- Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’
- Names Of Flowers
- The Lavender Flowers
- Scientific Name
- Description and Characteristics
- Cultivation and Care
- Diseases and Pests
- The Fundamentals of Growing Gorgeous Lavender
- COMMON TYPES OF LAVENDER
- CLIMATE CONSIDERATIONS
- GROWING LAVENDER
- PLANTING, PRUNING & WATERING TIPS
- POPULAR LAVENDER VARIETIES
- DESIGN IDEAS FOR LAVENDER
- IDEAS FOR USING LAVENDER IN THE KITCHEN
- READER QUESTIONS
- Growing Lavender From Cuttings or Seeds
- Planting Lavender in the Right Pot
- How to Dry Lavender
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’
I have planted a lavender border this spring but one plant has already died and the adjacent ones are beginning to look ill (yellowing leaves). I have taken some photos but can’t see how to attach to this question. I planted a lavender border last year in a similar location which is doing well. Have you any ideas on the problem or solutions? I have 6 reserve plants but dare not plant them until I have solved the problem.
Hello, There are several reasons why this may happen, and these include planting too deeply, air pockets in the planting hole, too much fertiliser, some sort of toxic substance in the soil, or animal pee. I’m afraid though, that I would not be able to pinpoint the exact cause.
I am looking for a long flowering lavender suitable for planting in large rectangle planters (I have put about eight planters 1m x 0.5m x 0.5m along the front of our house). Can you advise whether the Hidcote variety would work. I’ve also looked at the pendunculata variety that has the pretty butterfly appearance but they seem to have a much shorter flowering period. Perhaps I need a mix? Most grateful for your advice.
Hello there Lavandula pedunculata subsp. pedunculata is a lovely lavender which you could use, but these are classed as borderline hardy so may need protection during the winter. Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’ does have a longer flowering period, is very popular for hedges and it is fully hardy. I think this would look lovely in your planters. Hope this helps.
2015-03-26 How big are the Lavender Hidcote plants that come in the 1.5 litre pots?
Thanks Helen but that doesn’t sound right at all. Surely you mean between 5 inches & 15 inches?? not cms. I’d ordered, received & planted the lavender by the time I got your response & thankfully the lavender was no where near as tiny as you quote.
Hello, It depends on the time of the year, but these plants can be anywhere between 5 and 15cm tall.
Which Lavenderis best for border edging and what size plants? Hi I am at the moment pulling out some very shabby Lavender which was edging two borders. I would like to replace them but I am not sure which would be the best variety to use (I inherited them with the house and can’t tell what they were). I would also appreciate some advice on how far apart to plant them and whether it would be better to buy the bigger more mature plants or samller plants? Thanks in advance for any guidance you can give me. Katie
Hello Katie, All Lavenders do well as hedging, but as the angustifolias are hardier, I would opt for this type. If you want a taller hedge and you don’t mind being a little patient, then I would opt for the smaller pots of Lavandula angustifolia. If however you want a more compact hedge, then L. angustifolia Munstead or L. angustifolia Hidcote would be a better option. I hope this helps. Helen Plant Doctor
Salvia suggestion please Please could you advise me? I am looking to use a Salvia to plant with Buxus balls, Hakonechloa and Lavender. I need a strong, long flowering and easy caring Salvia variety that will not grow too tall. Your advise would be invaluable Thank you Jackie
Lavendula ang. ‘Hidcote’ Would Lavender ang.’ Hidcote’ be flowering late August…early September My son is getting married 4th Sept and they want to have this plant as a centre piece in the middle of the tables x 11?
Hello Jacky, It is likely to be still in flower (just), however we cannot guarantee it. Perhaps to guarantee the flowers, your best option would be to cut and dry them now for use later on. If you click on the following link it will take you to the size and price we currently have. http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/lavenders/lavandula-angustifolia-hidcote/classid.2000010501/
When do I plant Lavender? What is the best time of year to plant Lavender Hidcote?
