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How to Grow Lavender Guide

Lavender is a beautiful perennial best known for its distinctive fragrance and stunning look. Bees, butterflies, and other pollinators love it and will visit your vegetable garden more often if you tuck a few lavender plants in or around it. There are countless varieties of lavender plants, and they can be grown in several different ways. Don’t be intimidated: here’s how to grow lavender plants and enjoy the scent and color they bring to your house and garden.

rows of lavender on a hill, full of butterflies.
Image credit: Backyard Garden Lover.

Types of Lavender

pink lavender flowers.
Image credit: Backyard Garden Lover.

There are more than 45 species and 450 lavender varieties, but a few are well-known.

Chances are good that you will think of traditional English types when you picture lavender plants. Within this category, you will find Vera, Munstead, Hidcote, and Jean Davis varieties, among others. These plants flourish in low-humidity zones and bloom from mid-spring to early summer.

Here’s how to care for English lavender.

Non-English Lavenders include Yellow, Spanish, French, and other species that bloom in early spring. Their flowers are larger and more densely clustered on the stem than the English Lavenders.

See my guide on how to care for Spanish lavender.

Lavandins, or English Lavender hybrids, are late bloomers and begin to flower at the start of the summer months. Provence and Grosso are the most popular Lavandins commonly grown for drying or scented oil extraction.

Culinary Lavender Varieties

Beautiful sunset behind my lavender field.
Image credit: Backyard Garden Lover.

All lavender is edible (meaning it is not harmful), but only some varieties taste good when added to your cooking. Some varieties have too strong of a taste or may be bitter.

Hidcote, Buena Vista, and Folgate are just a few lavender varieties intended for cooking use. Here’s a list of culinary lavender varieties and their uses.

How to Grow Lavender From Cuttings

Man holding lavender branch for propagation by cuttings.
Image credit: Depositphotos.

Lavender plants can be grown from cuttings taken from established plants and then potted.

Use a bit of rooting hormone before you stick the cut stem into the pot. You can get free lavender plants from neighbors, friends, and relatives who have Lavender in their yards and are willing to share them with you.

Learn about growing lavender from cuttings.

How to Grow Lavender From Seeds

woman's hand shaking lavender to collect seeds.
Image credit: Backyard Garden Lover.

Growing lavender from seeds is not nearly as easy as starting plants from cuttings. First, it’s challenging to find the seeds of certain varieties, and the germination rate is fairly low.

There is also the fact that with cuttings, you know exactly what the resulting plant will look like, down to the leaf size and the shade of purple the flowers will be when they bloom.

Seeds are more of an unknown entity, with the possibility for crosses and varying shades within a single seed packet.

Where to Buy Lavender Plants

trays with lavender plants on my back porch.
Image credit: Backyard Garden Lover.

If you’re just starting to grow lavender and don’t want to take a chance growing it from seed, you’ll need to buy your plants from a local nursery (they’ll have plants that grow well in your area).

Check out my tips for buying healthy lavender plants.

Grow Lavender In Pots

Image credit: Depositphotos.

Potted lavender plants can be moved wherever you need a bit of cheer and a burst of fragrance. Find a container you like, add some potting mix, and your lavender plug or transplant.

I love getting a potted lavender by my door! Potted plants can add color and a delicious smell to any space.

Learn about growing lavender in pots.

Where to Plant Lavender

rows of young lavender plants.
Image credit: Backyard Garden Lover.

Several important environmental factors must be considered when you decide where to plant your lavender.

Plant lavender in a warm location with good air circulation and well-drained soil.

The beds or pots must be properly drained, with no lingering dampness or a tendency to turn to mud during a good rain shower.

Lavender plants also require good pH-balanced soil, with a number between 6.5 and 7.5 ideal. Once you are ready to plant your cuttings, be sure that the area is clear of weeds and that you have put out compost if you plan on using any.

Fertilizer is unnecessary, particularly if you continue using compost around your plants. It is also important to not over-water your lavender, as excessive amounts of moisture from humidity or overwatering will cause the plants to die. To avoid this, let the plants dry out a bit between waterings without allowing them to become parched.

Lavender plants can be a mainstay in nearly any garden thanks to their lovely fragrance and appearance. Herb gardens without lavender are missing out.

If you select cuttings from healthy plants, sow them in a well-drained, pH-balanced location, and keep them carefully watered, you will have a flourishing lavender crop every spring or summer.

