Grown by people for centuries this
hardy evergreen has captured the hearts of gardeners once again. Lavender has recently
experienced a rebirth among modern gardeners. Never out of fashion, English
Lavender is such a romantic perennial that sooner or later nearly everyone wants some in
their garden. From July until September its aromatic grey-green foliage and flowers
fills the air with sweetness. Lavender plants are native to the Mediterranean and
lovers of dry soils and bright sunshine. Your success with Lavender will greatly
depend upon providing the right growing conditions and by selecting varieties that have
been proven to adapt to our not so "Mediterranean" climate.
Growing Lavender Plants:
English Lavender plants will grow in a wide range of growing conditions but it does
best in full sun in a very well drained soil. For best results we recommend amending
your soil with a small amount of compost and a couple of shovels of sand. The sand
will help provide drainage, and good drainage is a critical factor when growing Lavender.
Established plants are extremely drought resistant but you will need to supply water to
newly planted ones but do not over water. One of the biggest mistakes we see people make
is over watering new plants in the spring - you must let the soil dry between waterings or
the plant will perish quickly. It is dampness, more so than cold that is responsible for
killing Lavender plants. Humidity can also be a problem - make sure you do not crowd
the plants so that air can flow between them. In colder areas where the ground often
freezes it is beneficial to add a layer of mulch to help protect the roots.
Your lavender plants will look much better if pruned in early spring. We often
lightly prune just to maintain shape but you can cut back as much as one third on the
taller varieties. Northern gardeners will find that plants will suffer some winter die
back. Do not prune what appears to be die back until plants are showing signs of
growth -- often the stems that appear dead will put on new growth. Selective pruning
can be done throughout the growing season and we always dead head spent flower heads to
keep the plants looking tidy.
Selecting Lavender Plants
We have put together what we feel are the best varieties of Lavender for growing in a
wide range of gardening climates. These plants have all been grown successfully in zones 5
Propagation: seed , division, and stem cuttings
Problems: Soil must drain well or plants will not survive
Notes: May need extra winter protection in the colder areas of zone
5. Add extra layer of mulch or compost in early winter.