Lavender, a Mediterranean evergreen shrub that is fragrant and friendly to bees, is grown for its flowers. There are many varieties of lavender available, including tender, hardy, and half-hardy varieties.
The versatility of lavenders is amazing. They can be used in wildlife gardens, cottage gardens, formal gardens, and even formal gardens. Lavenders can also be planted under shrub roses, or as low-growing hedges, plus they also serve as great companion plants for vegetables. Many lavenders can thrive in pots.
Finding The Type of Lavender To Grow
Your personal preference will determine the type of lavender that you plant. This includes the flower colour and shape as well as the shade and scent of the leaves (some lavenders have more green leaves while others have silvery-grey ones). There are some things you should keep in mind when selecting lavender for your garden. First, Lavandula Angustifolia (English lavender) is more resilient and longer-lived than Lavandula Dentata and Lavandula Stoechas, which are French and Spanish lavender. English lavender may be more attractive than Spanish or French lavender for bees, it is thought.
The traditional English lavender varieties are ‘Hidcote and ‘Munstead. These varieties are undoubtedly beautiful and very popular. But have you ever considered intermediate lavenders instead? These hybrid lavenders are sometimes called “lavendins” and have Lavandula Angustifolia or Lavandula Latifolia as their parents. Lavandin lavenders have a stronger tolerance for wetter soils, and are therefore more resilient than other lavenders. They have a larger habit than English lavenders, and they flower for longer periods. This means that you will enjoy more flowers and bees can get more pollen and nectar. Lavandula intermedia ‘Edelweiss’ and Lavandula intermedia intermedia (Grosso) are two popular hybrid lavenders.
You can grow lavender in full sunlight in well-drained soil. You should grow tender and half-hardy lavenders like Lavandula Stoechas in a protected area. To prevent stems from becoming woody, cut back after flowering.
Place to Grow Lavender
Lavenders thrive on an open spot in full sun with a well-drained soil that is neutral to alkaline. They can withstand drought conditions, but may be affected by heavy, wet soils, especially in winter.
Half-hardy, tender lavenders like Lavandula Stoechas are best grown in pots. They can then be moved to a sunny spot where there is no frost.
Tender lavender should be planted in spring from March to May. Add horticultural grit to your planting hole if you have very heavy soil. This will improve the drainage. A slight mound of soil can help to prevent waterlogging. Lavender should be planted at the same depth as it was in its container. Place the plant in the hole and add a little bone meal. Make sure to water well.
Terracotta pots that have drainage holes are best for planting lavender. Fill with John Innes number. Mix in a few drops of horticultural grit, to aid drainage. Place pots in a sunny area away from shrubbery and trees.
Taking Care of Lavender
Lavandula angustifolia, and Lavandula intermedia types are hardy lavenders that can withstand temperatures as low as -15°C and can be kept in the garden year-round. After flowering, usually in August, prune them. You can cut back very hard, but not into the old wood. This could reduce your flowering potential for next year. Avoid removing any green shoots, as this could cause the plant to die.
Lavandula stoechas are half-hardy lavenders that can flower for a longer season, but they may not be able to survive winter. Prune after the first flush of blooms has faded, but do not prune later than September.
When you grow tender lavenders like Lavandula dentata or Lavender oleifera, it is important to deadhead the plants and prune them if they become raggedy.
Taking Lavender Cuttings
By late summer, take semi-ripe lavender cuttings. The Non-flowering shoots less than 10cm in length should be removed. They should have a woody base with a tip of new growth and a length of about 10cm. Take off some of the lower foliage. Put the cuttings in a plastic container with multi-purpose, peat-free compost. The soil should be about 1 cm below the pots. Place pots in a covered container with a clear plastic bag.