Best Soil for Lavender

soil ready for planting lavender.
Image credit: Backyard Garden Lover.

You need the right soil to grow a garden with lush purple mounds of French lavender. You can make your own soil mix to provide lavender plants with the right conditions, especially if you need to keep your lavender in a pot.

See how to make the best potting soil for lavender.

What to Plant With Lavender

lavender and echinacea planted together next to a bird feeder.
Image credit: Backyard Garden Lover.

A GORGEOUS mix of summer flowers: these coneflowers mixed in with lavender flowers are pretty to look at and great to smell.

These plants make great lavender companions.

How to Harvest Lavender

just harvested the flowers of a large lavender plant.
Image credit: Backyard Garden Lover.

Harvesting lavender is easy. It’s best done in the morning, right after the dew dries up. Grab a handful of stems and trim them above a leaf node or a side branch. If you plan to dry it, secure the stems with a rubber band and hang them upside down to try in a cool, dry place.

Learn how to harvest lavender and what to do with it.

How to Dry Lavender

lavender hanging in my closet to dry.
Image credit: Backyard Garden Lover.

After harvesting lavender, hang them upside down in a dark, dry, breezy place, and enjoy dry lavender for all kinds of fun projects.

Learn about drying lavender.

How to Store Dried Lavender

dried lavender buds in a glass jar.
Image credit: Backyard Garden Lover.

Dried-up lavender, ready to use in sachets, teas, soaps, lotions, and many other pretty-smelling things, must be stored in a tightly closed container away from the light.

Check out these eight easy tips for preserving your lavender harvest.

How to Make Lavender Simple Syrup

set up to make  lavender simple syrup.
Image credit: Depositphotos.

If you grow culinary lavender, make some lavender simple syrup: it’s easy to make and a great gift for Mother’s day.

You can use this syrup to sweeten and flavor your homemade drinks, such as teas and coffee, or instead of pancake and waffle syrup.

Here’s the recipe for making lavender simple syrup.

Make Lavender Sachets

heart-shaped lavender sachets.
Image credit: Backyard Garden Lover.

Use some of the dried lavender from your harvest to make some lavender pillows and sachets. You can use some fabric remnants or material from a favorite piece of clothing you can no longer wear to create beautiful pouches.

Here are several ideas for lavender sachets: heart-shaped, butterfly-shaped, and even some unique dress-shaped sachets.

Plants With Flowers That Look Like Lavender

Russian sage flowers.
Image credit: Depositphotos.

If you like lavender but your area is not friendly to lavender needs, you can plant some alternatives. One of the best lavender look-alikes is Russian sage, but others include rosemary, hyssop, catmint, and more.

I have a list of 9 lavender look-alike flowers with pictures: see which ones you’d like for your garden.

Best Lavender Farms To Visit This Summer

pink and purple lavender in bloom at a lavender farm in Harrisonburg Virginia.
Image credit: Backyard Garden Lover.

There’s nothing like being surrounded by calming, sweetly scented, purple lavender flowers. The bees’ hum and the butterflies’ dancing make it an amazing experience.

You’re missing out if you’ve never been surrounded by blooming lavender. Find a lavender farm in your state and take your family for a visit. It’s an experience you’ll never forget.

Learn More About Growing Lavender

lavender plant in bloom.
Image credit: Backyard Garden Lover.

I hope you’re excited about lavender, and plant at least one in your garden (or a pot on your porch). To learn more about growing lavender, you may want my book How to Grow Lavender for Fun and Profit: Lessons Learned from Planting Three Hundred Lavender Plants.

Or read more guides here:

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Adriana Copaceanu is a passionate nature lover living in the country on her dream property where she grows vegetables, lavender, and wildflowers that she shares with the wildlife they attract. When she's not in the garden, she loves spending time with her chickens and planning her next nature project. Check out her books below:

How to Grow Lavender for Fun and Profit: Lessons Learned from Planting Three Hundred Lavender Plants

How to Raise Chickens for Eggs: A Guide to Raising Happy, Healthy Chickens for Nutritious, Organic Eggs at Home

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Maria Valdez

Saturday 23rd of March 2024

My new lavender plants became very large last year, and they laid over from the middle. What can I expect from them this year.

Adriana Copaceanu

Sunday 24th of March 2024

I would trim them about 1/3 this spring ans see if they bounce back.

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