Hi Digging in some bonemeal in to the soil when you plant will help enormously. As for planting distance, as Lavandula ‘Hidcote’ is a dwarf variety then I would recommend planting it 30-45cm apart. Regards Helen
As a rule, hardy plants grown in containers, such as the Lavandula angustifolia Hidcote, can be planted at any time of year as long as the soil isn’t frozen solid. The best times are in the autumn when the soil is still warm enough to encourage root growth but the plant isn’t in active growth, or the spring before the temperatures start to rise, however you can plant in mid summer as long as you make sure the plant is kept well watered.
Which Lavender will grow in a pot? I would be so grateful if you could help me. I am trying to buy an 82 year old lady some sweet smelling lavender for a birthday present. she only has a balcony, so it would have to live in a pot. Do you have anything suitable?
How many plants do I need for my lavender hedge? I want to make a ‘Hidcote’ Lavender hedge, which will be around 8.5m long. Could you tell me how many plants I would need.
Ideally these Lavenders should be planted at 30cm intervals to create a nice, dense hedge, so you will need around 28 plants to cover the 8.5m length.
Names Of Flowers
The Lavender Flowers
Few flowers are more well known for their distinctive color and scent than lavender. It appears in herbal treatises as early as the 13th century as treatments for headaches and nervous disorders. Hardy plants that are quick to flower and hard to kill, lavender remains a favorite of gardeners to this day.
Lavender is a member of the mint family and its Latin name is Lavandula. L. augustifolia and L. officinalis are terms for the species and are used interchangeably.
Some of the subspecies are known by different names:
- English lavender is also known as Lavandula vera, or “true lavender.”
- French lavender is Lavandula dentata, but was once given the designation L. fragrans for its sharper scent.
- Spanish lavender is Lavandula stoechas is characterized by the showy bracts at the tip of each flower.
- Lavandula spica, or “spike lavender” is thought to be the “spikenard” mentioned in the Bible.
The modern word for lavender is from the Latin “lavare,” which means “to wash,” though early Romans might also have named the flower from the word “lividus” for “bluish, livid.” The use of lavender in bathing and for scenting fabrics dates back to early Rome.
Native to the Mediterranean region and having been used in ancient Egypt as part of the mummification process, the lavender plant may have originated as far east as Asia. It quickly spread across Africa, up through the Mediterranean and into southern Europe with the spice trades. Today lavender fields can be found on every continent but Antarctica.
Description and Characteristics
Most lavender plants grow one to three feet high on a short, irregular, multi-branched stem which is covered in a yellowish gray bark. The branches are quadrangular, slender, and grow in a broom-like formation. The leaves grow in opposite pairs along the branch and are covered with fine hairs when young.
The flowers are produced on long stems in terminating, blunt spikes. Lavender flower spikes are composed of whorls or rings of tiny purple flowerets, with the lower whorls being more distinct than the upper. The calyx is tubular, ribbed, with thirteen veins, and is grayish-purple in color. The corolla is dual-lipped and typically bluish-violet.
Symbolism and Cultural Signficance:
- In Europe’s Middle Ages, it was said to evoke love.
- In Victorian times, lavender flowers signified devotion.
- Reputed to be one of the flowers most loved by the Virgin Mary, it also symbolizes virginity, cleanliness, purity, and virtue.
- It’s otherwise mentioned as signifying luck, trust, and silence
Cultivation and Care
Fairly easy to cultivate, lavender is best grown in light, sandy soil in a well-drained bed which gets lots of sun. They need very little fertilizing when planted in open beds, though indoor lavender plants or those grown in containers out of doors will need more.
They should be placed where the air can circulate through the stems freely, but where strong winds won’t blow them over and cause them to break. Don’t use organic mulches as they tend to encourage root rot. Instead, use a fine pea gravel or sand to help the soil hold moisture.
Transplanting lavender is easy, though the bushes may not flower well the next year. Water the plant thoroughly and be sure to cut off any flowers first. Trim back damaged roots and any leaves or stems that look brown or dried. After relocating, continue to remove flower spikes to encourage the plant to focus its energies into strong root growth.
