Thursday, July 9, 2015

Growing Lavender - Hints and Tips


Peace Valley Lavender Farm generously shared these tips for Growing, Pruning and Drying Lavender.  Visit their website for lovely lavender products including their own steam distilled essential oil!

Lavenders want well drained soil, good air circulation, and as much sun as possible to promote flower production. Lavenders prefer neutral to alkaline soil. In humid climates, coarse sand worked-in around the crown will help the plant dry out. Keep weeds down to prevent sources of wetness and avoid wetting the lower leaves, which may encourage disease. Lavenders require no feeding, though an occasional dressing of low-nitrogen organic fertilizer will make your plants happy. If you are growing lavenders in containers, a spring feeding of a slow-release fertilizer will be helpful. Also, lavender in containers will dry out faster than in the ground, so keep an eye on them.

Tips for Pruning Lavender

Lavender can be pruned in the early spring or in the fall (not too late so as to give plants time to harden off before winter). Generally speaking, trim plant by one third, keeping the typical mound shape of the plant. If you do not plan to harvest the flowers, then a light pruning just after flowering, will be sufficient to promote new growth. Cut each flower stem back to the first or second pair of leaves. Pruning old, woody lavenders can be tricky. Some growers recommend pruning the plant down to the base after flowering if there is evidence of new growth. The plant may continue growing anew or may die. If you are sentimental, take a cutting from the plant before pruning, just in case. Other growers recommend taking a three year approach to revitalizing old, woody plants. Cutting the plant back in spring and fall by 1/3. Also, cutting out any woody stems that are dead. Again, there are no guarantees. The best plan is to begin a regular pruning regimen with your plants, minimizing woody growth.

Tips for Harvesting and Drying Lavender

Lavender blossoms should be harvested when only one or two buds have opened. Harvest in the late morning after a few days of dry, warm weather. Tie up small bundles with rubber bands. Hang upside down in a dark room with good air circulation. Lavender flowers will fade in color if exposed to sunlight.

3 comments:

Angela McRae said...

Well-drained soil, eh? Guess it's no wonder the hard Georgia clay has not been kind to the lavender I've tried to grow! But you've given me the idea of trying lavender in containers!

woodberrylane.com said...

Helpful lavender tips. I have two plants that are in their second year. I was unaware of when to prune for lavender buds. Thanks, Jill

Marilyn Miller said...

I had to prune some of our as it was closing up our front entrance to our house. Pruning was done as the sun was setting because most of the bees had gone home and there were just a few bumble bees. They have been swarming with honey bees. Oh how I love it all.