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Lavenders

Lavenders are much-loved shrubs for temperate gardens. They are grown for their fragrant usually lavender flowers, which appear for many months and soft, narrow grey-green leaves. These evergreen shrubs can be grown as a stand-alone shrub, a low hedge to around 1m high, or as a pot plant.

There are many species and varieties of lavender with a range of climate tolerances and different flowering times. Lavenders can also flower in white, different tones of lavender and purple, pink and even green (Lavandula viridis). Growing several species of lavender and named varieties assures flowers throughout the year.

There are several varieties of lavender to suit most locations. Check with your local hardware or garden centre for a variety to suit your garden. Look for these popular selections: –

  • English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) – Hidcote, Royal Purple, Munstead
  • French lavender (Lavandula dentata)French Revolution
  • Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas) – Avonview, Forte Purple
  • Lace lavender (Lavandula pinnata) – Sidonie
  • (Lavandula pendunculata hybrid) – Violet Lace, Blueberry Ruffles, Sensation Rose
  • Canary Islands lavender (Lavandula canariensis)

English lavender flowers in summer and is the species grown commercially for perfume. Other species offer flowers from winter to spring. All lavenders are highly attractive to bees and other pollinating insects.

Growing conditions

Aspect Lavenders prefer a sunny location with full sun but tolerate some shade for part of the day however they will not grow in full shade. They need good air circulation.

Soil All lavenders grow best with well-drained alkaline soil. A handful of lime before planting into acidic soils can assist growth. They also do well in containers with Seasol Advanced Potting Mix. The good drainage offered in a pot helps to overcome problems that can kill lavender such as high humidity, poor drainage or too much rain.

Climate English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) grows best in climates with cold winters and long, hot and mostly dry summers. It doesn’t tolerate humidity. French lavender (Lavandula dentata), Italian lavender (Lavandula stoechas) and Canary Islands lavender (Lavandula canariensis) are tolerant of more humid climates and can be grown as short-lived plants in warm temperate and subtropical climates.

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General care

Watering Established lavenders are drought hardy but all plants grow best with regular watering. Water regularly if plants are in hot, dry or exposed conditions or if they are growing in containers.

Feeding and mulching Lavenders are fed through the growing period from spring to autumn. Use a granular fertiliser for flowering plants such as Seasol plus Nutrients Roses & Flowers. Supplement feeding with a liquid fertiliser such as PowerFeed All Purpose including Natives. Depending on your garden design, use an inorganic mulch of gravel or tan bark or organic mulch such as sugar cane mulch around lavender and keep plants free of competing weeds.

Pruning Lavenders are pruned after flowering but do not respond to hard pruning. Light trimming and shaping after flowering keeps plants vigorous and youthful. Never prune back into old wood, as it will not re-shoot.

Watch for Generally lavenders are problem-free but with the best care, lavender is not a forever plant. As the bush ages it develops hard grey wood, may become gnarled and overtime the plant will gradually decline. Be ruthless and remove straggly plants, replanting with a young, vigorous specimen, which will quickly grow up to replace its predecessor.