How to Grow Lavender Plants

Lavender plants are easy to grow provided they have the right conditions, these are Mediterranean plants so enjoy full sun and good drainage. They will grow in all soil types that don’t suffer from winter wet (in which case you may be better choosing one of our hedges for wet soil).

Very acidic soils (where Rhododendrons grow very well) will benefit from having some lime (around a handful for each square metre) added to a site where you intend to grow lavender plants as they prefer neutral to alkaline soil conditions.

If your soil is on the heavy side, there are ways of improving it so lavenders will be successful. You could grow them in raised beds that will drain more freely, otherwise incorporate some grit or coarse horticultural shard sand to open up your soil so that excess winter wet can drain. Lavenders are very hardy plants, problems occurring over the Winter are almost certainly a result of winter wet rather than Winter cold. When planting it can pay to create some shallow mounds and plant in these as they will be well above the water table.

Lavender plants grown in soil with reliable drainage will usually have a life span of at least twice those in heavier and more unsuitable growing conditions.

If the soil is poor you may like to add a little garden compost or well-rotted manure to improve it but do be sparing, and mix it well with the surrounding soil.

Lavender plants may of course be grown in pots and can make a beautiful and fragrant addition to a patio or terrace. Again, good drainage is required so do ensure the pot has generous drainage holes in the base. Ideally choose a good size pot of at least 30cm across or larger and fill with an equal mix of soilless compost, John Innes no 2 or 3 compost and finally coarse grit so that the pot drains quite sharply during the Winter.

Lavender plants need regular watering to begin with while they establish (which should be quite quickly), try to water the soil and not the plants as they dislike wet foliage and once they are growing away well, stop watering altogether (The only exception being Lavenders grown in pots which will need regular watering during the growing season).

While newly planted Lavender will need watering while they establish, be careful not to overdo it so that the soil does not become saturated, a little water goes a long way. (And very wet soil can take a long time to dry out!)

Lavender plants are one of the few species that we do not recommend mulching, while most garden and hedging plants appreciate the conserved moisture and a cool root run, Lavender plants dislike it and prefer the heat and dryness, mulching can cause the foliage to stay wet and be the focus of disease later. The key to growing healthy Lavender is to keep good air flow, full sun and dry.

We recommend adding a sparing amount of bone meal fertiliser when planting, well mixed with the surrounding soil and rootgrow can also be a valuable aid to establishment.