What is a lavender plant? What is the main benefit that some people want to keep it?
The Lavandula genus consists of 26 species originating from the Mediterranean region, southward to tropical Africa and southeastern India.
The spread of this genus then spread across the Canary Islands, North and East Africa, Southern Europe, Arabia, and India. This genus is in the form of annual shrubs and herbs.
- 1 Lavender and its Benefits
- 2 Lavender Physical Characteristics
- 3 How to Grow Lavender
- 4 Pruning Lavender in the First Year of Growth
- 5 Pruning Mature Lavender (In the second year of growth)
- 6 When to Plant Lavender
- 7 Recommended Varieties
- 8 Harvesting
- 9 Storing Lavender
Lavender and its Benefits
This plant emits a fragrant aroma from all parts of its body. In general, Lavender scent can be used to repel insects, especially mosquitoes. Lavender leaves can also be used as a natural insecticide.
People generally know Lavender as an anti-mosquito plant, but nowadays, many people also plant it as an ornamental plant in pots or in their yard.
Lavender has long been known as an insect repellent in the chemical industry. Various types of insect repellent, ranging from lotions to sprays.
Traditionally, lavender leaves can be squeezed and rubbed on the body to repel insects, especially mosquitoes. The scent of squeezed lavender leaves is believed to repel mosquitoes because insects do not like the lavender scent.
Lavender Physical Characteristics
The lavender plant has a strong scent all over its body. Lavender can reach 1 m high, with lanceolate and green leaves. The edges of the leaves are sharply serrated. Leaf size 7.5 x 0.8 cm.
The leaves are opposite; the stem is rounded and yellow.
Flowers are blue, purple, or white. Flowers come out of leaf axils. Flowers include unisexual flowers, but the fruit is rarely formed.
In areas of the four seasons, this plant is likely to produce fruit. If the fruit is rare, most farmers reproduce by making stem cuttings. Lavender is very easy to propagate by taking stem cuttings.
How to Grow Lavender
Lavender thrives in most soil qualities, from poor to moderately fertile. In general, Lavender requires soil conditions that can drain water well.
Stagnant water and wet areas of the soil promote root rot. Amend the compacted or clay soil with compost or manure to improve drainage.
Facts about Soil Needs and how to grow Lavender in General:
- Lavender comes from arid regions of Europe and the Mediterranean with poor soil quality but strong drainage.
- Some say that Lavender grows best when neglected.
- Lavender can be said to have adapted in nature to grow with limited amounts of water and nutrients.
- Lavender likes soil that is loose enough to drain water.
- Lavender hates acidic soil with a pH of less than six, reducing its growth ability.
- Sandy loam that is well aerated, well-drained, and slightly rich in nutrients is the preferred soil condition.
- If you are growing several lavenders simultaneously, keep the plants 2-3 feet apart.
Also, read about 26 different types of lavender plants.
Best Potting Soil for Lavender
The best potting soil for woody Mediterranean herbaceous plants like Lavender is a mixture of 1/3 sand or sand with 2/3 compost (based on pot volume) for optimal drainage, fertility, and soil structure.
How to make the optimal potting soil mix for young Lavender? Here is how:
- Choose a pot that has a diameter of at least 10 inches. Another choice is between 10 or 16 inches.
- Provide a mixture of 2/3 all-purpose compost and 1/3 sand based on the volume of the pot.
- Mix compost and sand well.
- Fill an inch or two of the bottom of the container with gravel to facilitate quick drainage.
- Add a tablespoon of lime to the potting mix after filling the container.
- Place one plant in the center of each pot, and work so that the plant’s crown rests about an inch above the soil line.
- Do not apply additional fertilizer.
Things to avoid in making a Lavender Soil mixture:
- Do not apply additional fertilizer if you have been given compost. This can make the plant susceptible to disease.
- Avoid soil mixtures that contain manure (contains a lot of nitrogen). Excess soil nitrogen can increase excess foliage, which can reduce the concentration of essential oils in the leaves, resulting in a lack of herbal aroma and taste and preventing plants from flowering.
- Avoid soil mixtures containing materials to retain moisture. Lavender does not like moist soil conditions.
- Avoid Ericaceous compost.
- Newly planted young plants: water every 1-2 times a week until the plants are firm.
- Mature plants: water every 2-3 weeks until shoots form.
- Plants sprout: water every 1-2 times a week until harvest.
Young lavender plants require more frequent watering than mature plants (the period for young plants is shorter between “don’t water” and “I’m dying of thirst”), but still not too much water – always make sure the soil is dry before watering again.
Yellow leaves are a sign of excess water plants. Reduce watering of Lavender in winter.
Also, read about when to water your garden plants.
