In this video, we're going to master the art of growing lavender.
A plant that is prized for its scent, its use in a pollinator friendly garden,
its medicinal uses.
All sorts of beautiful things to use lavender for but many gardeners struggle
with it until they watch this video.
Tip number one is planting and placement. Now,
I like to start my lavender from start,
so typically what I'll do is I'll go to a local nursery and just support them by
buying a lavender and transplanting it in.
The best time of year to do that is going to be the very early spring when you
can work the ground or, if in a raised bed,
when you can actually work in your raised beds.
That gives the plant time to establish roots,
set itself up really well for the growing season and then of course it'll go
into its dormancy as fall comes.
Now if you're watching this video and it is not early spring, that's still fine.
I might buy a slightly larger size lavender and then transplant that in so it's
a little bit more hardy and can survive the colder, more dormant time.
As far as spacing,
a good rule of thumb is around two or three feet away from the next plant.
As you can see, I've broken that rule of thumb pretty heavily here,
but I'm keeping this very well manicured.
And so remember later on in the video we're doing the pruning tip,
so you'll learn how to do the same thing. Generally speaking,
that's a good rule of thumb.
You're going to want to place it in an area that gets a nice southern exposure,
even if you're in a colder climate.
We're coming up on a tip that's going to help those of you in a colder climate,
but it wants a 10 plus hours of direct sun a day,
in a perfect world, and it wants a soil that's nice and dry. Speaking of soil,
that brings us right to tip number two, the soil and planting conditions.
this is a plant that is native to the Mediterranean and many of the herbs in my
herb bed, and most of your herb beds, are also native to the Mediterranean.
And what that means is we have to respect where they came from, right?
You have to pay honor to the conditions that they evolved in.
And so what that means is you need to give them a soil that is not overly rich
in nutrients. They can really survive without that. They don't need it.
So you can give them a somewhat poor or unimproved soil provided it doesn't hold
onto a lot of water. It wants to drain really well.
And so the nemesis would be a clay soil. If you have clay or heavy soil,
the best way to amend that for the purposes of planning lavender would be to add
in compost. A lot of people will add in something like sand or just perlite.
It's a better idea to add in some organic matter to help loosen up the soil.
And that's really gonna do the best.
In this particular bed here I have just a slightly lighter soil than the rest of
the beds in my front yard because most of the things I'm planting in here prefer
that. And that's another good tip for growing lavender, really any plant,
is to plant like-minded plants in the same bed.
Tip number three is cold climate lavender growing.
A lot of us don't live in the beautiful sunny zone 10B that I live in.
And so being mindful of that, what you'll want to do is grow your lavender,
ideally in a container, then you have more flexibility, right?
So you can put it in a grow bag, you can put it in a standard container.
You just want to really make sure that you're even more careful about your
watering because it's a lot easier to overwater something, especially lavender,
in a container. Now the benefit, besides portability,
that a container affords you is the ability to take it in and out of your house
when temperatures drop. So if you do get some really intense rains,
if you do get some really intense low temps,
what you can do is you can take your lavender indoors,
place it right up next to a south facing window,
give it as much sun as you can possibly give it, and if needed,
supplement it with a grow light.
But it does afford you the ability to take that lavender in,
especially when you get towards that fall/winter,
you can actually just take your lavender in and store it.
The fourth tip is going to be the use of mulch.
Most plants will recommend a nice coating of mulch,
especially in our vegetable gardens, to really protect the layers of the soil.
Now in keeping with lavender's desires to not have overly moist soil,
if you do use mulch,
you can see I have some very light sort of wood trimmings here.
You don't want to use a heavy layer. I can get right to the soil right there.
And if you want to use some sort of decorative mulch,
what I would recommend is something like a pea gravel,
which has a similar look to this little chunk of perlite,
but of course it's much heavier and it's more uniform.
And that in a container especially,
will give it a nice uniform look to the surface without holding onto way too
much moisture in the soil.
Tip number five is going to be harvesting our lavender.
This is why we grow it for the most part,
unless you're growing it as a pollinator plant like I do,
but even I will still harvest some lavender.
So a good rule of thumb is to harvest when the flowers are maybe 25% to 50%
open. That's a good time to start doing it. And then as far as how to do it,
what you want to do is come down and harvest right above the woodiness.
So you can take the green growth off right above the woodiness and then you'll
you can wrap them in bundles and hang dry them upside down for maybe 10 to 14
days in a cool dry, dark place. And while you're harvesting,
that can also be a good time to get into our three bonus tips for pruning.
Those were our five tips,
but now we have three pruning tips as a bonus to help you keep shaping and
maintaining your lavender for many years to come.
You can keep a single lavender plant for a minimum of five years with good
I've heard reports of people keeping them from 10 all the way up to over 20
years. Now that's up to you.
You can certainly pull and replace if you so choose,
but let's talk tip number one as far as timing.
A really good rule of thumb is to prune it twice a year,
once after new growth starts to come out.
To just manage and shape the growth for that year,
you can actually do this in conjunction with your harvesting if you so choose.
The second time to prune is either mid summer into late summer/early fall,
and that's to really cut it back and to maintain it for that dormancy period and
then for the season to come.
Pruning tip two is for those of you who like myself live in a year round growing
climate. I've seen people,
especially on this huge bush that's over by the coffee shop I like to go to,
prune it three,
four times a year and it looks amazing once it comes back.
And so don't hesitate if you're really trying to manicure and shape a really
healthy and vigorously growing lavender to give it a nice prune.
Our final pruning tip number three is specifically where to prune.
So let's go ahead and peel apart our lavender and take a look at it.
It's very much like rosemary. When you're looking at it,
you want to look for woody growth, where the woody growth starts.
And so right down here where the tip of my shears are,
you can see this is pretty heavy woody growth.
There's not a lot of green offshoot below.
And so we want to take that as a cue and not prune below that.
And so what I might do here is I might locate,
we have some offshoots coming out here and here and here is a piece that I could
take off. So if I was to take off this piece right here,
we're still leaving quite a bit of growth.
We have some young offshoots coming off here and it's gonna manicure the plant,
but it's not going to hinder the growth by cutting below the woody section.
With those five tips plus the three extra Epic pruning tips,
you should be able to keep a lavender bush alive and looking healthy and happy
year round no matter where you live. So if you like this video,
please consider cultivating that like button,
throwing a subscribe and dropping a comment down below.
And let me know what care guide you'd like me to cover next.
Lavender was a hotly requested one. It's one of my favorite plants to grow,
not only for pollination but also for the fragrance. And its just many,
many uses both inside the garden and outside the garden. Until next time,
good luck in the garden and keep on growing.