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HOW TO GROW LAVENDER IN EVERY CLIMATE

by Casea Peterson

Lavender is a native plant to the dry heat of western Mediterranean regions. The sweetly fragranced perennial herb is a popular ornamental plant for a variety of garden and landscape uses,as well as an arsenal of medicinal and home applications..

Lavender, of the genus Lavandula, is a hardy plant and doesn’t require much attention throughout the growing season. Once established, it’s a wonderful pollinator plant that produces bright blossoms and soft scents, making it an elegant addition to any landscape or garden. It is drought-resistant, low-maintenance, and – thanks to the strong essential oil it produces – undesirable to foraging critters and pests.

Lavender, of the genus Lavandula, is commonly grouped into four subgeneras, with a vast number of hybrids that have been cultivated for specific growing conditions and climates all around the world:

  • Lavandula angustifolia – English hybrids a.k.a. true lavender

  • Lavandula stoechas – French hybrids

  • Lavandula dentata – Spanish hybrids

  • Lavandula multifida – Egyptian hybrids a.k.a. fernleaf lavender

Growing lavender isn’t much of a challenge for any gardener, experienced or not. Lavender loves heat, hates water, needs space and lean soil. You’ll also need to provide slight shade during the peak heat of the day and aid in air circulation by generously spacing out your plants.

Lavender…

  • Loves heat

  • Hates water

  • Needs space

  • Wants lean soil

Consider a variety of Lavandula dentata or stoechas as they naturally thrive in hot, steamy conditions. Lavender is a delightful plant to grow that easily adds variety to every gardening scenario, from landscaping to wild garden beds. Remember when I said lavender hates water? If you live in region with significant humidity, then your plants are going to need some serious elbow room to ensure maximum airflow and prevent disease.Water is not lavender’s friend, in the air or in the soil. So proper drainage, airflow, and fast-drying stone mulch will ensure a healthy harvest.

GIVE ‘EM SOME SPACE

Lavender needs space to grow, allowing for maximum airflow – especially in regions with humid climates. A good rule of thumb is to plant them as far apart as they will grow tall.

DON’T FORGET DRAINAGE

Another vital element to consider when choosing where to plant your lavender is drainage.Proper drainage is the key to a successful season, especially in regions with rainfall averaging around 12-15 inches. Lavender can’t tolerate an excess of water in the soil or in the air. So find an area with well-drained soil or if you’re concerned about your plants receiving too much water, dig a half-foot deeper than the root ball and add a layer of gravel to assist drainage.

IS YOUR SOIL TOO ACIDIC?

No worries, just add a half cup of a lime and bone meal mixture to your planting hole to sweeten it up a bit. Continue promoting strong growth by adding this mixture to the soil every year.

The third year of growth is when lavender reaches its peak. If your plant is not meeting your expectations after the first 2-3 years, it’s time to test your soil. If you find you need to compensate for acidic soil, you can throw in a little crushed oyster shell to improve alkalinity.

PRUNING

Pruning is very important as it aims to slow down the growth of woody stems, and forces the plant to produce new foliage.Lavender should generally be pruned right after it flowers to help slow the process of woody stems and increase flower blossoms. If you have an especially woody plant, prune lightly throughout the growing season for maximum results.

GROWING INDOORS

If you have chosen to grow your lavender in containers that can be brought indoors Consider the Lavandula dentata variety as these smaller plants do better in pots.The biggest fallback of growing indoors is the lack of light so place near a window.Pots should be close in size to the root ball of your plant. Any larger and you risk root rot from waterlogged soil. Consider adding a layer of gravel to the base of your pot to assist draining and use a terracotta pot – its sides release moisture and prevent rot. Water only when soil is dry up to one inch under the surface.

HARVEST

The time has come to harvest, and it’s really rather simple. You want to be sure to cut the lavender above the start of the woody stem and then allow it to dry for two weeks. You can bundle dried branches together for a sweet addition to a bouquet, or for an added sense of elegance around your home. Strip the blossoms off for use in potpourri or baking.

The essential oils in these plants have various medicinal properties, and they are often used as antiseptics, sleep aids, and for stress relief. These can easily be added to homemade soap, cleaning solutions, shampoos, lotions, and more.

Lavender is beautiful, low-maintenance, and easy to grow just make sure you care for it.

To Read the full article go to https://gardenerspath.com/plants/herbs/grow-lavender/