At Dallas Lavender Lane Farm we cultivate different varieties of English lavneder. It is a bushy perennial that grows from 1 to 3 feet tall with tall blooms most often in shades of blue and purple. English lavender does well in USDA Hardiness Zones 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10. The farm is located in zone 7.
Lavender does well in most soil qualities, from poor to moderately fertile, although it prefers soil which is neutral to slightly alkaline. You can add a little bit of lime to your soil if you need to raise the pH. Lavender is prone to root rot, so it requires soil that is well draining and will not tolerate standing water or wet areas. compost or aged manure can be added to clay soil to improve drainage. Plant your lavender in an area that gets full sun (at least 6 to 8 hours).
Lavender can be very difficult to grow from seed; we recommend purchasing a starter plant from one of our plant sales or finding one from a local garden nursery.
Space your plants 2 to 3 ft apart in an area that receives full sun.
We amend our soil with a mix of lime (to help raise the pH) and bone meal, which contains nitrogen, phosphorous, and calcium. These additives are optional and dependent on your soil conditions, they can both be found at most do-it-yourself or garden stores.
Add mulch (we use pea gravel) to keep weeds to a minimum. Keeping the mulch away from the crown of the plant (where the stem meets the roots) can help prevent excess moisture and root rot.
Water your lavender once or twice a week after planting until your plants are established. In our area, mature plants don't often have to be watered, but you can water them every two to three weeks until buds form and increasing to once a week until harvest.
We recommend cutting off any buds that grow the first year you have your plant. This allows the plant to focus all of its energy on developing a root system.
The best time to harvest lavender is when about half of the flower buds have opened.
Cut the stems as long as possible without cutting into the woody part of the plant.
Bundle your lavender together with a rubber band and hang it upside down in a cool, dark area with good air circulation for a couple of weeks to dry.
After the flowers have dried fully you can gently shake them from the plants into a lidded jar. Store in a cool, dark place.
If you do not harvest the flowering stems while they're in bloom, snip them off after the flowers fade to keep the plant tidy.
In our climate, all pruning can be carried out in the fall. Remove about one-third of the top to keep the plant from becoming leggy and bare at the base. Be careful you do not cut into old wood, as it will not regrow.
In colder climates, lavender should be pruned in the spring.
Lavender is notoriously hard to start from seed, it can have a less than 50% germination rate. If you choose to go this route, we recommend you do your research before starting.
The most common way to cultivate lavender is to purchase plugs or cuttings. We have these available during several plant sales throughout the year. If you choose to purchase plants from another source, we recommend finding a local nursery or greenhouse. The big box stores will often shock their plants into blooming and they can develop weak root systems.
It is best to plant lavender in the spring after soil has warmed up to at least 60 ° F and after the threat of frost has passed.
If you plant your lavender in the fall, choose a larger plant to help increase the chance of surviving the first winter.
Because lavender needs full sun to be happy, we highly recommend planting it in the ground. If you do choose to plant your lavender in a pot, look for one made out of something that offers good drainage such as terracotta. Glazed ceramic pots hold moisture in and can keep your plant too wet.
We also recommend using a soil mix meant for cacti or succulents as opposed to a standard potting mix. This will also help with drainage.