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There are three main types of lavender: tall English lavender, Spanish lavender, and French lavender.
All lavenders require full sun, prefer well-draining soil, and are winter-hardy in milder climates. The strong-scented flowers produce a variety of blooms, such as white or pale purple to bluish purple, depending upon the variety. The needle-like leaves are frequently a greyish-green color.
Lavender grows great in large containers, and since they can grow quite large, start off with a large pot, at least 12 to 16 inches wide, in order to accommodate fierce growth.
Like other herbs, lavender can be propagated from a cutting successfully.
Once your lavender plant is three to four years old, it will reach full maturity. If properly tended to, lavender plants will live about 10 years.
If your lavender looks to be in poor health, consider the drainage and amount of space between plants. Lavender prefers good air circulation and doesn’t like to be overly wet. Consider adding soil amendments such as sand or gravel, in addition to native soil, to help the plants drain better. If the weather is cool, consider moving potted lavender on top of concrete, which raises the temperature.
Cut back lavender plants in the spring when new growth appears. Country Living suggests harvesting lavender when about 1/3 to 1/2 of the spike is in bloom. Harvest in the morning when the plant is dry and the sun is not too intense, this preserves essential oils in the blooms.
Lavender spikes have the strongest scent when the blooms on the stem just start to open, so this is the best time to cut the stems.
Dry lavender upside down in small bunches in a cool, dark, well-ventilated area. Darkness helps preserve the color, and handing it upside down helps retain the overall shape.
© 2018 Diane Lockridge