How to Care For Lavender Plants Outdoors: Essential Tips

How to Care For Lavender Plants Outdoors?

To care for lavender plants outdoors, it is important to prune them in the springtime and after flowering.

This involves pinching off fresh young tips, cutting back stems one-third of their length after flowering, and removing old and woody stems late in the season.

Pruning in late summer or early fall before the first frost can also encourage good air circulation.

Lavender thrives in dry, rocky locations with heat and sun, and it rarely requires additional fertilizer.

Applying slow-release trace minerals and organic compost in spring is recommended for feeding, and fast-draining soil is important to prevent root rot.

Key Points:

  • Prune lavender plants in springtime and after flowering
  • Pinch off fresh young tips and cut back stems one-third of their length after flowering
  • Remove old and woody stems late in the season
  • Prune in late summer or early fall to encourage good air circulation
  • Lavender thrives in dry, rocky locations with heat and sun
  • Apply slow-release trace minerals and organic compost in spring for feeding


Did You Know?

1. Lavender plants, known for their calming fragrance, were commonly used by ancient Egyptians for mummification and in their bath rituals.
2. The name “lavender” is derived from the Latin word “lavare,” meaning “to wash,” reflecting its historical use in bathing and cleansing rituals.
3. Lavender plants belong to the same family as mint, and both share similar aromatic and foliage properties.
4. Lavender flowers have long been used as a natural remedy for insomnia and anxiety. Placing a small bouquet of dried lavender flowers under your pillow may promote better sleep.
5. In the 16th century, Queen Elizabeth I of England was known for her fondness of lavender, using it to scent her gloves, linens, and even her tea.

Lavender Plant Basics

Lavender, with its soft and green growth and older woody base stems, is a beautiful semi-shrub or subshrub that adds a touch of elegance to any garden. This remarkable plant is known for being hardy and thriving in dry spots, making it a popular choice for those looking to add some color and fragrance to their outdoor spaces.

One of the most attractive features of lavender is its long blooming period. Unlike many other plants, lavender flowers can last for several weeks, providing a delightful sight and scent throughout the summer months. But caring for lavender goes beyond just watering and providing sunlight. Proper pruning is essential to maintain the plant’s health and ensure prolific blooming year after year.

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Pruning Lavender: Timing and Techniques

The timing of pruning lavender plays a crucial role in the overall success of the plant’s growth and blooming. Pruning should be done in the springtime and after flowering. When the plant starts to produce fresh young tips, it is advisable to pinch them off. This encourages bushier growth and a fuller appearance.

After the initial blooming period, lavender should be pruned by cutting back stems to one-third of their length. This helps to maintain the plant’s shape and prevent leggy growth. Late in the season, it is important to remove any old and woody stems, as they can hinder new growth in the following season.

The most critical time for pruning lavender is after flowering. This ensures that the plant will continue to produce flowers in the future. It is worth noting that pruning in early or mid-spring does not sacrifice the current year’s flowers. By following a consistent pruning schedule, lavender plants will remain healthy and vibrant.

Benefits of Pruning Twice a Year

Pruning lavender twice a year has several benefits for your plants.

Firstly, it promotes good air circulation, which prevents diseases and the growth of fungi.

Additionally, cutting back entire stems is more effective than simply deadheading individual flowers, as it keeps the plant looking tidy and encourages new growth.

Pruning lavender in late summer or early fall, before the first frost, is also important to prepare the plant for the colder months. This allows the plant to conserve energy and focus on root development, ensuring a strong foundation for the next growing season.

To summarize, the benefits of pruning lavender include improved air circulation, disease prevention, increased new growth, and better preparation for colder months.

Here are some key points:

  • Pruning lavender twice a year is beneficial
  • Good air circulation prevents diseases and fungi
  • Cutting back entire stems promotes new growth
  • Pruning before the first frost prepares the plant for colder months.

Choosing the Right Lavender for Your Region

Lavender, belonging to the genus Lavandula, is native to mountainous areas of countries bordering the Western European Mediterranean region. However, its adaptability has made it a popular choice for gardens in various regions around the world.

