Lavender is a beautiful addition to any garden, as it not only enhances the appearance of your yard, but is also useful in your home and smells terrific. The gray-green foliage and light purple blossoms of this plant are unmistakable.
Growing lavender isn't difficult, but it will take lots of care and attention to keep your plants healthy and flourishing. Follow these steps and gardening tips to enhance your garden with this herb.
- Lavender can be planted from seeds, cuttings from existing plants, or as purchased potted plants. The best time to plant is in the late spring or early summer, when the weather is nice and warm and the danger of frost is well past. Garden herbs grow best during the warmer months.
- As with almost all plants, there are many different types of lavender on the market. Talk to an expert at your garden store to figure out which variety will grow best in your garden, considering all of the conditions there.
- When growing herbs, dry, loose, well-drained soil is a must for lavender. Find a spot in your garden that gets lots of sunshine, and add a bit of organic fertilizer to the soil when planting herbs. Plant the seeds, trimmings, or plants about a foot apart from each other. If you're planting seeds, they will take about two weeks to germinate.
- Add some mulch or compost around the plant, and water the soil just until moist. You won't have to continue to water your lavender plants, as they actually prefer dry soil.
- You can take cuttings from your lavender plants when they are in full bloom. Remove the flowers by cutting at the base of the stem. Remove and discard dead or dried up flowers, stems, and leaves as you go along.
- It's best to take cuttings from your lavender plants in the morning, just after the dew has evaporated. The hot afternoon sun lessens the potency of the fragrant oils that smell so good.
- To dry your lavender cuttings to include in bath products, potpourri, or other household uses, tie the stems in small bunches and hang upside down in a warm, dry place. It will take about ten days to dry out completely. Once dry, store your lavender in an airtight bag or container to maintain the scent.
- Most lavender plants will only flower for three years or so. If you want to keep a steady supply of lavender in your garden, it's a good idea to add and nurture new plants each year, as space allows.
- Harsh winter conditions can kill lavender plants. The moisture from melting snow as well as freezing temperatures are very unkind to sun-loving lavender. Protection from wind and a thick layer of mulch will help your plants to survive the winter. In spring, resist pruning the plants until new growth is appearing.
Lavender is a very satisfying addition to any garden. The pleasure you'll get from watching these blooms appear is bested only by the enjoyment you'll get from the wonderful, heavenly aroma. Now that you've learned how to grow lavender, you can try your hand at other perennial garden plants.