Bushes which are pruned regularly from their earliest days will take it well, but pruning lavender plants which are older and have never been pruned is not advised. It’s better to dig up the bushes and replace with younger plants that can be taught to endure pruning.
When growing lavender plants in containers, use potting mix cut with a little extra perlite and make sure there are adequate drainage holes in the bottom. Repot annually and use the opportunity to root prune for compactness. They’ll need to be watered thoroughly in dry summer months, but avoid watering in winter and over-watering at any time of the year.
Diseases and Pests
Lavender is remarkably pest and disease free, and may lend some protection to other plants growing near it. It is susceptible to infection by the Alfa Mosaic Virus, which is usually fatal to the plant. If yellow areas appear on the leaves and they begin to distort or otherwise grow in a misshapen way, it should be dug up and burnt as soon as possible to limit infection to nearby plants. AMV is spread by aphids, and by human contact.
A disease called “shab,” or phomopsis lavandulae, once wreaked havoc in the UK’s commercial lavender crop. The disease is caused by a parasitic fungus, but has not been seen in decades.
Rosemary beetles can cause a few problems if the infestation gets out of control, but the biggest pest a lavender bush faces are rabbits, who love to dig down and eat the roots.
Lavender’s medicinal uses include:
- Infusions of lavender flowers for nervous exhaustion, headaches, during childbirth to stimulate uterine contractions, and as a digestive tonic. In Arabic medicine the tea is used as an expectorant.
- Essential lavender oil can be applied directly to scalds and burns for relief and to speed healing of the skin. Diluted in a chest rub, it eases asthmatic and bronchitic spasms. Diluted in massage oil, it helps relax painful muscles; also massage into temples and nape of neck for relief from tension headaches and at the first hint of a migraine. It can be applied undiluted to insect bites and stings for almost instant relief.
- In the first and second World Wars it was as an antiseptic.
- In aromatherapy, the scent of lavender is used to soothe skin, to ease headaches and insomnia, against nervousness and anxiety, and to lower blood pressure.
- A few drops of essential oil in water will not only improve hair’s shine, but is said to be an effective preventative treatment for lice.
- Lavender in soaps leaves skin fresh and lightly scented.
- A few stalks of lavender steeped in vinegar is a time-honored treatment for oily hair and scalp.
- Lavender oil is an insect repellant, nontoxic and more fragrant than commercial brands.
In the home:
- Use dried lavender in closets to repel moths and keep clothes lightly scented.
- Dissolve a few drops of lavender oil in water and spray on kitchen and bathroom surfaces to retard the growth of disease-causing microbes.
- Culinarily speaking, try adding a lavender infusion to lemonade, or perhaps some lavender jelly. Lavender cookies are made with fresh or dried flower tops, finely chopped and added to the batter. Lavender florets make an attractive and delicious addition to a summer salad.
Cut or purchase fresh lavender flowers with approximately 18 inches of stalk. Strip away any brown or discolored leaves, then bind stalks with twine or a rubber band. Cover loosely with a paper bag and hang upside down in a warm, dry room for 2 – 3 weeks until dry, then remove and use as needed.
Click thumbnails to see pictures:
lavenderOverview of lavender.Contunico © ZDF Enterprises GmbH, MainzSee all videos for this article
Lavender, (genus Lavandula), genus of about 30 species of the mint family (Lamiaceae), native to countries bordering the Mediterranean. Lavender species are common in herb gardens for their fragrant leaves and attractive flowers. The plants are widely cultivated for their essential oils, which are used to scent a variety of products. The dried flowers, for example, have long been used in sachets to scent chests and closets, and the ancient Romans used lavender in their baths. Lavender is sometimes also used to flavour beverages and sweets and has a number of applications in herbal medicine.
