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How to Grow Lavender

Three Methods:Getting StartedPlantingMaintenance

Easy to grow and easy to appreciate, lavender is a welcome addition to any garden, with its beautiful flowers and wonderful aroma. All you need to grow and maintain this fragrant flowering herb is a suitable spot in the garden and a little horticultural know-how. You'll have green fingers in no time!

Method 1
Getting Started

  1. Image titled Grow Lavender Step 1
    Choose a well-lit location. Lavender is a Mediterranean herb, so it thrives in hot, sunny locations. Choose a spot in your garden where the plant will receive full sun for at least eight hours a day. The spot should also be as sheltered as possible, to protect the plant from winter winds.[1]
    • Planting your lavender next to a large stone or wall may be a good idea, as this will provide extra heat and shelter.
  2. Image titled Grow Lavender Step 2
    Make sure the soil has adequate drainage. Dampness is the enemy of lavender, so your most important consideration should be to choose a location where the soil is well-drained. The soil should be light, fluffy and well-aerated for optimum lavender-growing conditions. [1]
    • To improve soil's drainage, you can mix in a little builder's sand before planting.[2]
    • Alternatively, try planting your lavender on a raised bed, at the top of a slope or beside a wall to maximize drainage.[2]
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    Check the pH level of the soil. Lavender grows best in slightly alkaline conditions, with an ideal soil pH level of between 6.7 to 7.3.[2] You can test your soil's pH level using a commercial test probe. These are available for purchase at home improvement stores and garden centers.
    • If necessary, you can increase the alkalinity of your soil by adding a little lime. You should add about 2 or 3 oz of lime for every cubic foot of soil.[2]
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    Purchase your lavender. There are many species of lavender available for home growing. Whether they flourish or fail will depend on the conditions in the area you live in. The types of lavender sold at your local nursery or garden center will usually be compatible with your area's conditions, though you can check the label on the plant or ask a nursery employee if you are unsure.[3]
    • Mustead and Hidcote Lavender are two especially hardy varieties.
    • While it is possible to grow lavender from seeds, this is not recommended as the seeds require scarification and chilling and can take nearly a month to germinate.[1]

Method 2

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    Dig a hole just big enough for the roots. Use a trowel to dig a hole in the location you have chosen for your lavender. The hole should just be deep enough and wide enough to contain the roots. Lavender actually grows best in slightly cramped conditions.[1]
    • If you're planting the lavender in a pot or container, choose one that's just large enough to contain the roots, with an inch to spare on each side.
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    Prepare the soil. Prepare the soil to receive the lavender and optimize its growing conditions by placing two heaped handfuls of 1" round stone, along with half a cup (total) of lime, well composted manure and lime meal into the hole. Mix well. Cover this blend with a light layer of soil.[3]
    • The stone will help with drainage, the lime will alkalize the soil, while the bone meal and fertilizer will help to get your lavender plant off to a good start.[3]
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    Water lavender in its nursery pot before planting. You should water the lavender plant in the pot you bought it in, at least an hour before planting. This will ensure that the roots are hydrated, but not damp, before going into the soil.[3]
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    Prune the lavender. Lightly prune your lavender before planting. This will ensure good air circulation through the stems, encourage new growth and prevent the center of the stems from becoming woody, which is a common problem with lavender.[4]
  5. Image titled Grow Lavender Step 9
    Prepare the roots. Remove the lavender plant from its nursing pot and gently shake to remove any excess soil from the roots. The lavender should be planted into its new home with bare roots, to ensure it quickly and easily adapts to its new growing environment.[3]
  6. Image titled Grow Lavender Step 10
    Plant the lavender. Carefully place the lavender plant into its prepared spot and rest it on a layer of soil slightly above the stone blend you mixed earlier. Make sure the roots do not come in direct contact with the blend. Fill in any extra space around and above the lavender's roots with soil, lightly patting it into place around the base of the stems.[3]
    • If you're planting more than one lavender plant, leave about 36 inches (91.4 cm) between each plant. This will guarantee good air circulation and allow the lavender space to grow.[3]

Method 3

  1. Image titled Grow Lavender Step 11
    Fertilize the soil. Lavender is a fairly low maintenance plant and will only need to be fertilized once a year. Use a light top dressing of mixed compost and bone meal, sometime in early spring. You can also feed the lavender using a liquid fish emulsion or seaweed extract once or twice over the course of the summer.[4]
  2. Image titled Grow Lavender Step 12
    Water sparingly. As mentioned before, dampness is the enemy of lavender and if the roots of the plant become excessively damp, it will kill the plant quicker than any drought or freezing temperatures. In fact, over-watering new lavender plants in spring is the main cause of growth failure.
    • To achieve the proper level of watering, make sure that the soil becomes completely dry between each watering. However the plant itself should not be allowed to become dehydrated.[4]
    • If you're growing lavender in a pot, make sure the pot has adequate drainage, to prevent water from pooling at the bottom.
  3. Image titled Grow Lavender Step 13
    Prevent weeds. You can prevent weeds from growing around the base of your lavender plant by covering the soil with a thin layer of mulch. Use a light-colored mulch, such as coarse sand, gravel or oyster shells.[3] Mulch will also help to protect the plant's roots from winter frosts.[4]
  4. Image titled Grow Lavender Step 14
    Prune the lavender plant. You should prune your lavender plant about once a year, preferably in spring before the new growth begins. You should prune about 1/3 of the entire plant, using a pruning shears or hedge trimmer to achieve a tidy, rounded shape.[4]
    • Pruning your lavender will encourage new growth and stop the the plant from sprawling.
    • Just make sure not to over-prune your lavender as this may kill new growth altogether.
  5. Image titled Grow Lavender Step 15
    Harvest the flowers. The best time to harvest your lavender is when the bottom flowers of each stem are just beginning to open. This is when the lavender is at its most vibrant and fragrant. Cut the flowers at the base of the stems, near the foliage.[3]
    • To dry the lavender, bundle about a hundred of the flowers together, tie with a rubber band and hang indoors in a warm, dark and dry location, suspended upside down from a nail, for about 10 to 14 days.[3]
    • If you want to decorate your house with lavender, place the flowers in a vase, but do not put the roots in water. This just causes the flowers to fall off faster and makes the stems mushy.[3]


  • Foliage typically ranges from dusty green to silvery gray and a few species have bright chartreuse leaves. Not all types are readily available, but may need researching through mail order web sites or seed catalogs.
  • Some varieties of lavender can be grown from seeds (especially variety "Munster"), or pots of live plants can be purchased in the spring. Favorite varieties include "Grosso", "Provence", "Royal Purple", "Gray Lady", and "Hidcote".
  • A perennial, lavender grows from 1 to 3 feet (0.3 to 0.9 m) tall, depending on the variety. It needs at least six hours of direct sun each day, more is better. Lavender plants grow in hardiness zones 5 through 10 and are planted about 15 inches (38.1 cm) apart.
  • The lavender blooms come in midsummer and range from lavender-hued gray to a vibrant royal purple. There are also species with blooms in other colors: white, pink, and a yellow-green. The flowers themselves are small, sometimes bud-like but open and full on others, and they grow up the spiky stems.
  • Lavender's older stems are woody, and the plant does not divide as easily as many perennials. If moving is necessary, lift the plant in spring just after new growth has started and replant immediately. The plant can be propagated by layering.


  • Lavender is susceptible to root rot. To avoid this, never over-water your lavender plants and keep winter watering to a minimum.

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Categories: Growing Flowers | Growing Herbs and Spices