How To Grow

How To Grow Lavender In Your Yard

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Lavender is a beautiful and fragrant herb that is easy to grow in the yard, with its delicate purple flowers and calming aroma adding a touch of beauty and serenity to any garden. 

Full sunlight, good drainage, and sandy soil are some of the main factors that determine the growth of this flower. In this guide, we will provide 10 easy steps on how to grow lavender in your garden.

1. Select Appropriate Variety

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Choosing the right variety is crucial for a successful lavender harvest. Therefore, the first step in growing lavender involves selecting the appropriate variety based on the climate and intended use. Lavender can vary in characteristics such as size, color, fragrance, and cold tolerance.

Varieties such as English lavender are better suited for colder climates, while others, like Spanish lavender, thrive in warmer zones. Additionally, certain varieties, such as French lavender, boast a stronger flavor, making them ideal for culinary use. 

2. Pick a Sunny Location

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Picking a sunny location for your lavender means choosing a spot that receives at least 6–8 hours of direct sunlight daily. This is essential for healthy growth, abundant flowering, and a strong fragrance.

Without enough sunlight, the lavender may become leggy, produce few flowers, and have a weak aroma. Moreover, consider good drainage to prevent root rot, and raised beds are ideal in areas with poor drainage.

3. Get the Soil Ready

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Preparing the soil for lavender is crucial for its successful growth. It involves steps that ensure the ideal environment for its roots to thrive. Lavender prefers slightly alkaline soil with a pH between 6.5 and 7.0.

In the case of soil with heavy clay, one can amend it with sand or other organic matter to improve drainage. Simultaneously, adding organic matter, like compost and aged manure, to the soil helps improve its fertility and structure.

4. Ensure Right Time and Depth

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Lavender has deep roots that need time to establish themselves. Planting at the right time (spring or fall) and depth (slightly deeper than the pot) allows the roots to grow strong and access the water and nutrients they need.

Similarly, lavender blooms at specific times throughout the season. Trimming spent flowers at the right depth, just below the flower head encourages continued blooming. This will also help prevent the plant from setting seeds, which can weaken it.

5. Water Regularly

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Watering regularly is important for thriving lavender growth because consistent moisture helps roots grow deep and strong. It also encourages healthy foliage and flower production, and a lack of it results in less foliage and fewer flowers.

Regular watering further helps prevent stress and promotes overall plant growth. Here are some simple tips for regular watering:

  • Water deeply, allowing the water to reach the roots.
  • Aim to drink water early in the morning before the sun evaporates too much water.
  • Allow the soil to dry slightly between waterings. Overwatering can be harmful.

6. Deadhead Spent Flowers

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Deadheading, or removing spent blooms encourages continued blooming, promotes bushier growth, and prevents the plant from putting energy into seed production. By removing the spent flowers, the plant gets to focus its energy on producing new buds and flowers instead of setting seeds.

In addition, deadheading encourages the plant to develop new lateral branches, resulting in a bushier and fuller appearance. This not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of the lavender but also improves its overall health and vigor.

7. Prune After Flowering

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Pruning flowers is the selective removal of plant parts, such as stems, leaves, and spent flowers. It plays a key role in promoting bushier growth, encouraging more flowers, and maintaining the lavender's overall shape.

Similarly, proper pruning allows for better air circulation throughout the plant, which helps prevent fungal diseases and other similar problems. Here are some additional tips for pruning your lavender:

  • Use clean, sharp pruners to make clean cuts.
  • Prune after the main flowering period in late summer or early fall.
  • Cut back the stems by about one-third, but avoid cutting into woody growth.

8. Fertilize Occasionally

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Unlike many other flowering plants, lavender thrives on minimal fertilization. Too much fertilizer can harm the plant and decrease flowering. It is best to fertilize once or twice a year, typically in the spring and fall. However, the young plant may benefit from a light application of fertilizer in the spring.

If the lavender plants grow very slowly and develop pale green leaves, this can indicate insufficient nutrients. In this case, apply fertilizer around the base of the plant, avoiding direct contact with the stems and leaves.

9. Protect from Cold Winters

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Lavender thrives in warm, sunny climates and requires protection in cold climates. In a cold climate, one has to take proper measures to ensure that the plant does not suffer. Opt for lavender varieties known for their cold tolerance, like English Lavender and Munstead Lavender. These varieties can withstand temperatures as low as -15°C (5°F).

Spreading a thick layer of organic mulch, like wood chips or shredded bark, around the base of your lavender plants is also an ideal option. It acts as an insulator after the first frost, protecting the roots from the cold and preventing frost damage.

10. Harvest and Enjoy

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The last step in the process of growing lavender is harvesting. And the best time for harvest will be in mid-summer. But it also depends on the variety and climate when the flowers are fully open and their fragrance is most potent.

Moreover, harvesting early in the morning, after the dew has dried, ensures the flowers are at their freshest and most vibrant. Here are quick harvesting methods:

  • Use sharp, clean pruners to cut the flower stems.
  • Don't cut into the woody stems of the plant, as this can damage it.