- French lavenderFrench lavender (Lavandula stoechas), cultivated for its fragrant leaves and flowers.W.H. Hodge
- French lavenderFrench lavender (Lavandula stoechas).Peter Firus, Flagstaffotos
Lavenders are small evergreen shrubs with gray-green hoary linear leaves. The purple flowers are sparsely arranged on spikes at the tips of long bare stalks and produce small nutlet fruits. The fragrance of the plant is caused by shining oil glands imbedded among tiny star-shaped trichomes (plant hairs) that cover the flowers, leaves, and stems. The plants in cultivation do not usually produce seed, and propagation is accomplished by cuttings or by dividing the roots. English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), French lavender (L. stoechas), and woolly lavender (L. lanata) are among the most widely cultivated species.
Lavender oil, or lavender flower oil, is obtained by distillation of the flowers and is used chiefly in fine perfumes and cosmetics. It is a colourless or yellow liquid, the fragrant constituents of which are linalyl acetate, linalool, pinene, limonene, geraniol, and cineole. Lavender water, a solution of the essential oil in alcohol with other added scents, is used in a variety of toilet preparations.
Spike oil, or spike lavender oil, is distilled from a somewhat inferior grade of lavender. Oil of spike is used in painting on porcelain, in soap manufacture, and to scent other products.
Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. Subscribe today
The Fundamentals of Growing Gorgeous Lavender
Growing tips for this fragrant, easy-care plant that thrives in sunny locations By Anne Balogh
Lavender, an herb with many culinary uses, also makes a stunning addition to borders and perennial gardens, providing sweeping drifts of color from early summer into fall. With its silvery-green foliage, upright flower spikes and compact shrub-like form, lavender is ideal for creating informal hedges. You can also harvest it for fragrant floral arrangements, sachets, and potpourri.
COMMON TYPES OF LAVENDER
- ENGLISH LAVENDER
- FRENCH LAVENDER
- SPANISH LAVENDER
June to August
2 to 3 feet
Lavender, deep blue-purple, light pink, white
Despite its Mediterranean origin, English lavender was so named because it grows well in that country’s cooler climate and has long been a staple in English herb gardens. The gray-green foliage and whorls of tiny flowers make this one of the most attractive lavenders in the garden. It’s one of the most cold-hardy varieties and the best for culinary use because of its low camphor content.
Photo by: S10001 / .
BUY NOW ON AMAZON
L. dentata 8-11 Early summer to fall 36 inches and larger Light purple
Also called fringed lavender, this showy variety is distinguished by narrow, finely-toothed leaves and compact flower heads topped by purple bracts. While the flowers have less aroma than English lavender, the fleshly leaves are more fragrant, with an intoxicating rosemary-like scent.
L. stoechas 8-11 Mid to late summer 18 to 24 inches Deep purple
This variety is prized for its unusual pineapple-shaped blooms with colorful bracts, or “bunny ears,” that emerge from each flower spike. Although the flowers are not especially fragrant, the light-green leaves are very aromatic.
Photo by: Peter Radacsi / .
L. ×intermedia 5-11 Mid to late summer 2 to 2½ feet Dark violet, white
This popular hybrid combines the cold hardiness of English lavender with the heat tolerance of Portuguese lavender (L. latifolia). It typically starts blooming a few weeks later than most English lavenders and features long spikes of highly fragrant flowers. Although not considered edible (due to high camphor content), the flowers and foliage are often added to sachets and potpourris.
Although all lavender (Lavandula) is native to the Mediterranean, there are many varieties offering a vast selection of bloom times, colors, flower forms, and sizes. “Bloom time can vary drastically between different locations—where one lavender blooms at the start of June, only 20 miles away could be a very different outcome,” says Kristin Nielsen, president of the Lavender Association of Western Colorado.
Contrary to the name, not all lavenders are purple. Some hybrids come in other lovely pastel hues such as violet blue, rose, pale pink, white, and even yellow. The leaves can also vary in shape and color. To extend the bloom season as well as the color palette, consider planting several varieties.
