic, add lime to raise the pH level. In addition to the proper pH level, Lavender does best in sandy loam soil that provides good drainage.
- The ideal soil for growing Lavender consists of 45% mineral, 5% organic matter, and 50% pore space. Pore space allows for the soil aeration and good drainage of water. Remember that the lower the oxygen level of the soil, the less the growth of plant roots.
Time to Germinate Lavender Seeds
To stratify your seeds;
- On a clean plate, place a wet paper towel, and the towel should be completely wet but drain any excessive water.
- Then spread the seeds apart from one another on top of the paper towel.
- Insert the plate into a zip lock bag sealing the bag.
- Then, place the plate into the refrigerator in a place that will not be disturbed for the next 30 to 40 days.
After 30 to 40 days it’s time to start germinating seeds. Take the plate from the refrigerator and place it in a warm and sunny window. Some of the seeds started germinating in only a day or two. Others took as long as 2 weeks or even longer. Germination depends on the age of the seed and the species of Lavender.
Process of Germinating Lavender Seeds
The first step in Lavender seed germination is choosing a variety. Be aware that not all varieties will come true when you propagate by seed. If you are determined to grow a particular variety, you’re better off using cuttings or divisions to get new plants. Some good Lavender varieties for starting by seed are Lavender Lady and Munstead. It can take 1 to 3 months for Lavender seeds to germinate. Also, be prepared to germinate the seed indoors. Lavender seeds will need warm temperatures, between 18 to 21°C. If you don’t have a warm spot or a greenhouse, uses a heat mat to keep your seeds warm enough.
To start Lavender from seed, sow seeds in a sterile seed starting mix and then cover seeds because they need light to germinate. Lavender seeds can take as long as a month to germinate, although they’ll sprout in 14 days. Help the seed germination process by placing seed trays in a warm spot 21°C is an ideal temperature. Some gardeners refrigerate seeds in a sealed plastic bag for 21 days to prepare them for sprouting and help improve seed germination.
Choosing Right Pots for Growing Lavender
Find a pot that fits your plant roots with a little bit of extra room. Make sure to select a container that’s several inches bigger in diameter than the root ball. Clay tends to allow for better circulation, making it ideal for Lavender. Keep these pots in full sun and then check the soil regularly to ensure it stays damp, as Lavender is less likely to flower without consistent water. Lavender pot size of 12 to 16 inches is ideal since the plant can grow huge and bushy.
Plan to re-pot into gradually bigger pots as the Lavender plant grows. Terracotta pots are great for Lavender plants and will give it the best chance to thrive. Terracotta pulls extra moisture from the soil helping it dry faster and they can make up for overwatering the plant.
How to Grow Organic Lavender in a Container
Step 1) Select the appropriate type and size of the growing pot for Lavender. Be sure to determine the mature diameter of the Lavender and select an appropriate container. It is shallow-rooted, so the pot does not need to be a tall one.
Step 2) A pot size of 12 to 16 inches is ideal for growing Lavender. Make sure the pot should have a drainage hole which should be at the bottom of the pot.
Step 3) Fill the pot with well-drained, slightly alkaline soil or organic potting mix at almost the ¾ mark of the pot.
Step 4) When growing Lavender in pots, plants appreciate a consistently moist but well-drained soil. Constantly soggy soil can be a killer. Therefore, using a quality potting mix that will hold moisture evenly and a container with drainage holes. Also, you can add 10 to 20% pumice or Perlite to the soil mixture to enhance drainage.
Step 5) Choose a container with drainage holes at the bottom and one that is large enough to allow for 2 to 3 years of growth before shifting up to a larger size container. This might mean your planting pot would be 6 inches or more in width than the root ball of your Lavender plant.
How to Grow Lavender from Seed
Below are the steps for growing Lavender from seed;
- Seeds started indoors so that they have plenty of time to grow into mature plants.
- Sow seeds from February to July on the surface of moist seed compost. Then, cover the seeds with a sprinkling of vermiculite or finely sieved compost.
- Place the seed tray in a propagator at 21 to 25°C or seal it inside a polythene bag.
- Keep the compost damp but not wet and do not exclude light as this helps the germination process. When the seedlings are large enough to handle, transplant them into large size pots.
- When all risk of frost has passed, gradually acclimatize young Lavender plants to outdoor conditions over 7 to 10 days before planting outdoors.
A Step-By-Step Guide to Propagate Lavender from Cuttings
Step 1) Lavender can easily start from cuttings. This process is faster than starting from a seed and it’s pretty easy to be successful.
Step 2) It is one of the easiest plants to grow from cuttings. When selecting your cutting, look for a stem that has old and new growth, cutting it near the bottom of the plant. You’ll remove the lower sets of plant leaves and situate the cutting in the soil so that it’s sitting upright. Care for your cuttings by keeping the soil moist and also giving the plant lots of indirect sunlight.
Step 3) For Lavender, start by taking cuttings about 4 inches long and make sure you cut above a node and at a 45-degree angle.
