How To Grow Lavender
- Set out plants 12 to 18 inches apart in an open area with full sun and good air circulation.
- Plant lavender in well-drained, slightly alkaline soil with a pH between 6.7 and 7.3.
- You can add builder’s sand to the soil before planting to increase drainage, which is vital because lavender will not tolerate excessive soil moisture or humidity.
- To further improve drainage, plant lavender in a raised bed, along a wall, or near the top of a slope. In an herb or perennial bed, ensure good drainage by planting lavender on a small mound.
- Lavender flowers bloom in summer; you can clip faded blooms to encourage continued blooming throughout the warm season.
- Prune lightly to promote branching, especially in spring once the plants show new growth.
- Sprinkle bone meal or other phosphorus-rich fertilizer around each plant in the fall to make it stronger and more winter hardy. Work the fertilizer into the first inch of soil, or let the rain soak it in.
How To Propagate Lavender
You can start lavender from hardwood or softwood cuttings. Softwood cuttings are taken from the soft, pliable tips of new growth. Hardwood is thicker than softwood and resists bending. It may snap if you force it to bend.
Regardless of the type of cutting, you should always cut healthy, straight, vigorous stems for rooting. Choose stems with good color and no buds.
- Use a sharp knife to take a hardwood or softwood cutting measuring 3 to 4 inches long.
- Cut hardwood stems just below a bump that indicates a leaf node.
- Remove all of the leaves from the lower 2 inches of the stem and then gently scrape the skin off the bottom portion of the stem on one side with a knife.
- Set the cutting aside while you prepare the container.
- Fill a small pot with commercial starting medium or a homemade mix of half vermiculite or perlite and half peat moss, with a little bark added to facilitate drainage.
- Dip the stripped tip of the cutting in rooting hormone, if desired. Rooting hormone helps prevent the tip from rotting and encourages quick, strong root development, but lavender roots well without it.
- Stick the lower end of the cutting about 2 inches into the soil and firm the soil so that the cutting stands up straight. Cover with plastic to form a greenhouse-like environment for the cuttings.
- Water your new plant thoroughly after planting.
- For the first couple of weeks keep the soil damp, but then water less frequently.
- At this point water when the soil begins to get dry, but before the plant displays any distress. Too much water will kill your new lavender plant. When attempting to propagate lavender, this is the most common mistake.
- After about 6 weeks you can move your new lavender plant to a larger pot or into the ground.