Lavender: growing lavender

Photo of Lavender

A must have plant particularly in the South of France.  Lavenders have a fabulous scent, attractive grey green foliage which remains over winter, flower colours including white and pink but more commonly a range from pale blue to a gorgeous purple, and they can be dried for their scented flowerheads.

Lavender should be planted in spring in well-drained soil. Here on my clay I tend to plant on sloping soil so that it is well-drained.  Each autumn plants should be cut fairly hard back, but not into the old wood as they will not regrow from here.

lavender

One of the beauties of lavender is that they are so easy to propagate. Cut your autumn clippings back to cuttings of 3-4 cms and push them into the ground and most will root and form small plants by the following autumn. Alternatively lavender cuttings can be raised in pots of gritty compost. They are Mediterranean plants so find them a sunny spot, and leave them to it.

Once established they do not need watering in even the hottest summers.

There are a wide range of lavender cultivars available providing a range of sizes as well as colours. Lavender plants are useful for associating with other mediterranean plants to produce a dry border useful for todays summers and for mixing with blue coloured flowers such as Perovskia and Nepetas to form a blue/grey border.

Lavender Growing Guide

Lavenders require full sun and well-drained soil to perform at their best. Not suprising given that they grow wild on sun-baked hillsides in Provence and across the mediterranean.

Add grit to your soil if drainage could be a problem.

Most lavenders are fully hardy though Lavandula stoechas, typically known as 'French lavender or topped lavender' is less hardy and relatively short lived.

After flowering prune lavenders back hard to keep their beautiful round shape but never cut back to dead wood as this will not regrow.

Flowering spikes can be dried upside down and used for flower arranging or the small scented flowers used for potpourri or lavender sachets.

Lavender can be planted to form a low hedge or integrated into flower borders. Try to have it where you will brush past it as this releases its delicious scent.

Lavender is a key plant in Mediterranean style gardens along with irises and olive trees.

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