Step 4) Prepare the cutting by removing all stems and leaves from the bottom half. Strip some bark and this encourages the plant to develop roots.
Step 5) Now they’re ready to be planted into dirt. Insert the bottom half into a pot with soil and give it some water. You can expect the plant roots to take at least 3 weeks to develop. Until roots are established keep a sheet or plastic bag over the Lavender cuttings.
Step 6) Once you can gently tug on the plant without it moving, you are okay to remove the plastic bag. Now your Lavender is established and it is ready to be transplanted to a permanent home.
Step 7) When planting, make sure to space out your Lavender plants so that they have room to grow several feet in each direction. Then, add a small level of organic compost to each hole to make the transition easier for them.
Step 8) Patience is essential when growing Lavender because it generally takes Lavender 3 years to reach full size.
Tips for Growing Organic Lavender in Pots
- Lavender plant needs full sun; a minimum of 6 to 8 hours.
- Lavender plants require full sun, good drainage, and alkaline soil. If your soil has a tendency toward acid nature in that case one-quarter of the total planting soil must be composted, along with a small amount of gravel to assist drainage.
- Lavender needs full sun and well-drained soil. Set full-size plant varieties 3 to 4 feet apart, dwarf types 18 inches apart. Mulch with decomposed granite or gravel, not compost.
- Lavender likes a pH level between 6 or 8.0. If you have low pH adds dolomite lime and organic compost.
- To keep your indoor Lavender plant healthy, position near a window that gets at least 3 to 4 hours of bright direct sunlight per day and grow in well-draining soil.
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Organic Fertilizer Requirement for Growing Lavender in Pots
Lavender plants are not heavy feeders. Adding fertilizer is not necessary during the growing season, but Lavender plant benefits from light, organic compost mulch in early spring. Watering sparingly, but deeply, helps the Lavender plants develop deep root systems that sustain them during drought.
Lavender plants prefer nutrient-poor soil. The best time for fertilizing the Lavender plant is in the springtime at the start of the growing season. The easiest and best thing to do is to put down an inch of good compost around the plant and this should provide plenty of nutrients for the year to come.
Alternatively, you can feed your Lavender plant with a small amount of slow-release fertilizer. Once you’ve done this, leave it alone. Fertilizing the Lavender plants too much can hurt it. Don’t fertilize in the fall, either. This will make the plant produce tender new growth that will only get damaged or killed in the winter season.
Does Lavender Plant Need a Lot of Water?
Too much water the plant can leave them susceptible to root rot and fungal disease. Young and newly planted Lavender does need regular watering until established. Check soil moisture in pots by feeling soil with your finger. Overwatering the plant and allowing the soil to stay constantly moist may cause rot. Though do not allow the soil to go completely dry, or the Lavender will react with yellowing lower plant leaves.
Lavender plants growing in pots will appreciate a consistently damp to slightly moist soil. Lavender does not like constantly soggy soil, which can lead to root rot and other plant diseases. So be careful not to overwater them.
Organic Pests and Diseases Control for Growing Lavender
- Lavenders are not easily affected by diseases but fungal infection occurs due to cold wet soils.
- Yellow, wilting or dying leaves and discolored root tissue symptoms appear in plants, there is a high chance that your Lavender has root rot. This disease is mainly caused by over-watering plants hence can be managed by reducing the number of times you water the crop.
- Whiteflies are attracted to Lavender plants. They feed on sap from the underside of the plant leaves and although they may not kill your plant; they cause unattractive damages to your crop.
- You can control whiteflies by hand removal or by use of a strong stream water spray particularly for adult whiteflies.
- The use of reflective mulch or aluminum foil for mulching is effective in repelling whiteflies in Lavender plants.
- Aphids are one of the most common insects affecting Lavender plants. Symptoms appear as distorted foliage and leaf drop. By wiping the plants with a clean cloth or spraying the plants with a mild solution of water containing a few drops of dish soap to remove aphids.
You may also check this: Growing Organic Saffron In Containers.
When and How to Harvest Lavender
Harvesting Lavender is very easy. To harvest Lavender flowers, first, identify the bloom that you wish to harvest. By using scissors or small pruning snips cut the stem there just above the leaves or side branches. Once the center stem and flower is removed, the Lavender plant redirects its energy.
Harvest your Lavender when the flowers are in bloom and they make wonderful flower arrangements. Harvest Lavender stems early in the morning.
Commonly Asked Questions about Growing Lavender in Pots
Does Lavender plant-like sun or shade?
Lavender plant requires full sun and well-drained soil (add organic matter to improve heavy soils). Starting with the proper conditions is essential for successfully growing Lavender in pots.
Is Lavender a good indoor plant?
With the right light and good conditions, it is possible to grow Lavender indoors.
How much light does a potted Lavender plant need?
Place Lavender plants in a sunny, south-facing window where they can receive 6 to 8 hours of sunlight daily. Also, use a grow light to supplement light conditions.
How much time does it take for Lavender to grow?
Lavender is a slow grower and takes 1 to 3 months to reach transplanting size.
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