Planting lavender in your garden has its many perks. Grow it for its beautiful flower and aromatic fragrance, or as a landscape item for its beauty and ability to stand heat and drought.
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Fresh flowers may be used in sauces, marinades, and desserts. You can also dry the blossoms up and use them in teas, salts, potpourri, sachets, and crafts.
Here are the things you will need in planting lavender:
- Soil – Plant your lavender in a well-drained slightly alkaline soil with pH between 6.7 and 7.3. Set them out 12 to 18 inches apart. You can add builder’s sand to the soil before planting to increase drainage.The soil should have low fertility.
- Location – Choose an open area with full sun and good air circulation. Lavender does not tolerate excessive soil moisture and humidity. For this reason, you may plant this plant in a raised bed, along a wall, or near the top of a slope.
- Water – Water your lavenders deeply but infrequently, when the soil is almost dry. When there is too much humidity, fungus may attack the plant and will turn its leaves brown. You may mulch with pebbles or sprinkle sand around the base of the plant for faster evaporation. Young lavenders must be looked after daily especially on very hot days. Once it is established in the garden, be sure that it is watered deeply very 7 to 10 days for the first 2 years. Lavender becomes heat and drought tolerant once it is well rooted.
- Mulching – Mulch with light-colored mulch like shells or gravel to prevent weeds from growing around your lavenders. Do not use hardwood mulch. The sun will reflect light, keeping the plants dry and helping to deter disease and enhance bloom and oil production.
- Pruning – This is best performed in early spring or at harvest time. Trim back foliage 1 to 2 inches for low growing varieties. Once the plant reaches its second year, all 3 to 4 foot lavenders should be cut back by about a third to prevent it from getting overly woody. Lavender flowers bloom in summer; you can clip faded blooms to encourage continued blooming throughout the warm season. Pruning will help the plant grow full and rounded and deter sprawling, which can cause the main stems to split and break.
- Fertilizer – Fertilize each plant in the fall with a bone meal or other phosphorus-rich fertilizers to make it stronger. Work the fertilizer into the first inch of soil or allow rain to soak it in.
- Harvesting – Flowers will keep their perfume for months when you harvest just before they are entirely open. Harvest lavender stems at any time by cutting them from the plant. However, avoid clipping more than every third stem to keep the plant looking full. You may turn them up-side-down, suspended from a nail, string or wire in a hot, dark, dry location for drying. Allow the lavender to dry for about 10-14 days. Sometimes lavenders will bloom a second time in fall.