The amount of sunlight that lavender needs will depend on the type of lavender you are keeping. Usually, the type of lavender planted in the garden requires sunlight for 6 hours or more per day.
Adding extra light can increase plant growth, including flowers. Sunlight is also essential for the health and development of lavender plants.
Pruning Lavender in the First Year of Growth
In the first year, Lavender requires only light pruning. To avoid the plant becoming leggy, it is necessary to do a good pruning.
This first year of pruning is intended to encourage new growth as well as develop a good mound shape.
If you are growing Lavender from seed or cuttings, it may be beneficial to pinch the tips of the new growth to make the plant bushy.
Here’s what you need to do to prune Lavender in its first year of growth:
- Do it in the summer after the plants flower.
- Use sharp and clean utensils.
- Cut from the top to a third of the way down to remove flowers and green stems.
- Do not cut the hard part of the plant near the base of the woody stem. It is important to leave a lot of green on the stems of young plants.
- Try to form a dome by making the stems longer in the middle and shorter at the outer edges of the plant.
- After the first pruning, your Lavender plant may appear as a second flower. Prune in the same way before winter arrives.
Also, read about Scarlet Begonia growing and care.
Pruning Mature Lavender (In the second year of growth)
The plant is pruned simply thoroughly in the second year to keep it fit.
Some things to consider if you want to prune mature lavender, as below:
- Ideally, you can prune lavender twice in the growing season — once in early spring and late summer, once it’s finished blooming.
- In early spring, you need to wait for new growth to appear before you prune. Then, once the plant has stopped blooming in late summer, prune again.
- Don’t over-prune the lavender once summer is over so that it can survive the colder weather.
- Do not trim lavender on the wood. Lavender needs to be evergreen because it needs its leaves all winter.
- If you forget to prune your lavender in the summer, wait until next spring, especially for French, Spanish and Italian lavender.
- If you want to prune in the summer, do so when the flowers are in half bud or wait for the flowers to fade before pruning.
- To prune lavender in summer, take a handful of lavender stalks and shear up to a third of the plant’s growth.
- Keep a good round shape but don’t cut too close to the logs to survive the winter.
- If you want to dry the flowers, collect the stems into bunches, tie them together and hang them upside down.
When to Plant Lavender
Lavender is best planted as a young plant in the spring after the soil has warmed to at least 60°F (15°C) and frost has passed.
If planting in the fall, choose larger, more established plants to ensure their viability over the winter.
Also, read about how to propagate lavender plants from cuttings.
- English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), the most common variety, is hardy to US USDA Zone 5. It is available in hundreds of colours (white, pink, blue-violet, and many various shades) and sizes. It frequently blooms twice in one season.
- Hidcote: The flowers are deep purple and the foliage is silver-grey. It is a compact plant.
- Munstead: dark green leaves; compact plant with violet-blue flowers; excellent for rock gardens.
- Miss Katherine: This plant has pink flowers and aromatic foliage. It has a mounding form.
- Lavandins (L. x intermedia): Lavandins is a mix of English and Portuguese lavender (L. latifolia), an annual flower is one that blooms only once a year, late in the summer.
- Phenomenal: resistant to common root and foliar diseases; vigorous variety tolerant of heat and humidity; long flower spikes.
- Provence: Zones 7 to 9 only are winter-hardy to French (fringed) lavender (L. dentata) and Spanish (L. stoechas) lavender. These lavenders are vigorous, long-stemmed varieties and very fragrant.
How to Propagate Lavender from Cuttings
Make a batch of cut stems of approximately several inches of stems with no flower buds after the plant’s bloom.
Remove foliage from the bottom half of each stem and use sterile potting soil or horticultural vermiculite. Plant in a pot.
Rooting hormone is not required, but water must be regularly: It must be sufficiently moist and misted. Roots will develop in 3 weeks.
Harvesting Lavender Flowers
Lavender is a great herb for drying. Here’s how to harvest it:
Cut off the stems as soon as half the flower buds are opened, cutting them as long as possible. Harvest the morning hours when the oils are most concentrated.
Bundle up the lavender and secure it with rubber bands. Hang the bundles in a sheltered, cool, and dark place to dry.
After a few weeks, when the flowers are done drying, they can be disposed of by shaking them from the stems into a jar lid. Put them in a cool, dark place afterwards.
Make lavender sachets—a lovely gift—by using your dried lavender.
Using lavender sachets, you can keep your sheets or towels smelling sweet, prevent insects and moths from biting you, and even fall asleep quicker.
To keep sheets, towels, or clothes fragrant and pest-free, pop lavender flowers straight into a sachet or container of some sort and store them somewhere cool and dark.
To help you fall asleep, place sachets on a pillow so that they release their calming fragrance.