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When choosing the right lavender for your region, it is essential to consider the climate and growing conditions. English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is more tolerant to cold growing zones and can withstand harsh winters. On the other hand, Spanish Lavender (Lavandula stoechas) thrives in humid Southern locations.

It is also worth noting that newly planted lavender may take a couple of growing seasons to bloom. Patience is key, as the plant establishes its root system before producing its beautiful flowers. With the right choice for your region and proper care, lavender will reward you with its enchanting blooms.

Feeding and Fertilizing Lavender

Lavender, being a resilient plant, rarely requires additional fertilizer. In fact, too much fertilizer can be harmful and lead to excessive leaf growth at the expense of flower production. However, feeding lavender with slow-release trace minerals and organic compost can provide essential nutrients and support overall plant health.

To ensure optimal growth and blooms, it is important to prepare the soil properly. Lavender is susceptible to root rot, so fast-draining soil is crucial. Organic amendments such as seaweed/kelp or bone meal are recommended for conditioning the soil and enhancing a soil-building program.

Applying slow-release, microbial, mineral-rich feed in spring when new growth appears can further enhance the plant’s development. By following these feeding and fertilizing guidelines, your lavender plants will thrive and continue to delight you with their beauty.

Important Tips for Handling Fertilizers

When handling chemical fertilizers, it is crucial to wear protective gear and carefully follow instructions to ensure your safety and the health of your lavender plants. Chemical fertilizers can be potent and may have adverse effects if not applied correctly.

Consider opting for organic fertilizers and amendments whenever possible. These options are more environmentally friendly and can have numerous long-term benefits for the soil and overall plant health. However, it is still important to handle them with care and follow any instructions or precautions provided by the manufacturer.

By being cautious and using the appropriate fertilizers, you can provide your lavender plants with the necessary nutrients they need to flourish while being mindful of the environment.

In conclusion, caring for lavender plants outdoors requires attention to pruning, choosing the right variety for your region, and providing proper feeding and fertilizing.

  • Ensure wearing protective gear when handling chemical fertilizers
  • Follow instructions carefully to avoid adverse effects
  • Opt for organic fertilizers and amendments whenever possible
  • Handle organic fertilizers with care and follow manufacturer instructions
  • Provide necessary nutrients to lavender plants for optimal growth
  • Be mindful of the environment while fertilizing
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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best fertilizer for lavender?

When it comes to fertilizing lavender, it is essential to prioritize organic products that promote soil health due to its versatile applications in culinary and beauty products. Opting for natural alternatives like seaweed/kelp or bone meal can offer additional benefits to lavender plants. While not complete fertilizers themselves, they are rich in trace elements that contribute to a robust soil-building program.

How do you keep lavender blooming?

To keep lavender blooming, it’s essential to follow a pruning routine. Firstly, after its initial blooming in late spring to early summer, lightly prune the lavender. By doing so just after the first flowering, it increases the chances of a second bloom in late summer. Once the second flowering concludes, a thorough pruning in late August is necessary. This full pruning not only prepares the lavender for winter but also stimulates the growth of more blooms for the following spring, ensuring a continuous cycle of lavender blossoms year after year.

What is the best soil mix for lavender?

The ideal soil mix for lavender should consist of a combination of peat moss, perlite, pumice, sand, horticultural charcoal, worm castings, and lime. By incorporating these ingredients, the lavender plants will benefit from a soil that is both well-aerated and well-drained. The peat moss and perlite aid in maintaining moisture balance, while the sand and pumice enhance drainage. Additionally, the inclusion of horticultural charcoal and worm castings provides essential nutrients for the lavender, ensuring its healthy growth. Lastly, the addition of lime helps maintain the soil’s pH level, promoting optimal conditions for lavender’s growth and overall well-being.

What type of soil does lavender grow best in?

Lavender thrives in soil that is well-drained and slightly alkaline. This means that sandy soils are ideal for optimal growth, while clay soils should be avoided. When planting in a pot, it is recommended to use a mixture of one part sand to one part regular potting soil, ensuring proper drainage for the lavender to flourish.

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