Gorgeous fields of purple flowers and a lovely aromatic scent – an image that most likely conjures memories of holidays in warmer places. There is so much to love about this small garden shrub. In this article, we will help you to create your own Mediterranean paradise by growing Lavender in your garden.
The most common species you will find in the UK are English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and French Lavender (Lavandula stoechas). You can recognise English Lavender by the single, leafless stems and the compact spikes of purple blossoms. French Lavender differs a bit from the English variety. Gardeners World describes Lavandula stoechas as follows: ‘It’s an aromatic dwarf shrub with narrow, greyish leaves, and bears dense, oval heads of small purple flowers topped with a tuft of purple bracts.’
Growing Lavender, where?
Are you keen on growing Lavender in your garden? Start by finding a spot where the plant will have enough sunlight. Ideally, the Lavender should be planted in a spot where it would receive eight hours of full sun per day. English Lavender is hardy meaning it can cope with the cold and you can leave it out in the garden all year. Whereas French lavender needs some protection over winter and therefore is best kept in pots.
How much water Lavender needs depends on the season and the age of the plants. New plants like to be watered once or twice a week. Once the plant has matured a bit you need to make sure the soil dries out between watering. As with other plants, Lavender needs less water in water to prevent the roots from rotting. If you have planted it in soil that holds water we recommend you to add gravel or sand for better drainage.
One of the most common problems when growing Lavender is that the stems become woody. The best way to prevent this is to prune the plant after flowering, around mid/end of August. You can cut back quite far but don’t cut into old wood or remove green shoots. If you prune English Lavender lightly after its first flowering it will most likely produce some more flowers in late summer. French Lavender also needs to be pruned twice a year, although slightly lighter due to its fragility. Lightly prune after the first flowering and a bit more in late August. Feel free to remove dead flower heads in the flowering season.
- Lavender can be toxic to pets like cats and dogs.
- Bees and butterflies are also big fans of Lavender.
- Lavender is used in all kinds of products like essential oils and body creams.
- You can easily dry Lavender by cutting the stems and hanging them upside down with an elastic band?
Head over to your local florist for some lovely scented Lavender – guaranteed summer feelings!