Three Things You Should Know About Growing Lavender

by Fern on March 4, 2010

in Herbs,How To

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The votes are in, and it looks like I’ll be growing tomatoes and lavender in my Smart Pot comparison test. Many thanks to everyone who voted. I’ll be planting the Smart Pots in the next week or so, but in the meantime I’ve been rereading The Bountiful Container chapters on each plant–it’s my go-to guide on growing anything edible in a pot. Lavender is pretty easy to grow, but I thought I’d share a few tips gleaned from The Bountiful Container. Next Thursday I’ll share what the authors have to say about growing tomatoes.

Ideal Growing Conditions for Lavender

To put it simply, lavender likes a warm (but not hot) spot in the sun, with slightly alkaline soil that is a bit on the dry side. I won’t have a problem providing alkaline soil, because my water has so much calcium in it that neutral soil is turned alkaline within a month. But you can add a little lime to your potting mix if you don’t have the “benefit” of a similar water source.

Get More Lavender Plants for Free

To keep lavender from looking scraggly, you should snip the tips of the leaves back lightly in early spring and late summer. Every few of years, you’ll need to cut the branches back by half in Spring. Save these cuttings and dip the cut end into a little rooting hormone. Poke a hole in evenly moist, sandy potting soil and insert the cutting. In a few weeks it will have rooted and you will have a genetically identical clone of the original plant.

Properly Harvest Your Lavender

The leaves are as fragrant as the flowers, so save the tips that you pinch back twice a year. To harvest the flowers, pick spikes with flowers that have not opened. Snip them off the plant early in the day. Lay the flower spikes on a paper towel in a cool, dry place out of direct sun. After a week the flowers should be completely dry and you can store them in an airtight container until needed, though the color and scent may fade over time.

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