South River Lavender

Growing

growing lavender at South River Lavender The two basic requirements for lavender growing are full sun and good soil drainage. Lavender is a drought tolerant plant, but adequate water, especially for young plants, is important for growth and good flower production. It is a very resiliant plant that thrives in neutral to alkaline soil(pH 6.0 to 8.0); a soil condition that most plants would not tolerate.

Fall is generally the best time to plant lavender, but only in climates that do not have severe winters. When considering a planting area, be sure to choose an area that has at least 6 hours of direct sun. If planting in the spring, make sure the young plants are watered regularly to help get them established before the summer heat starts to dry them out faster. It is a delicate balance to water regularly yet not allow the roots to stay wet for long. Good soil drainage is imperative. Many gardeners plant lavender in mounds or elevated rows. This is not always necessary, as long as the soil drains well and the plants are not allowed to stay in a continuous "wet feet" condition.

planting lavender at South River Lavender Lavender plants can thrive in containers, but it requires regular monitoring of the planting medium, nutrients and watering cycle to maintain the health of the plant. Choose a growing medium that drains well; a soiless mixture of peat and vermiculite or a good coarse, sterile, potting soil with organic fertilizer work best with a sand / gravel mixture in the bottom 1/4 of the container.

The size of the container is also important. Choose one that is about 4 to 6 inches larger in diameter than the root ball of the plant. Make sure the container has a drainage hole and does not sit in the water that collects in the dish beneath after watering.

Containers should be repotted every spring and resized for the first few years with new potting mix. Larger lavender varieties and mature plants will grow in pots, but generally need to be transplanted into the ground after two to three years unless placed in very large containers.

Certain types of lavender plants do better than others in container gardens. Consideration should be given to size, heartiness and the ultimate use; i.e. herb garden for culinary use, cut flowers for arrangements or just the simple beauty and appealing aroma of lavender.

Our favorite books on the subject are Ellen Spector Platt's Lavender - How to Grow and Use the Fragrant Herb and Robert Kourik's The Lavender Garden- Beautiful Varieties to Grow and Gather

Pruning

Lavender needs regular pruning. If pruning is not done annually for the first 3 years of growth the plant can become woody with less foliage at the base of the plant, resulting in fewer flower stems. For the first two years, the plant should be trimmed into a ball shape removing all stems and new growth. Lavender grows fast, if planted in the right conditions, and can double in size each year in its first two years. Pruning should be done after the summer and early fall bloom is complete. By the third year the plant is considered mature, and ready to harvest for flower buds. The annual harvest cutting is generally sufficient pruning for its remaining years with minimal trimming to maintain it's shape.