Lavender

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Lavender is a great thing to grow in your garden. It looks good all year round, is relatively low maintenance, attracts beneficial insects and of course it smells wonderful.

Growing Lavender:

It is best to plant lavender between April and May, as the soil is beginning to warm up. It is perfectly happy on well-draining soil of poor or moderate fertility and it is extremely drought tolerant. It is ideal for chalky or alkaline soils in areas of full sun. Though it will grow in areas with clay soil it will tend to be quite short lived and the stems will become woody. If you have a soil that is on the heavy side then you should mix in some organic matter and gravel to improve drainage. It is also a good idea to plant lavender on a mound or ridge so roots are not waterlogged.

Lavender can be grown in the garden or in pots, though in pots care should be taken to ensure that you do not over-water and the soil medium should be mixed with grit to ensure good drainage. Wherever lavender is planted, care should be taken to avoid too much water, especially in the winter.

Lavender can be grown from seed, though it should be noted that this can be tricky since the seed is slow to germinate and germination can be patchy, especially if conditions are not optimal. Lavender is easy to buy from your local garden centre or plant nursery and this is the route that most people will take. You could also divide an existing plant to create a new plant for your garden.

Lavender will do better if it is pruned every year to keep it compact. Secateurs should be used to remove the flower heads and cut back this years growth by around an inch, making sure that some new green growth remains. Lavender is usually pruned after flowering in the late summer, though some books will recommend pruning in the spring. If you have a lavender bush that has become woody and poor then it is best to replace it as lavender does not grow readily from old wood.

Why grow lavender in the garden?

Lavender is a great addition to a garden both for its appearance and smell but it is also great for the bees and other beneficial insect life. If you are planning a wildlife garden then lavender could be a great addition, likewise, consider lavender for companion planting in a kitchen garden.

Lavender can be dried for use in the house or even used in the making of soaps and perfumes in the home. It also has some culinary uses.

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Quick Facts

Latin Name
Lavandula spica L.