As we once again head into spring, attention turns in part to that glorious must-have of the garden – lavender. We will, of course, be returning to this ever-popular plant over the coming weeks, but to mark the start of the Lavender Season, here are answers to the five most frequently asked lavender questions:
When is the best time to plant Lavender? Lavenders can be planted at any time during the year, though spring, when soil temperatures are starting to rise, is optimum. NB: Lavenders planted in summer should be checked regularly and watered as required. AVOID OVER WATERING!
What sort of soil do Lavenders like? Lavenders are not fussy and will be happy in any soil be it sand, chalk or loam, acid or alkaline, PROVIDING it is well-draining. Lavenders do not tolerate being waterlogged.
When should Lavender be pruned? The general rule is to prune once they have finished flowering – in most cases that’s late July to mid August – but avoid cutting too far down into old wood. Cutting flower stems just after the flowers have gone past their best will encourage a new flush of blooms. Of course, if you are harvesting the flowers, then cut back earlier.
Can I grow Lavender in pots and containers? Absolutely. Lavenders like good drainage so ensure the container has plenty of crocks, stones or gravel in the bottom. Also mix your compost with grit in a 2:1 ratio adding a slow-release feed. When it comes to watering, Lavender is a Goldilocks plant – both too much and too little will have a detrimental effect. The general rule is to give Lavender a good soaking and then wait until it becomes quite dry before watering again. Do keep a careful watch as containers, particularly those made from a porous material like terra cotta, can dry out surprisingly quickly, especially if it is sunny and/or windy.
Should I feed Lavenders? Lavenders planted in the ground generally don’t need regular feeding – though a sprinkling of potash in the spring will encourage better flowering. Container grown plants will benefit from an annual top dressing. BUT, in either case, avoid nitrogen based fertilizers or manure as you’ll end up with weak, leggy plants.
NB: Some varieties may have slightly different preferences – please check the individual variety pages on the website.