Lavender is a tough, dependable woody perennial that will last for several years under the right conditions. Because of its Mediterranean origin, lavender loves blazing hot sun and dry soil. If your lavender doesn’t thrive, it’s most likely due to overwatering, too much shade, and high humidity levels.
English lavenders and their hybrids are the best varieties for cooler climates, since they are cold hardy north to Zone 5. However, they will grow best in a sheltered location with winter protection. For southern gardens in extremely hot, humid climates, Spanish and French lavenders are more tolerant of the moist conditions, but should be spaced apart to allow good air circulation.
If your winters are too harsh or your soil is heavy and dense, consider growing lavender in containers. They will flourish as long as they receive at least 8 hours of direct sunlight a day and are planted in a high-quality potting mix with good drainage. In winter, bring your container plants indoors and place them in a sunny window. Learn more about growing lavender in containers at Everything-Lavender.com.
Growing lavender is easy and rewarding. Lavender can be grown in garden beds or in pots. To grow lavender successfully it needs well-drained soil and full sun. In arid climates lavender grows well as a perennial, but in humid climates it is often grown as an annual.
Learn how to grow lavender:
- Purchase healthy lavender plants for your garden
- Bring them home and water them if you can’t plant them immediately
- Select a location for your lavender that receives full sun
- Set the potted plants in different spots to decide where they look best
- Unpot, plant and water your lavender
- Provide consistent watering until the lavender becomes established
- Prune back your lavender each spring
PLANTING, PRUNING & WATERING TIPS
Planting Sweet Romance® Lavender
Learn more about Sweet Romance® Lavender.
All lavender varieties require well-drained soil, especially during the winter months. To ensure good drainage, mix some sand or gravel into the soil before you plant lavender or grow the plants in mounds, raised beds, or on slopes. Instead of applying moisture-holding organic mulches, consider using rock or stone, especially in humid climates.
Once established, lavender is very low-maintenance and requires minimal watering or pruning. If the stems become woody as the plant matures, prune it back by about half its height in the spring to promote fresh new growth and robust flowering. Plants that aren’t pruned also have a tendency to sprawl, leaving a hole in the middle. In the summer, clip faded blooms to encourage repeat blooming throughout the season.
Justin Claibourn of Cowlitz Falls Lavender Company in Randle, Washington offers the following advice:
- Check your soil’s pH. “If it’s too acidic you can kiss your lavender goodbye,” he says. They will look great at first, but after a few years you may notice plants dying off randomly. Once the roots grow out into the native, un-amended soil trouble can begin. Most universities will check your pH relatively cheaply or some hardware stores for free. You can amend your soil with lime to better accommodate your lavender plants.
- Don’t overwater. “As a large-scale grower, we typically irrigate twice a year—that’s it,” states Claibourn. Give your lavender a long soak to promote root growth, short and frequent watering cycles result in unhealthy roots that may rot.
Love plants? Learn more about how, when, & what to plant (plus more!) in our weekly newsletter!
POPULAR LAVENDER VARIETIES
Photo courtesy: Proven Winners.
Sweet Romance® – buy now from Proven Winners
This variety grows 12 to 18 inches tall and blooms from early summer into fall. Its grey-green foliage is topped with rich purple flowers that are perfect for fresh or dried bouquets.
Photo courtesy: Ball Horticultural Company.
‘Hidcote’ – buy now on Amazon
This compact cultivar grows 12 to 18 inches tall and features slender flower spikes with tightly bunched dark purple-blue flowers and aromatic silvery foliage. Because of its low profile, you can use it as a tidy hedge plant around herb or perennial gardens or alongside walkways.
Photo courtesy: W. Atlee Burpee Company.
‘Grosso’ – buy now on Amazon
This popular lavandin hybrid is the most fragrant of all lavenders and the one most often used for scenting perfumes and sachets. It produces an abundance of exceptionally large deep-violet flower spikes that stand well above the mounded silver-green foliage. Growing to 3 feet tall and wide, this heavy bloomer needs ample space to accommodate its vigorous growth habit.
