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Lavender – A How to Grow Guide

We have a wide range of lavender plants for sale, grown right here at our Staffordshire herb nursery. We sell primarily English Lavender and its hybrids Lavandula angustifolia and L. × intermedia. All our plants should be hardy as long as they are planted in a sunny spot in free-draining soil. Known for their beautiful scent, abundant purple/blue flowers which appear in abundance in summer and silver-grey aromatic leaves which can remain ever-green, they make a wonderful addition to any garden.

Lavender doesn’t only come in blue, have a look at our white (Lavendula x intermedia 'Alba') and pink (Lavandula angustifolia 'Hidcote Pink') varieties too to add to garden. Also, worth a mention is Lavender pinnata which is a tender variety better to plant in a pot where it can be moved into a frost-free area if required, but a beautiful plant well worth having.

When and Where to plant

  • Excellent as a hedging plant and a great pairing with roses. Growing from 30cm (1ft) to 90cm (3ft) tall there is a variety to suit any space or container.
  • Lavender is a versatile plant it works well in borders, herb gardens and grows well in containers too, great paired with Rosemary as they like similar growing conditions.
  • It will also work as a low hedge to mark out different areas in a garden or to use as an edging plant.
  • Best planted in Spring after any risk of frost has past and the soil is warming. This will give the plant its best chance of establishing before Autumn and winter as the plant does not like the cold and wet.
  • Lavender is a flowering plant in the family Lamiaceae, being originally from the Mediterranean it needs lots of sun and free-draining soil, preferring dry soil.
  • The soil does not have to be rich in nutrients, it will tolerate a poor soil ,
  • It will not perform well in heavy clay, shady, damp or extremely cold conditions. It will die if soil becomes water-logged over winter.

History and Herb Usage

The flowers of all Lavenders have long been harvested for their essential oil, as well as its insect repellent properties, infusions can ease headaches and encourage restfulness. Dried Flower heads can be used in Lavender pillows to freshen clothes and repel insects in drawers. They can also be used in cooking such in biscuits and even in ice-cream.

Pruning and Maintenance

If you do not prune your Lavender, they can become woody and ungainly. To keep plants, compact and attractive, or to maintain a Lavender Hedge trim them annually in late summer, just after flowering has finished. Remove any spent flower stalks and about 2.5cm (1in) of leaf growth. If growth is untidy & needs management or frost damaged then foliage can also be clipped in spring. It does not break new growth easily from old woody stems so don't cut back into the woody stems.

Lavender enjoys being cut back hard (to 2 cm above the hardwood) after flowering in mid Sept and to maintain a neat shape they can be trimmed again in Spring after the first flush of new growth. Ideally plants should be replaced every 3-4 years as they will eventually become woody at the base especially if not regularly pruned, however, with the correct regular pruning they can last much longer.

Even if pruned annually, older lavender plants can still become woody and leggy so, as they are fast growing and establish quickly, they are best replaced if you want to keep everything looking neat. You can try to revive an old Lavender by either taking cuttings from the younger growth or by layering the plant. If you can bring the lavender down to ground level and scratch the bark back on the woody stem just until you can see green underneath as close as you can to the new growth then pile compost onto the woody stems up to the level of new growth keep well-watered and hopefully in a month or so it will root and you can use this to replace the plant you have or move to a new area.

How to Plant a Lavender Hedge

Firstly, you need to prepare your garden soil by digging over and ensuring it is weed free. Soil should ideally be free-draining, but if your soil is heavy you can still plant Lavender by planting on a ridge or mound approx. 20-30cm (8in-1ft) to ensure that the roots are not sitting in water.

Plants should be spaced 30cm (1ft) apart or 45cm (18in) for larger cultivars, After planting, water regularly, especially in dry weather, for the first season. Lavender will grow quickly if planted correctly and from April onwards after all risk of frost is passed even by the end of the first summer they will have 'joined up'. By the end of the second year, your hedge should be bushy and approximately between 60-80 cms tall.

Suggestions for hedging

  • Lavandula angustifolia 'Folgate' (Lavender 'Folgate') – A great choice for a hedge
  • Lavandula angustifolia 'Hidcote' (Lavender 'Hidcote') - A darker richer Purple blue than most lavenders
  • Lavandula angustifolia 'Little Lottie' (Lavender 'Little Lottie')– Dwarf variety great for edging a border