The two basic requirements for successful lavender growing are full sun and good drainage. Lavender is a very hardy plant and will tolerate some neglect but for best results try to follow our plant care guidelines.
Lavenders need a sunny place in the garden where they receive sun for all or most of the day. They don’t like to be grown under trees.
Lavenders grow best in neutral to alkaline soil* which is free draining. They don’t like to have long periods of wet at their roots.
If your soil is a bit heavy, or not well drained it can be improved by digging a large hole and forking over the bottom of the hole. Then mix sharp sand or gravel to the soil that will surround the lavender plant roots. On heavy soils the plant may also be planted on a slight mound to improve the drainage away from the roots.
*Lavender x intermedia will grow on slightly acid soils and Lavender stoechas will grow on more acid soils.
If you want to plant your lavenders randomly with other plants, depending on the ultimate size of your lavender, we would leave 18-36in (45-90cm) between plants. If you have space try to plant in groups of 3’s or 5’s this will give you an effective drift of colour.
If you want to create a hedge again, depending on the ultimate size of your lavender selected we would leave 12-16in (30-40cm) between plants for a lavender that will grow up to 2ft (60cm) wide.
For a wider growing lavender selected over 2ft (60cm) wide we would leave 16 - 20in (40-50cm) between plants.
In the summer plants in pots will need frequent watering, but remember be careful not to waterlog lavender.
Lavender plants in the ground once established should not need watering. For newly planted lavenders give the plant a good drink of water 3 times a week rather than every day for the first couple of months, but remember be careful not to waterlog lavenders. We would always suggest checking your plants carefully as individual garden conditions can vary and adjust your care accordingly.
Growing in Pots
The dwarf, smaller growing and stoechas lavenders can be grown in pots which are bigger than 12in ( 30cm). Use a free draining potting compost ideally a John Innes No 2 or No 3 mixed with some grit.
Remember though that these plants are dependant on you for food and water! A slow release fertiliser is ideal for feeding, just push a couple of food plugs into the soil.
Lavenders in pots will need potting into a larger size pot regularly every year or so. Many people enjoy a plant on the patio for a few years then if it becomes too large plant it in the garden.
Lavenders do well on poor soils and need little fertiliser, we just add a sprinkling of potash around the base of the plant in the late summer and spring. Do not add high nitrogen feeds or manure this can cause the plants to grow tall and weak.
This is a very important task to keep your lavenders in best condition a plant that is not pruned regularly will tend to become woody and leggy.
Pruning L. angustifolia, x intermedia and x chaytorae
If pruned correctly a lavender angustifolia, x intermedia and x chaytorae will live for 15-20 years with lavender stoechas living a little less up to 10 years.
Be quite bold lavenders need a good hard pruning after flowering.
The ideal time to prune is late summer when the flowering is over. Trace down the flower stalks to the point where they come out of the bush and then also cut off 1- 2in (2- 5cm) of leaf growth as well as the flower stalk.
If you have inherited an old neglected lavender, you can try to rescue it by taking drastic action. If there are some small shoots of leaf growth low down in the bush you could cut to just above this with large pruners, the plant may well make new growth from the base. If it does not recover dig it out and pick a lovely new lavender for that space.
Pruning Lavender stoechas
These are more difficult to know when to prune as they keep producing a succession of flowers from spring to autumn.
Take off the dead flowers as they finish through the flowering period to promote flower development. At the end of August prune off about 1/3rd of the stems.