Lavender's floral yet piquant smell perfumes soaps, lotions, bath oils and -- for the adventurous -- baked goods, savory dishes and cocktails. Most garden plants grow best when given plenty of sun, and lavender is no exception. Lavender can be finicky to grow, needing a light touch with watering, and inadequate sun harms these plant.
Lavender plants grow poorly in the shade. The more sun these plants get per day, in general, the better they fare. Patti O'Neal, a Colorado master gardener, recommends eight hours of sun per day for lavender plants.
Lavender plants grow well either in containers or in the ground. Aside from full sun, these plants enjoy a slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil with a pH ranging from 6.0 to 8.0. Well-draining soil prevents lavender plants from contracting root rot; wet, boggy soils kill these plants. While lavender plants do best with hot weather, they can handle snow, rain and chill if planted in well-draining soil.
If your garden does not get a lot of sun, grow lavender in containers so that you can move them around with the sun. If you choose container lavender, repot it annually into a container that is just a couple inches bigger than the root ball. According to Mountain Valley Growers, gardeners in hot climates can grow lavender in partly shady areas that get afternoon shade. However, shade can prevent lavender from growing and developing those scented blossoms.
Just because you can't put lavender plants in the shade does not mean you can't have a shade herb garden. The following herbs tolerate some degree of shade: mint, basil, chervil, chives, parsley, sage and tarragon. Mints particularly welcome shade, notes horticulturist Deborah L. Brown. Save your lavender for sunny plots, and put these herbs in a part shade area instead.
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