How To Grow Lavender: Planting, Harvesting and Everything in Between

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Learn how to grow lavender in your home garden, including how and when to plant, how to care for lavender, watering needs, propagating lavender, harvesting tips and common questions about growing lavender. Consider this is your complete guide to growing lavender!

lavender plant growing in a pot

Lavender is a beautiful flowering plant and useful herb that can find a place in many home herb gardens. It can thrive in a range of settings. And when you care for it correctly, it can enrich your life for a number of years to come.

Why Grow Lavender?

There are plenty of reasons why you might want to grow lavender at home. Here are just some of the reasons why lavender is such a useful herb to consider for your home growing efforts:

  • This herb looks beautiful, with drifts of purple flower spikes with great ornamental appeal.
  • It attracts bees, butterflies and other beneficial wildlife to your garden, which can help you to garden in an organic, earth-friendly way.
  • This means it is also a great companion plant for a range of common edible crops you might grow in your garden, helping to increase your yield.
  • Lavender is actually an edible in its own right – in small quantities, the fragrant leaves, petals and flowering ends can be used as a herb in cooked recipes, or to make herbal teas.
  • It is also prized for its fragrance, and its medicinal properties. Lavender yields an essential oil with a wide range of uses.

Getting Started with Lavender

If you would like to get started growing lavender, the first important thing to decide is which type of lavender you would like to grow.

You could grow:

  • English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) (USDA Zones 5-8)
  • French lavender (Lavandula stoechas) (USDA Zones 7-10)
  • Spike lavender (Lavandula latifolia) (USDA Zones 6-9)
  • Lavandin (Lavandula x intermedia) (USDA Zones 5-9)

Find your US Plant Hardiness zone here.

All of these plants share many of the same characteristics and benefits. But English lavender is said to yield an essential oil of the highest quality.

lavender in bloom

Propagating Lavender – Getting Your Plant(s)

Lavender can be grown from seed, though this can be challenging, especially for the novice gardener. It is important to note that not all lavender cultivars will come true from seed. In other words, the plants which grow from the seeds of a particular plant may not be like their parent.

If you do decide to germinate lavender seeds, you will need to do so indoors. And you will need to be patient.

Seeds are typically sown between February and June, in seed trays in a propagator or on a heat mat, at temperatures between 65 and 70 degrees F. These trays must be free-draining, but consistently moist. When the right conditions are provided, seeds should germinate within around three weeks.

It is often easier, however, to propagate lavender by means of cuttings or layering. Softwood cuttings or semi-ripe cuttings can be taken from existing lavender plants in early to mid summer.

Hardwood cuttings can be taken in late autumn. Branches of a lavender shrub can also be bent down and pegged into the soil.

Where the stem touches the soil, new roots should form, and the section can be separated from the parent plant. This process is known as layering.

Of course, you can also simply purchase a pot grown lavender plant to get started.

Where To Grow Lavender

Where you grow lavender will of course depend on where you live, the growing areas available, and the conditions to be found there.

In a climate zone where lavender can grow outside all year round, lavender can be grown in a range of different places, as long as those places provide the right conditions for its growth. Lavender needs:

  • Full sun
  • A reasonably sheltered spot.
  • Dry, free-draining soil, which is neutral or alkaline.

You might grow lavender:

  • As low hedging along paths or as edging for garden beds.
  • In a dedicated herb garden area.
  • In a mixed wildlife border, along with other flowering perennials or perennial edibles.
  • As a companion plant in a vegetable garden.

Lavender can also be grown in containers, which can be placed outdoors in a suitable spot. Or kept indoors for all or part of the year. Make sure the containers and growing medium you choose are free-draining.

How to Grow Lavender in Texas

I live in North Texas, where summers are extremely hot. I have grown lavender in my garden for the last 2 summers with some success. I did find that when planting a transplant in the spring, it takes some time to establish itself and the plant did not really ‘take off’ until the fall after the hot weather subsided.

My plant flourished in the fall and early winter, and was beautiful the next spring.

So if you’re growing lavender in Texas, be patient with the plant during the summer months. You may not have many blooms the first year you plant (I only had 3!).

