The lavender plant grows best in USDA zones 5 to 9, meaning the plant remain hardy in areas where the minimal winter temperature does not fall below a range of -15 to 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Its stalks reach heights of up to 4 feet tall and feature green-gray leaves and fragrant purple flowers that are believed to promote relaxation. As such, lavender is a popular aromatherapy ingredient and its flowers are coveted for their addition to potpourri, sachets, and skin creams and oils. Although lavender plants may take several years of growth before they fully flourish, they eventually make a colorful and fragrant addition to the landscape.
Things You'll Need
- Slow-release fertilizer (optional)
- Gardening shears
Plant lavender in a well-draining area that receives at least four hours of sun a day. Dig a hole that is twice as deep and three times as wide as the plant's root ball. Place the root ball in the hole and add soil mixture that is equal parts sand, soil and compost.
Water the plant twice a week for the first two years of growth, and once week thereafter. Be careful not to over-water---a fully mature lavender plant may not need to be watered at all unless the soil goes through a dry spell. Lavender plants typically stop growing at about 5 years old.
Prune lavender each spring with clippers or garden shears. New growth should be continually cut back for the first year, allowing the plant to grow green and full by the first bloom. Some branches eventually thicken and become woody; trim these off as needed.
Fertilize only when lackluster growth indicates poor soil conditions. Use a slow-release fertilizer such as bone meal in early spring and again in early summer at the height of blossoming.
Wait until several blooms appear before harvesting lavender plants, if so desired. Using a knife or garden shears, grab the stalks in your hand and sever near the body of the plant. Allow the stalks to dry in a cool area with good air circulation.
Tips & Warnings
- Lavender plants can take up three years to mature and produce consistent blooms; be patient to reap the results of proper plant care.
- Consider day lilies as a "companion plant" for lavender. Day lilies are available in a variety of colors and require the same amount of sun as lavender.
- Photo Credit lavender image by Alistair Dick from Fotolia.com
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