Planting lavender (Lavandula) is a great way to start off the spring gardening season. Easy to grow, these fragrant flowers can be pink, blue, grey, white or purple. A little effort now will pay off for years to come as this low maintenance perennial yields its aromatic and useful blossoms. Purchase a plant from a nursery, choose the right location, prepare the soil and plant. Just add a little fertilizer and water and watch it grow. Following these simple tips will provide a high likelihood of success.
The easiest way to plant lavender is to start with an established potted plant purchased from a nursery. Many lavender varieties can be started from seed, but that is more difficult and doesn’t have a high success rate. Choose a plant in a 4″ to 8″ pot with healthy leaves that are green (or gray depending on the variety) but not brown.
Choose a location that gets plenty of sun, as lavender is a sun loving plant. It will do fine with some shade but needs several hours of sun each day to thrive. The area must also be one that drains well. Lavender is a plant the requires little water, and in fact will not survive if it stays wet for too long.
Speaking of soil, prepare a fast draining mixture of equal parts of sand, compost and native soil. Dig a hole that is two to three times the diameter of your pot and twice as deep. Fill the hole half way with your prepared soil, remove the plant from the pot, loosen the dirt around the roots slightly and place the plant in the center of the hole. Finish filling the hole with your soil mixture.
Water regularly for the first couple of weeks to get the plant established, then water sparingly when the soil is dry. Treating the plant with a light application of natural fertilizer such as bone meal or fish emulsion will give the plant a good start.
Though the plant may bloom only lightly (or not at all) its first year, the second year will produce significant growth and 50 blossoms or more. A mature lavender can produce several hundred wonderful smelling blossoms that can be dried and used for aromatherapy, cooking, or a heavenly scented sachet.
With a little care, lavender plants will last many seasons. Make plans now to start the spring gardening season by planting lavender and enjoy the fruits of your labor for years.