How to Grow Lavender

Lavender is a bee-attracting pollinator plant with silvery-green foliage and astounding flowers

They bloom various shades of blue-purple, pink, and white (above) flowers which have a beautiful fragrant scent and does best in hot and sunny locations with a meager soil, much like the Mediterranean climate where the plant originates. Lavender is used fresh and works well in sugars, teas, and liquor distilments. Oil from the lavender flower has been used for perfumes and pomanders for more than 2,500 years.

Lavender Field Photo copyright Shawna Coronado

Lavender plants prefer warm weather and average to poor soils that are loose, gravelly, sandy or loamy. Be sure soil composition is extremely well draining. Sow seeds indoors four weeks before last frost or sow seeds early in the season, covering lightly with 1/8″ of organic seed starting soil. When planting potted lavender, simply dig a hole, loosen the roots, place the plant in the hole and gently cover roots. Water regularly until established, but do not over water.

Mulch lavender plants well for winter protection. Do not fertilize heavily. Lavender that is over-fertilized can have flowers that are less fragrant and are more likely to suffer from legginess and fungal diseases. Help establish lavender by cutting off any flower buds that develop in the first season so the plant can focus on root growth. In the future, once flowers have bloomed, cut back to about 1/3 of the new growth. Wetness is the enemy of the lavender plant and will cause the leaves to yellow. Excessively wet seasons, watering too much, or planting in shaded and damp areas can lead the plant to disaster via fungal conditions and root rot. Prevention is the key; plant in open, airy, sun-filled locations in the proper soil. Plants sometimes become ragged looking and woody; simply remove and replace.

Oregon Lavender Adventures

Special thanks to Chris Mulder for allowing me to take the lovely lavender photos on this post at her nursery. If you would like to explore more about Oregon lavender, just go to the Oregon Lavender Association and check outOregon Lavender Destinations and events going on right now. Go meet Chris at the Barn Owl Nursery in Oregon’s Mount Hood Territory to embrace a whole lot of lavender love.