Lavender (Lavandula sp.) is a great plant for Mediterranean climates. It is beautiful, fragrant, and a perennial (or sub-shrub). It is essential that you select a variety that is the proper type and size for the area that you want to plant it in because, some lavenders can grow quite large and will quickly outgrow your planter bed.
Lavender prefers lots of sun will it will tolerate some shade, it must have well-drained soil to maintain it’s health and does not do well in clay soil without a good amount of compost added at planting time. Yellowing leaves are a sign of an unhappy lavender planted in clay soil, as you can see without the proper soil your lavender will be very short lived. Lavender is a very drought tolerant perennial however if it is very hot and dry for a long period make sure that it gets enough water. It is best not to water lavender foliage. So take care when adding extra water. By grouping lavender with other plants of the same watering requirements, this problem will be minimized.
After your lavender blooms you should dead head it to produce more flowers and when the season is over and it looks spent it should be pruned immediately to keep it neat and as compact as possible. If you allow your lavender to grow unattended and it becomes woody as it gets older, you can rejuvenate it by cutting it back half way in spring (when new growth begins). This is also a good technique to use if there are any branches that die back during the winter. If you need to divide your lavenders fall is the time for that.
Lavenders like neutral or slightly alkaline soil, so don’t plant it with Hydrangeas and Camellias (different water requirements too), and if your soil pH is acid you can add lime to balance it out. Lavenders don’t need much in the way of fertilizer, so fertilize sparingly if at all. And of course I’m going to push that organic slow release on you for all your fertilizing – better for our environment.
You can make wonderful things from lavender – sachets, potpourri, lavender lemonade and more so with a little bit of care, lavenders make a wonderful addition to most landscapes and remember size matters!
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