Growing Lavender: When, Where & How To Grow Lavender

Did you know lavender grows great in pots? Here’s everything you need to know about growing lavender in pots, including the best soil mixes and how to grow them.

Lavender, a quintessential Mediterranean plant, is not only fragrant but also useful.

Not only is lavender a beautiful and fragrant plant, but it’s also a true bee magnet. In this article, we give tips on when, where and how to plant this low-maintenance classic garden.

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is a Mediterranean evergreen subshrub of the mint family Lamiaceae. Caring for lavender is not difficult, and the delicate flowers are lovely fresh or dry. In nature, lavender tends to grow on rocky slopes and poorer soils. Read on to learn all about growing this bee-friendly beauty in your own garden so you too can enjoy its wonderfully fragrant blooms.

The finishing touch. This lavender is a dwarf variety (Munstead), so smaller pots will do just fine.
This one focuses on growing lavender in pots to grow outside. If you want to bring your winter indoors, I’ll cover that shortly at the end of this post.

There are many different types and varieties of lavender on the market.

You can buy English, Spanish, French, dwarf lavender, and lavender with white or pink flowers.This soil combination and planting method works for everyone.

Lavender isn’t crazy about cool coastal climates or hot inland deserts (although lavender loves the heat, the desert sun and heat can be too extreme), but I thought I’d give it a go.

If it goes to the big compost in the sky, it’s not from poor planting.

Lavender isn’t crazy about cool coastal climates or hot inland deserts (although lavender loves the heat, the desert sun and heat can be too extreme), but I thought I’d give it a go.

If you go to the big compost in the sky, it’s not because it’s not grown well.

How to Grow Lavender in Pots

lavender soil in pot

Any lavender, no matter the size, needs a mix of soil and some well-drained sand. The soil, while not fussy, needs to be alkaline, moderately loamy, and well aerated.

Avenger is prone to root rot and a drainage mix will help prevent this. You know I like to sprinkle compost and vermicompost over my potted plants to feed them naturally. Lavender doesn’t like being covered in mulch or compost, so leave it alone, especially if you live in a humid climate or are growing indoors.

Mix with approximate measurements:

  •  parts potting soil  (this along with a bit of compost add richness)
  • 1 part clay pebbles  (these aerate & up the ante on the drainage)
  • 1 part pumice  (ditto on the above)
  • I planted with a handful or two of compost and topped with 1/4 inch of vermicompost. You can adapt this mixture to your climate.

Alternate mixes:

  • 1 part potting soil / 1 part horticultural sand
  • 1 part potting soil / 1 part pumice or perlite
  • 1 part potting soil / 1 part fine rock

Plant Selection / Pot Selection

The bigger your lavender grows, the bigger the pot will need to be. Some lavenders grow to 3′ x 3′ so they need a sturdy base to accommodate the plant’s roots and size and allow for the best flowering.

I chose lavender ‘Munstead’, a compact English variety. It will be 18 x 18 inches, so I planted it in a 12 inch pot and it was fine. A 14- to 16-inch pot will also work.

Larger lavenders will appreciate 20 – 24 inch pots. It is important that any pots you use have at least one drainage hole large enough to ensure excess water drains out.

Tip: I’ve done this when I was gardening when I had small perennials or shrubs that looked too big in large pots. I plant annuals in and around them because they grow quickly and take up quite a lot of space. I reduce or eliminate annuals as the plants grow.

When is the best time to plant lavender?

The best time to grow lavender outdoors is spring, preferably starting in mid-May after the last frost. You can also start planting lavender from the end of March. Taller plants will handle cooler temperatures better, but in this case we recommend mulching around the plants to protect against frost. With a good water supply, you can even grow lavender in summer. However, planting lavender in the fall is not recommended because the plant has little time to develop before winter arrives.

Lavender in its natural habitat on bare soil

In nature, lavender grows in sunny, barren locations [Photo: Bargais/]
Overview: When to Plant Lavender

Ideal: From mid-May after the last frost
Possibly: late March (needs antifreeze), summer (when water supply is plentiful)

Growing Lavender From Seed

It is also possible to sow your own lavender seeds, although it takes a little more work and patience. Growing lavender from seed allows the seedlings to take root naturally and get established right from the start. Because lavender grown from seed adapts instantly to its location, it is more likely to live a long, happy, and healthy life than store-bought plants.

To sow lavender seeds, you can start on a windowsill or sow directly outside. They need enough warmth and light and the right soil to germinate. In general, lavender prefers nutrient-poor soil, which is especially important in the early stages of growth. Our Plantura Organic Herb and Seed soil is low in nutrients and well drained, perfect for growing lavender plants. For better drainage, mix in about a third of the sand to create ideal conditions for the lavender seeds.

  • Lavender seeds have a higher germination rate when cold stratified. To do this, place the seeds in a container
  • with wet sand and store in the refrigerator for 2-4 weeks.
  • Sow seeds on windowsills from early March.
  • Afterwards, use a greenhouse if possible.
  • The optimum germination temperature is 20°C.
  • Prepare pots with growing media such as Plantura Organic Herbs and Seedling Compost.
  • Distribute seeds and press lightly.
  • Keep the soil moderately moist.
  • Germination takes 3-4 weeks.
  • Alternatively, sow seeds outdoors between late April and late May.
  • Maintain a planting distance of 30 cm in the flower beds.

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