Lavender planting instructions
All members of the Lavender family enjoy being in the sun and they demand well drained soil that is not too acidic. They are very happy on chalk however. It is essential that your lavender plants don't get "wet feet" in winter - they hate being waterlogged. As far as diet is concerned however they thrive in poor, sandy soil. In terms of location they are happy by the sea and in other windy places.
So the lessons to be learned from the above are as follows:
- Poor soil is fine, do not enrich it too much, just a tiny bit of organic matter to help the plants take root.
- Drainage should be your main consideration when planting lavender. This cannot be emphasised enough. The lavender in our garden was planted in 2012 and survived -15C the following winter. We did not lose a plant. We had a few left over and gave them to a neighbour. He lost all of them. We made sure there was drainage and planted ours at the top of a bank, he did not.....
- Clay soils can be made lighter with the incorporation of lots of grit and well rotted compost. Adding a bit of lime helps as well (follow the instuctions on the packet - don't overdose). On heavy soild you can also use the local terrain. Plant at the top of a slope, not the bottom. Plant on banks or on top of retaining walls. If the ground is really terrible, create your own small bank of free draining soil and plant into that.
- If all else fails, you can grow lavender very well indeed in containers using soil based compost. Keep them watered in summer abd dry in winter and do not be tempted to overfeed.
Your Lavender will arrive as a well-grown, bushy but quite short plant. (Height comes quickly). It will be two years old and have a good root system which will allow it to grow away fast when planted out. So it is important to leave a little space between plants. 3 per metre in a row is ideal (one every 30-35cms). At the end of the first summer after planting, they will have 'joined up'. At the end of the second year you will have a full, bushy hedge reaching between 60-80 cms.
Turning to Lavender's love of warmth, the best time to plant is from mid-April in an early spring right up the end of July because the soil is warming up or already warm. This is really important; Lavender roots grow very quickly in warm soils while once they have been in cold soil as young plants, they take some time to recover. By the autumn, lavender planted in late June will have completely outstripped lavender planted at the beginning of April
We guarantee our plants, so we like them to do well. Because of this we only deliver Lavender when we are happy the weather is suitable - this is usually from mid-April but it can be delayed to late May if the ground is cold.
You can buy the best lavender plants for growing in the UK here