How to Grow Lavender
Lavender is such a spectacular flower. Its dreamy purple blooms remind us of charming English countrysides and wildflower meadows. On top of looking beautiful in the landscape, there are so many incredible benefits that lavender can bring us! Learning how to grow lavender is certainly a worthwhile pursuit—there are so many ways to enjoy it!
Here's Why You Should
Learn How to Grow Lavender
The soothing aroma of lavender has proven aromatherapeutic powers. It's an effective sleep aid, naturally soothing the mind and body, releasing tension, and promoting relaxation. Placing a pouch of dried lavender on your pillow during the day will help you sleep soundly at night. If you're a crafty type who knows their way around DIY concoctions, you can make lavender-infused candles, soaps, lotions, perfumes, and cosmetics!
You probably already knew that lavender smells divine, but did you know it tastes great, too? This edible culinary herb makes delicious aromatic simple syrups for cocktails, lattes, and desserts. You can also use it as a gorgeous garnish for sprinkling on frosted cakes and cookies. It's especially delicious in homemade butter to spread on bread or croissants for a fancy afternoon picnic!
Since lavender is a Mediterranean plant, it's tolerant of high heat and drought, making it a terrific option for Water-Wise landscapes and eco-conscious gardeners. Our Southern coastal climate is pretty similar, so you shouldn't have any trouble learning how to grow lavender here in Orange County.
How to Grow Lavender Outside
Plant lavender in a location that gets at least six hours of direct sunlight every day and plenty of air circulation to prevent mildew. It can be grown equally well in containers or in the ground. Plant it when the weather is mild—ideally from fall through spring. Lavender is very tolerant of dry, sandy soils, so once established you can allow the soil to dry out before rewatering. Water it more frequently for the first month after planting; once it establishes, you can reduce frequency.
If you remove the flower heads right as they look like they're about to fade, you can still use them for crafty stuff while encouraging the plant to bloom even more. Remove spent blooms and any damaged or dead stems, too. If a stem looks dry and you can easily snap it with your fingers, it's done but may still be draining energy from the plant.
Lavender doesn't need much fertilizer—adding too much can encourage more foliage and a loose, open growth but fewer flowers. Applying a slow-release organic flower fertilizer once per year in early spring will work perfectly. Alternatively, you can topdress the soil with a fresh batch of compost.
Pruning your plant twice per year will help it grow to its greatest potential. Prune it the first time immediately after its first summer blooms appear, then again in late September or early October. Start with the dead and damaged parts, making sure to sanitize your blades well after contacting any diseased plant material. Then, cut back each stem by about ⅓, but avoid cutting into dry leafless parts, which may not resprout. You can expect plenty of new, healthy growth to follow!
How Fast Does Lavender Grow?
There are 47 different types of lavender, so the size and growth speed tends to vary. Many compact and dwarf varieties are now available; so be sure to seek them out if you have a smaller space. However, it's a vigorous grower, especially when it's growing in ideal conditions. If you're starting lavender from seed, it should be ready to transplant into the garden within 1–3 months, depending on your chosen variety. From there, you can expect it to reach full maturity within 90–200 days.
Does Lavender Come Back Every Year?
Lavender is a perennial flower in California, so it will grow back every year! It comes from the mint family, so it's similarly fast-growing, drought-tolerant, low-maintenance, and ultra-fragrant. Learning to grow lavender is a surefire way to attract beautiful pollinators to your garden, such as hummingbirds and bees.
Now that you can grow lavender with confidence, visit Roger's Gardens to see all our lavender choices for Orange County! There are so many gorgeous, aromatic varieties—some small and some several feet high. Feel free to ask our in-store experts for recommendations on lavender cultivars to suit your space and use.
For more information about Lavender, view All About Lavender or Gardening 101 Series | Pruning Lavender & Perennials.