Lavender is such a romantic flower that every gardener sooner or later succumbs to the urge to grow it. Undeterred by the fact that it is a native of the Mediterranean and a lover of dry, sunny, rocky habitats, we give it a try anyway, hoping it will adapt.
Lavender plants will tolerate many growing conditions, but they thrive in warm, well-drained soil and full sun.Like many plants grown for their essential oils, a lean soil will encourage a higher concentration of oils. An alkaline, or especially chalky, soil will enhance lavenders fragrance.
Lavender is a tough plant and is extremely drought resistant, once established. However when first starting you lavender plants, don’t be afraid to give them a handful of compost in the planting hole and to keep them regularly watered during their first growing season.
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It is dampness, more than cold, that is responsible for killing lavender plants. Dampness can come in the form of wet roots during the winter months or high humidity in the summer. If humidity is a problem, make sure you have plenty of space between your plants for air flow and always plant in a sunny location.
Areas where the ground routinely freezes and thaws throughout the winter will benefit from a layer of mulch applied after the ground initially freezes. Also protect your lavender plants from harsh winter winds. Planting next to a stone or brick wall will provide additional heat and protection.
You can always grow your lavender in pots and move it to follow the sun or even bring it indoors for the winter. Although lavender has a large, spreading root system, it prefers growing in a tight space. A pot that can accommodate the root ball with a couple of inches to spare would be a good choice. Too large a pot will only encourage excessive dampness.
Insure that the pot has plenty of drainage. Root rot is one of the few problems experienced by lavender plants. Use a loose, soilless mix for planting and remember that container grown lavender will require more water than garden grown plants. How much more depends on the environment and the type of pot. Water when the soil, not the plant, appears dry and water at the base of the plant to limit dampness on the foliage.