Planting Lavender

Plant out lavender in the garden in spring, a short time after the last frost date in your area. Avoid planting it into cold, damp or wet soil. To create a solid row or hedge, plant lavender around 1ft to 18 inches apart.

how to grow lavender in a pot

If growing lavender in a container, choose a container that is big enough to accommodate the root system of the plant, with at least 1 inch of soil around each side.

Then pot up as necessary. Use a multipurpose, peat-free compost/ potting mix, and add coarse grit to improve the drainage. Always plant lavender so it sits at the same level that is was at in its previous container.

What Do I Do With My Lavender Plants in the Winter?

If you would like to grow lavender in a climate zone that does not allow it to remain outdoors all winter, you can grow it in containers, which can be brought indoors over the coldest months.

If conditions are borderline, lavender plants grown outdoors can be protected with a thick organic mulch around their roots, and wind breaks etc. to make conditions more sheltered.

Placing lavender in containers under cover or in the rain shadow of a wall or fence can also help reduce winter wet and make it more likely that it will come through the winter unscathed.

Caring For Lavender

When placed in the right location, lavender can be very easy to care for. You will simply need to water regularly (but not excessively) over the first season until the plant becomes established.

Then water once or twice a week, as necessary, during the summer when conditions are hot and dry. Lavender is moderately drought tolerant once established. But you should not let the soil/ growing medium completely dry out.

No feeding is necessary. In fact, lavender thrives on ‘neglect’ and can grow well in rather poor and low-fertility soil.

Why Isn’t My Lavender Flowering?

Over-fertilisation is one reason why lavender does not flower. Nitrogen rich conditions can encourage foliage growth at the expense of blooms. Lavender may also fail to flower because:

  • It has not had enough sun.
  • Soil/ growing medium  is too wet/ waterlogged, and fungal disease has set in.
  • It has been stressed by over-watering.
  • The soil is too acidic for the plants to thrive.
  • Humidity has been too high.
  • The plant has experienced transplantation shock.
  • Or simply because it is not the right time for flowering.

Lavender is generally a relatively trouble-free plant to grow. It is not often troubled by pests or disease when grown in the right place and cared for correctly.

Too much water or waterlogged conditions is, perhaps, the most common issue. There are some insect pests that can plague lavender – such as the rosemary beetle, for example.

But pests will rarely kill a lavender plant and are typically not too much of a problem. Attracting wildlife to eat pest species and keep them in natural balance is the best way to go. Always garden organically.

lavender flowers in bloom

How Long Does it Take For Lavender to Flower?

Lavender will flower in the very late spring/ summer, though the exact timing will depend on where you live and the variety of lavender you have chosen to grow.

Some varieties bloom for only a month or so, while other types of lavender can flower over several months. Deadheading lavender after the first flowers emerge can often encourage further blooms, and prolong the flowering season.

Harvesting Lavender

Cutting lavender blooms is something you can and should do regularly over the summer months. Not only will they be useful for a range of projects in your home, harvesting will also encourage new flowers to emerge.

How Do I Harvest Lavender?

Harvest the flowering tips just before the flowers fully open. Simply snip off the stems, making sure that at least a few leaves are still left on each one, and you do not cut right back to the woody section, which tends not to regrow.

Then use the fresh flowers, or dry them for a range of projects around your home. Just make sure you always leave some flowers in place for the bees and other insects in your garden.

dried lavender flowers

DIY Recipes with Lavender

Herbal Nail Soak with Lavender and Rosemary

Lavender Body Scrub Recipe

Herbal Facial Steam

More Home Gardening Info

How to Start an Herb Garden

How to Grow Vegetables in your Backyard

10 Reasons to Garden with Kids

1 thought on “How To Grow Lavender: Planting, Harvesting and Everything in Between”

  1. Wow, great post with wonderful info about lavender. Thanks. Like you I love lavender and use what I have in e-oil often. I’ve just changed residence and am trying to get adjusted inside, outside will come later. This info will help me when I’m ready to grow my own crop.


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