Photo courtesy: W. Atlee Burpee Company.
‘Munstead’ – buy now on Amazon
This early-flowering English lavender is tolerant of tough growing conditions, including heat, humidity, and drought. It grows to a compact height of 12 to 18 inches and produces masses of lavender blue flowers from late spring well into summer. Use as a border accent, in mass plantings, and in containers.
Courtesy of photographer Doreen Wynja© for Monrovia.
‘Provence’ – buy now on Amazon
‘Provence’ is one of the tallest of the lavandin cultivars and gets its name from the area in southeastern France where it is commercially grown for the perfume industry. It grows to a height of 3 feet with heavily scented flowers and foliage. Pale purple blooms on upright stems appear from June through August.
Photo by: Pressebereich Dehner Garten-Center / Flickr.com.
True to its name, ‘Thumbelina Leigh’ is a dwarf English lavender ideal for containers, low borders, and rock gardens. It produces a profusion of strongly fragrant, violet-blue flower spikes that will bloom continuously from early to mid summer.
Photo courtesy: Kieft Seed.
Silvery white blooms with a light-blue blush distinguish this attractive English lavender cultivar. The large aromatic flower spikes bloom all summer and attract butterflies. A compact bushy form makes it an excellent choice for containers.
Photo by: Ngordon99 | Dreamstime.com.
Here’s an unusual pink-flowering English lavender that harmonizes beautifully with purple-flowering varieties. It has silvery foliage like other English lavenders but produces delicately scented light-pink flowers that gradually fade to white. It can grow to a height of 27 inches and blooms from late spring to early summer.
Photo by: HighCountryGardens.com.
This rare twice-blooming English lavender cultivar flowers in late spring and again in September, with a few flower spikes appearing in mid-summer. It produces bi-colored purple and deep blue flowers on stems that fan out around the plant, so the form is not as tidy as some other cultivars. Grows to a height of 18 to 24 inches with a similar spread.
Photo by: Matt Purciel / Alamy Stock Photo.
‘Royal Velvet’ English Lavender is a real showstopper, producing velvety, richly colored navy and purple flower spikes on tall 2 to 2.5 foot stems. It blooms from late spring to early summer and is one of the best lavenders for use in dried arrangements because the flowers retain their gorgeous color.
DESIGN IDEAS FOR LAVENDER
- Use lavender along walkways and garden paths where you can enjoy their scent and where they can benefit from the heat reflected off the pavement.
- Plant in formal or informal herb gardens, where the cool, gray-green foliage sets off other green herbs and plants.
- Create aromatic hedges or borders along fences and garden walls as shown in this video for Sweet Romance® lavender.
- Use lavender as a natural pest repellent near patios and porches. The scent deters mosquitoes, flies, fleas, and other problem insects while attracting butterflies and bees.
- Plant with drought-tolerant companions such as coneflower, sedum, black-eyed Susan, roses, and shasta daisies.
IDEAS FOR USING LAVENDER IN THE KITCHEN
A member of the mint family, lavender has been used for centuries as a versatile, unexpected flavoring in both sweet and savory foods. English lavenders are the best varieties for culinary purposes, and both the buds and leaves can be used fresh or dried. Because the flavor of lavender is strong, use it sparingly so it won’t overpower your dishes. The buds are best harvested right before they fully open, when the essential oils are most potent.
- Immerse a few dried lavender buds in a jar of sugar to give it a sweet aroma. Use the sugar for baking and in desserts.
- Chop the fresh buds and add to a cake batter or sweet pastry dough before baking.
- Add flower buds to preserves or fruit compotes to give them subtle spicy notes.
- Sprinkle fresh lavender on a salad as a garnish.
- Use fresh lavender to infuse teas, cocktails, and other beverages.
- Use chopped buds and leaves to flavor roast lamb, chicken, or rabbit.
