What smells sweet, looks gorgeous, and comes back every year? Lavender is beloved by all which is why it is so popular in home gardens. Read on so you can discover where the best spot is to plant this delightful flower.
Getting ready to plant lavender takes a bit of consideration. This plant is native to the Mediterranean and while there are different varieties, there are certain aspects that all lavender require.
Where to plant lavender? First, you need a spot in your garden that gets full sun. Be aware of the shade from your house and surrounding trees. Next, the soil needs to be considered. Lavender needs soil that drains well so if need be, add gravel or sand for a less compact area.
You can also build up your garden into raised beds to better accommodate your plants. Finally, the really nice part about lavender is that it doesn’t need very much water. If anything, most people overwater their plants.
Unless you are in the middle of a drought, you can usually leave your lavender alone. While lavender does best in milder winters, you can plant English Lavender which is able to withstand colder temperatures.
All in all, this is a fabulous plant that doesn’t need a lot of maintenance.
Where is lavender’s original climate?
To best understand where to plant lavender, we need to go back to where it comes from. Lavender is native to the Mediterranean region and can be found around Italy, Greece, and Turkey.
The Mediterranean is a relatively dry climate. There is not a lot of rainfall so plants that grow in this area have learned to thrive in drought-like conditions.
Furthermore, the Mediterranean has hot summers and mild winters. Lavender is a plant that does well with hot heat but may need extra protection if grown in areas with very cold winters.
Lastly, the Mediterranean soil is often dry, rocky, and porous. Lavender likes soil that drains well as too much water in the soil will quickly lead to root rot.
Despite all this, however, you can find lavender around the world. You just need to find different varieties that work best for your climate zone.
For example, English lavender is extremely popular and is named because it thrives in England. In contrast to the Mediterranean, England has wetter, cooler summers, but this variety has adapted and is great for growing in other temperate areas.
Where do I put lavender in my garden?
Lavender loves the sun. You will want to pick an area that is full sun to partial sun. Keep in mind trees that are near your garden.
Small trees will eventually grow to be towering giants whose dense foliage can block out sunlight. Furthermore, when planting in the spring keep in mind that in summer leaves may have a thicker canopy than you first assumed.
Another consideration is the soil. Lavender needs soil that drains well. If you don’t have these conditions naturally in your garden, you may have to put a bit of work in.
Mix garden soil with other substances such as sand or gravel. If you have dense clay you will need to work really hard to break it up and replace it with better draining soil.
For those that are really concerned about their gardens, you can consider crafting raised garden beds. This is where you pile on extra soil so that your garden is multiple inches above the natural soil line.
Just remember that you will have to continuously add more soil as elevated gardens can wash away over time.
Finally, if you just can’t find the best place in your garden to plant lavender, you can consider growing it in pots. Lavender does well in containers and this way you can place the containers wherever you wish.
Start with a container that has drainage holes. Then, add a substantial layer of larger rocks followed by gravel. This will allow the water to properly drain out.
In the remaining space, add a mixture of sand and potting soil so there is enough room for the roots to grow but again, also ensuring there is proper drainage.
Where does lavender grow best?
Lavender grows best in areas that have a lot of suns, warm summers, and mild winters. However, each variety of lavender is slightly different.
Spanish lavender grows best in climates similar to Spain. So, if you live in a climate like Plant Hardiness Zone 8, this is an ideal variety to choose from. Basically, you don’t want your temperature to go lower than 10 degrees Fahrenheit with Spanish lavender.
On the other hand, if you live in wetter or colder areas, English lavender is a better alternative. It can survive Plant Hardiness Zones 5 to 8, meaning the lowest temperature should be above -20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Lavender is great in summer but where you really want to watch it is in the winter. Temperatures that are too cold can kill off the hardiest of plants.
If you are expecting a colder than normal winter, you will want to take steps to protect your plants in the winter. Add a decent layer of mulch around the base of your lavender for insulation.
However, you only want to add the mulch for the winter as in the summer it can hold too much water and lavender does not like a lot of moisture.
You can also add a fabric cover over your lavender. This will allow your plant to breathe and receive sunlight while also adding an insulation layer.
Finally, lavender that is planted in containers needs special care. Even if the winters are mild, the container won’t add enough insulation for the roots to survive. It is better to bring the lavender containers inside or if possible, place them in a greenhouse.
How to Choose the Best Spot to Grow Lavender
- Monitor your garden for the sunniest areas, paying attention to surrounding trees and the shade from your house.
- Ensure your soil drains well. Add gravel and sand if necessary.
- Give your lavender plenty of room to grow away from other plants.
- Only water if it hasn’t rained in a while.
- If you have particularly cold winters, consider wrapping your plants in cloth to give them an extra layer of insulation.
Is lavender an easy plant to grow?
We hope you aren’t thrown off by lavender’s needs. Really, picking the best environment is the hardest part. Once you start growing your lavender, it’s actually quite easy.
Lavender doesn’t need a lot of water so if you go on vacation in the summer, it will still be alive when you come back. It also doesn’t need fertilizer so that saves you both time and money.
The hardest part about growing lavender is you need to trim it back in the fall. If not, the woody parts of your lavender plant will grow and you won’t have as many flowers.
To prune your lavender, wait until it stops flowering. Try to prune back all the stems by about a third. You can be a bit creative and re-shape your lavender plant each year for a more aesthetic look.
Lavender is a perennial so it will continue to grow each year. The earlier you get into a routine of pruning, the better it will look as it ages.
The one important tip to remember is that the old wood won’t grow into new lavender. Once the base of the plant takes on that woody texture, it is permanent.
Therefore, regular pruning will allow your lavender to continue to grow and produce new branches full of fragrant flowers.
What is xeriscaping?
This may be a new gardening term but it is quickly growing in popularity. Xeriscaping refers to landscaping an area in such a manner that you can promote water conservation.
The emphasis is on native plants to your areas, as they naturally grow according to only rainfall. Plants in xeriscaping often have gorgeous flowers in an effort to attract bees and other pollinators.
Lavender is one of the most popular xeriscaping plants. Its long stems and abundance of tiny flowers attract bees and the plant does not need a lot of watering.
While you still need to maintain your lavender plants, they are a great addition to your garden if you want an easier, more natural experience.
Tips to Grow Lavender
- Ensure your lavender has 6 to 8 hours of sunlight each day
- It’s better to under water than to overwater
- Keep the soil well-draining so the roots don’t start to rot
- Trim back surrounding plants to ensure adequate airflow
- Water by hand and not a sprinkling system so you can gauge whether your lavender actually needs more water
- There is no need to add fertilizer
- Prune in late summer for a more vibrant plant
Lavender needs full sun, good soil drainage, and not too much water. There are different varieties, so be sure to choose the one right for your climate. After planting, you simply have to prune once a year and spend the rest of the time enjoying your fragrant flowers.