Want to know how to grow lavender? They add to the beauty to the world’s landscape, and are famous for their relaxing aroma.
The goal of this article is to tell you about an old flowering plant that comes from a very old world.
In the family Lamiaceae, which includes mints, there are 47 known species of flowering plants in the genus Lavandula, which is more commonly known as lavender.
Many of the species in this genus are widely used as ornamental plants for gardens and landscapes in temperate climates, as pure herbs, and to get essential oils that can be used in business settings.
It is in Cape Verde and the Canary Islands, and it stretches from Europe to North and East Africa, the Mediterranean, Southwest Asia, and India.
Lavender can live for 20 years or more. It is a beautiful, fragrant bush that grows to an average height of about two feet (60 cm). It has deep purple-colored flowers.
In warmer climates, its gray-green plants grow back every year. This herb can grow in some of the worst conditions a garden can offer.
History of the word “lavender”:
The word “lavender” is thought to have originated in Old French, and ultimately from the Latin verb “lavare,” which means “to wash,” in reference to the practice of using infusions of the plants. The word “lavender” has since been adopted into the English language.
This and other European vernacular names for the plants are thought to have inspired Linnaeus to give the plant the botanic name Lavandula, which was then used by Linnaeus.
It has been suggested, on the other hand, that this explanation might be apocryphal and that the name might be derived from the Latin liver, which means “blueish.”
What is lavender?
Lavandula angustifolia, also known as English lavender, is a plant that is highly prized all over the world.
Not only does it smell wonderful, but it also has beneficial properties and stunning blue-purple color. Additionally, it brings jirgas to the garden where it is located.
Whorls of flowers are produced, which are then held atop spikes that rise above the foliage. In some species, these spikes are branched.
At the very tips of the inflorescences, certain species develop bracts with varying colors.
In the wild species, the flowers can be blue, violet, or lilac; however, they can also be blackish purple or yellowish on occasion.
The calyx has a tube-like shape. In most cases, the corolla will have five lobes and a tubular shape.
The essential requirements for growing lavender are a lot of sunshine and adequate drainage.
It is not concerned with the soil, and the presence of this plant brings in pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Place lavender plants along a path or in the vicinity of a seating area.
Types of lavender:
There are many different kinds of lavender, and each one has its own distinct set of advantages. The following are some of the most common:
English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
Lavandula angustifolia, also known as English lavender: A variety that can be grown in several different cultivars.
Some of these are Munstead, which is an old-fashioned standard with blue-purple flowers; Hidcote, which is favored for its dark purple flowers; and Jean Davis, which is a one-of-a-kind blend that produces pale pink flower spikes.
French lavender (Lavandula stoechas)
This particular species is highly sought after due to the rare pineapple-shaped blooms it produces along with the vibrant bracts, sometimes known as “bunny ears,” that sprout from each flower spike.
Even though the flowers don’t have much of a scent, the leaves, which are a light green color, have a strong fragrance.
Lavandin (Lavandula x intermedia)
A variety that has several cultivars, such as the Provence, which is particularly well-liked for drying, and the Grosso, which is a standard that is both highly resistant to disease and fragrant.
Fringed lavender (Lavandula dentata)
A shrub variety that grows into a bushy shape and can spread its branches outward. It has dense spikes of violet-blue flowers that have a muted fragrance.
Where to buy lavender?
Lavender is most commonly and easiest grown from cuttings, but can also be grown from seed. Here are a couple good options:
How to grow lavender?
Plant your lavender in a location that receives “full sun,” which is defined as at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day.
Lavender is a hardy plant that can survive in a wide range of soil types, from poor to moderately fertile.
Only one thing is required of the soil when growing lavender, and that is good drainage.
Root rot is something that can be encouraged by standing water and wet areas. In order to improve drainage, compacted or clay soil should be amended with compost or aged manure.
Lavender is best grown in the open air in the vast majority of circumstances, but it is also commonly grown indoors.
Consider giving growing lavender in your home a shot. In spite of the fact that this lovely herb is not typically kept as a houseplant, it is possible to ensure that it thrives provided that certain conditions are met.
In the coldest regions, where lavender is not hardy, it is best to continue growing lavender indoors as a fallback position. This is something that you do in the winter when plants can’t be outdoors.
When to plant lavender?
As was discussed earlier, lavender is a perennial plant that is not significantly impacted by the conditions of the surrounding environment.
When the soil in your yard begins to warm up in the spring, which is precisely between the months of March and May, it is the ideal time to plant lavender, as recommended by professionals in the field of botany.
On the other hand, if you intend to plant it in the autumn, there are a few things you need to take into consideration to ensure that it will live through the winter.
How to plant lavender:
If you’ve ever wondered how to grow lavender grown from cuttings, you’ll be pleased to learn that it’s simple to do, and it’s a cheap and easy way of replicating your favorite plant.
Growing lavender from seed can be challenging; therefore, it is best to purchase small starter plants from a garden nursery or take a softwood cutting from an established plant.
It is best to take semi-ripe side shoot cuttings from new summer growth. This means that the stems should be soft at the top but firm at the base, and the strip of bark should still be attached. This thin strip of bark is the starting point for the development of new roots.
Remove the lower leaves from the cutting to expose about three inches (eight centimeters) of the stem, then coat it in rooting hormone and plant it in pots that have been filled with gritted compost. Each pot should be able to accommodate more than one cutting.
Be sure to give the cuttings plenty of water, and then cover the container, all the way down to its bottom, with a clear plastic bag.
This will produce a hothouse environment that the cuttings will thrive in, particularly if the location is one that is warm and shady.