- Make Herbes de Provence by blending dried lavender with thyme, savory, and rosemary.
For more ideas, check out these 15 lovely lavender recipes from Boulder Locavore.
Q: My ‘Provençal’ lavender plants are a few years old and very leggy, which is not so good since they line a walkway. How can I get them back into shape? – Holly Dietor, Glen Arm, Md.
A: All lavenders should be pruned once a year to keep them low and full. Since you haven’t pruned for a year or so, renovation will require several steps. Start this spring, when the plants begin to regrow. First, brush the branches with your fingers to knock off any dead foliage. Then, shorten half the old, gray stems — roughly every other one — to within a few inches of the base. If you see green buds sprouting near the base of an unpruned stem, cut to a quarter-inch above a bud. This thinning will admit more light, awakening buds that are low on remaining old stems. When green buds form near the base of these stems, cut the old wood back to the lowest emerging bud. By early summer, you will have shortened all the old stems to a few inches above the base. In midsummer, use hedge clippers or hand pruners to shape the plant into a symmetrical mound, like a shallow bowl turned upside down. Next year, you will have bushy lavender, which will need to be pruned only once. In zone 7, where you live, and northward, you can perform that annual haircut in early spring or in midsummer, right after heavy flowering. In milder climates, pruning should follow summer bloom.
Last updated: January 8, 2019
Related: How to Preserve Herbs
6 Mosquito Repellent Plants
Herbal Household Helpers
There’s something totally charming about lavender. The vibrant purple flowers, the calming scent, and the DIY crafting and cooking potential. But you don’t have to have a huge amount of space to grow this fragrant herb. Sure, while many gardeners use it as a living border for their garden or a decorative shrub, you can also grow it in a pot — and it’s insanely simple. Here’s how:
Growing Lavender From Cuttings or Seeds
First, decide if you’re going to grow your lavender from seeds or cuttings. Both have their advantages. If you already have lavender plants, or know someone who does, growing from cuttings is a fast way to get lavender that looks just like the parent plant. Here’s a basic guide to planting lavender from cuttings.
If you don’t already have a lavender plant, you can feel good about planting lavender seeds, which is a great way to grow a whole lot of lavender inexpensively. Not long ago, seeds from the same packet would often yield plants of variable height and strength, but now, you can expect a consistent number of plants that look very similar. You can find lavender seeds through a reputable online retailer like Burpee.
In a warm location (about 70 degrees), start your seeds in a seed tray with a very light soil mix or fine vermiculite that drains quickly. The seeds will sprout in about two weeks, at which point you should place seedlings in full sunlight. Water your seedlings, but don’t let them stay damp as this can lead to mildew growth. When your lavender plants have leaves, you can plant them in their final pots.
Planting Lavender in the Right Pot
Before you transplant your lavender seedlings, or plant your lavender cuttings, make sure you have the right type of pot. Plant lavender in a container made from a material that breathes, such as terra cotta. Repot to a larger container every spring to allow the plant to reach its full blooming and growth potential.
Load your pot with a sterile potting mix, or try this one from V. J. Billings, owner of Mountain Valley Growers organic nursery: Mix approximately 60% peat moss with 40% perlite, with a couple of handfuls of homemade compost thrown in. If you don’t add compost when you pot, you’ll need to fertilize every three weeks or so with a diluted fish or seaweed emulsion.
Once your lavender is settled into its final location, it will likely grow slowly in the first year, but most plants will still bloom. Year two and beyond, expect greater growth and bigger blooms.
How to Dry Lavender
Many uses for lavender call for the dried version of the herb. Here are the simple steps you need to follow to dry your own lavender.
- Harvest stems when you see the first couple of blossoms have opened.
- Avoid mildew by harvesting on a dry, sunny day after the dew has dried but before the sun is blazing.
- Cut each stem back to the first set of leaves.
- Make a bundle of about 50 stems and secure it with a rubber band.
- Hang them upside down in a dry, cool, place out of direct sun. They’ll be ready to use in about a month.