Lavender is a fragrant, shrubby perennial flower that can be a wonderful addition to any home garden. It has pale grey/green leaves and pink to violet flowers. It is often used as a hedge and can survive well indoors in the winter. Having lavender grow in your garden promises both a delightful splash of color and a pleasant fragrance.
Lavender plants grow to one to three feet high and spread two to four feet wide. Depending on the region, they typically bloom in early to late summer. It is is relatively easy to care for and as a bonus its fragrant oils repel pests, rabbits and deer, but attract bees and butterflies to your garden.
Lavender is native to the Mediterranean region but can be easily grown in hot and dry parts of North America. It can grow year-round in places Southern California and the Southwest states, and many varieties tolerate humid climates like Southeast or the Midwest fairly well.
How to Plant Lavender
You can grow a lavender plant from seeds, but it is generally not recommended as the seeds often do not germinate. You will have better luck if you buy lavender plants that have been grown from cuttings.
If growing from seed in a greenhouse, cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil and be patient. Lavender seeds take their time, and may take up to three months to germinate. When they are large enough, move the seedling into individual pots and keep them in the greenhouse for the duration of their first winter.
If you're in a colder region, move the plants outside in the spring, only after all danger of frost has passed. In hotter climate, you can plant them in the fall. Lavender needs plenty of soil to grow as well as plenty of sun. Plant shrubs in full sun and make sure to leave at least two feet of space between plants.
How to Care For Lavender
More mature lavender plants will tolerate drought relatively well, but younger plants need more care to bloom their best. Make sure soil remains damp and is well-drained, especially in the winter. In overly wet soil, the plants can be in danger of suffering from fungal rots. Lavender especially likes rocky or sandy soils. It does not like overly fertilized soil.
Last year's growth needs to be pruned in the spring after new growth appears. Plants can be sheared and shaped after they bloom.
If you live in a cold or humid climate, it is best to keep lavender in pots and move them indoors in the winter. If keeping the plants indoors, place them near a south-facing window to allow as much light as possible.