Lavender is a herb and as such it needs a well-draining soil, this makes it ideal for planting in pots, however borders benefit greatly from many varieties of lavender from English to French.
Although the English lavender is hardier than the French varieties, they still need the same care when planting as they each enjoy loose soil with plenty of nutrients that is slightly damp but not sodden.
If you are buying plug plants the best time is between April and May depending on the weather. The hardier varieties will resist a light frost however you may want to wait until all risk has passed. Lavender plants
will grow easily in poor soil, making it ideal for many tricky spots in the garden however it does prefer those soils that border on alkaline and it enjoys the sunshine.
Lavender can drown quite easily and will become woody and wilted in heavier soils. You can prevent this by using compost and gravel to enable oxygen to slow to the roots. This intolerance of damp actually makes them more tolerant to drought so they won’t punish you if you forget to water them for a few days in dry weather.
For planting a lavender hedge, space plants a foot apart.
Planting lavender in pots is ideal for the less hardy varieties such as French lavender as you can shield them from harsher temperatures and winds, ensure the soil is free draining and add nutrients with the compost you choose. We recommend a large pot as once it starts filling the patio with its wonderful scent you won’t be able to get enough of it. Choose one at least a foot in diameter and fill with multipurpose compost. You can add gravel or broken pots at the base to help drainage whereas slow release fertiliser will ensure feed all summer.
They do enjoy a good drink throughout the year but will drown if they become overwatered in the winter. Some will also need to be brought inside during the frost which is no great inconvenience as they will make the home smell of that lovely relaxing scent too!
Planting lavender seeds is simple and you can start as soon as you see the first signs of spring. Ideally you should sow them 6-8 weeks before the frosts end, under cover indoors. They will thrive if only covered with a little soil as they love light in order to germinate; they also like to grow just half an inch apart.
When you do see more than just a couple of sets of leaves gently transfer them to bigger pots or peat pots with some slow release feed. You can trim the growing tip if you’d like bushy plants. When they are around
eight centimetres tall you can transfer them to a cold frame before following the how to plant lavender directions above!