So you want to grow lavender? 

Whether you are looking to plant a few lavender plants in your ornamental garden, or maybe you have a few already planted and they just aren’t doing so hot, there are a few tips and tricks to help you along in your process wherever that may be! Getting started. Did you know there are over 100 100 varieties of lavender in the world? There is a lot to choose from with over 45 species of lavender and over 450 unique varieties. The first thing to do is make sure the lavender plants you are buying are right for your zone. In our area or Ravalli County in Montana, we have found the Grosso, Hidcote Pick, Royal Velvet, and Phenomenal varieties work best for us, although there are plenty more to choose from. We definitely learned this the hard way, losing over 100 plants our first year because they were not right for our climate zone.

 Lavender is a very drought-tolerant plant and needs full sun to flourish. It likes well-draining soil and likes to dry out completely before each watering. The frequency of watering depends on how well your soil drains. Watering your plants from the bottom and not overhead will keep your plant from mold. If you have clay or other dense soils in your area, it will need to be amended for drainage prior to planting.

We laid down black landscaping fabric to cut down on weed control and having to mow between rows but this is not a requirement, especially if you are only planting a few plants in your flower garden. Be mindful that the roots of lavender grow like a tree and lavender can span up to 5-6 feet in diameter so leave plenty of room for your baby plants to grow!

As your plants grow and mature each year, you will need to prune them before the end of fall, cutting off all the stems. Depending on what you want to do with your lavender flowers will depend upon what time you cut them. If you just want to enjoy their beauty in the garden, you can wait until the flowers turn brown, usually mid-September in our area. If you want to use them for bouquets to decorate your home, share with friends, or use for crafting purposes, you will want to cut them right as they start to bud out. ( see figure 1 Below )

When you are ready to harvest your lavender, there are a few things to keep in mind.

  1. The shape. When you cut your plants, you will want to give them a nice rounded shape, like you could put a bowl right over them. ( figure 2
  2. You want to make sure you are cutting them about 4 inches above the woody part of the plant, where it is brown. All of our lavender plants are cut by hand with a little hand sickle. You can find them on Amazon for a pretty fair price. (Figure 3&4)
  3. If you are cutting them for bouquets, wrap a rubber band around the bundles and hang them upside-down in a dark aerated space for a few days until they are completely dry. DO NOT stick your flowers in a vase of water. They do not like it and will mold and ruin. Drying them out first ensures you will enjoy them for years to come! 

If you have any further questions about growing, harvesting, or maintaining your lavender, please get ahold of us on our contact page by email or phone and we would be more than happy to help you in your endeavors. 

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