After approximately four to six weeks have passed since you started the rooting process, you can cut a hole in the top of the bag to let some cooler air in.
When you are certain that the plant has established a healthy root system, you are free to take off the bag completely.
After an additional two to three weeks have passed, you should plant or pot up your cuttings separately to provide them with additional space.
Plant lavender 2 to 3 feet apart. The average height of a plant is somewhere between one and three feet.
To reduce the number of weeds in your garden, mulch it with rock or pea gravel, which works especially well.
However, make sure that you keep the mulch away from the crown of the lavender plant in order to prevent rot caused by excess moisture.
How to care for lavender:
Your level of success in growing lavender, like that of growing most other plants, will be contingent not only on the growing conditions you provide but also on the varieties of lavender that you choose to cultivate.
Plants of the lavender plant can survive in a wide range of environments, but they do best when grown in warm soil that drains well and in full sun.
Even though the majority of lavenders are rated as hardy in USDA zones 5a through 9a, you should not use this plant as a hedge because it is not reliable enough.
You should have realistic expectations that plants will thrive when the weather is favorable.
However, you should also be prepared to suffer the loss of one or two plants on occasion, particularly after a harsh winter or a wet and humid summer.
Even if you give your lavender plants everything they need and they appear to be flourishing, the genus as a whole does not typically have a very long lifespan, and the majority of lavender plants start to die off in ten years or less.
You can ensure that you will have a bountiful harvest for many years to come by continually starting new plants.
Preparation of the soil
When it comes to planting and the soil, all varieties of lavender need soil that drains well, especially during the colder months.
Before planting lavender, incorporate a small amount of sand or gravel into the soil. Alternatively, grow the plants on slopes, mounds, or raised beds for improved drainage.
Especially in humid climates, you should think about using rock or stone as a mulch rather than applying organic mulches that retain moisture.
The ideal pH range for lavender cultivation is between neutral and slightly alkaline. Lime should be added to the soil in order to bring the pH level up to somewhere around 7.0.
For the best possible results, a simple soil test should be performed.
Lavender requires a sunny location with soil that drains well in order to thrive. It is possible that afternoon shade will help them thrive in environments with hot summers.
After planting, wait until the plants are established before watering more frequently than once or twice a week.
The mature plants should be watered once or twice per week until the formation of buds, and then once or twice per week until harvest. (Overwatering is typically indicated by leaves turning a yellowish color.)
When it comes to fertilizer, less is more with lavender; the same is true when it comes to watering the plant. Your lavender plants shouldn’t require any kind of feeding at all.
Lavender is a drought-resistant plant, so it shouldn’t need mulch to help conserve soil moisture unless the situation is particularly extreme.
If you decide to use mulch, choose fine-grained bark or gravel, and make sure to leave a space of several inches around the plant crown. If you don’t do this, your lavender could end up rotting.
Mulch made of light-colored gravel or sand can be beneficial for drainage and can also help keep the soil and plant warm.
Trimming and pruning
Lavender flowers in summer. It is possible to harvest the flower stalks and use them either fresh or dried.
Even if you are not planning to harvest lavender flowers to use in any way, you should still “deadhead” the plant by removing the spent blossoms after the flowers have faded.
This will give the plant a more attractive appearance and encourage it to produce additional flowers.
Young stems are responsible for the production of the plant’s best and most fragrant foliage and flowers.
In the spring, prune plants that are at least two years old by cutting the woody stems back by one-third.
This will encourage new growth, which will result in improved foliage and flower production.
The ability of lavender flowers to retain their aroma even after drying is one of the primary factors contributing to the plant’s high value.
When drying the flowers, you should pick them just as the buds are starting to open up for the best results.
To speed up the drying process, suspend them in small bunches in an inverted position in a warm area with adequate air circulation.
The flowers of the lavender plant are not only lovely to look at but also fragrant and can be eaten.
They are delicious when eaten raw in salads, added to soups and stews, used as a seasoning, baked into cookies, and brewed into tea. Use very little because the flavor of the lavender goes a very long way.
How to use lavender in the kitchen:
Lavender, a mint family member, is used to enhance sweet and savory meals. The buds and leaves of English lavender can be used fresh or dried in cooking.
Use lavender gently so it doesn’t overshadow dishes. When the buds are closed, the essential oils are most strong.
- A few dried lavender buds give sugar a delicious scent and flavor, which you can use in baking or drinks.
- Chop fresh blossoms and bake them in cake or pastry mix.
- Spice up preserves and fruit compotes with flower buds.
- Garnish salads with fresh lavender.
- Fresh lavender can be used to flavor drinks.
- Lavender, thyme, savory, and rosemary make Herbes de Provence.
How to store lavender?
Lavender must be dried. This takes 2 to 3 weeks. When blooms and leaves are sharp and fall off, it’s dry. If you store it wet, mold will grow and ruin your flowers.
Lavender should be stored in a dark, cool, and dry place. It doesn’t belong in the kitchen or living room, since sunlight and humidity will fade and stale its colors.
Cool, dry, and dark is best. If you don’t have a pantry, store it in a dark cabinet. Airtight containers will help keep their scent, which will vanish otherwise.
Health benefits of lavender
Lavender has been used as both medicine and a beauty product since ancient times.
One source says that the use of lavender to treat pain, hot flashes, and postpartum perineal discomfort is supported by a small number of medical studies.
Aromatherapy makes use of many different essential oils, but one of the most well-known and versatile of these is lavender essential oil.
The plant Lavandula angustifolia is used to produce an oil that is used to treat a variety of conditions.
These can include anxiety, fungal infections, allergies, depression, insomnia, eczema, nausea, and menstrual cramps.