Lavender (Lavendula) is a wonderful and dependable perennial to have in a sunny garden. Its lovely purple flowers dance above green-grey foliage. Many people who plant lavender have visions of the countryside in southern France where it is grown for the perfume industry.
As you might guess, lavender is very aromatic, giving off a fragrance that helps people relax. To bring this fragrance into your home, simply cut some branches in mid-July, tie them together with some string, and hang them in a warm place. The fragrance, and the purple flowers, will last for several months.
Lavender is also a very good pollinator plant, attracting many bees and butterflies to the garden. Because it is fragrant, deer and rabbits tend to leave it alone.
Lavender can be used as a low hedge, is ideal in an herb garden, looks great in any perennial plantings, and thrives in flower pots.
Growing lavender is not very difficult, but the plant does require some specific conditions to thrive.
Light: Lavender required full sun. A little afternoon shade, however, helps them thrive in hot summers.
Soil: Lavender prefers moderately fertile soil so do not use much compost in planting holes. It seems to like a little sand mixed into the soil as well.
Water: Water young plants as you would any other young plant. Lavender is drought tolerant and does not like a lot of water after establishment. Over watering can cause stress and death.
Fertilizer: Less is more. Lavender plants do not require fertilizing.
Mulch: The same rule applies as with fertilizer. Lavender is a drought tolerant plant and only requires a light layer of mulch. In colder climates, however, an extra layer of mulch for the winter will help it survive.
Pruning: Deadhead spent flower as the face. This will encourage a second flowering. Lavender produces its best flowers on young stems so cutting woody stems back by 1/3 in the spring will produce better flowering.
Dividing: Lavender does not divide well.
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