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Growing lavender: tips and tricks

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Growing things in one’s own garden has always been a very popular practice. People not only grew fruits, vegetables, and herbs that they could consume but also a variety of plants that could be used as a traditional remedy or simply serve as a beautiful adornment.

Growing lavender

The lavender plant has become one of the favourites among garden enthusiasts. Cultivating this plant can be a very rewarding practice, as not only does it add a delightful fragrance, but it also enhances the beauty of the garden with its vibrant flowers, making it look exceptionally beautiful.

While lavender is quite common in the Mediterranean region, where it grows naturally, to grow it in a colder environment, you might need to know certain tips and tricks. That will ensure that this beautiful plant will thrive in your garden.

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Selecting the right variety

Before embarking on a lavender-growing venture, it is crucial to choose the right variety of lavender plant that will better suit your region and the purpose of the growth. There are multiple varieties of lavender plants. But the two most popular ones are Lavandula angustifolia, also known as English lavender, and Lavandula x intermedia, or lavandin. English lavender is a popular choice for its aromatic flowers, suitability for culinary uses, as well as being used to extract pure essential oil, which can be used for a wide range of therapeutic purposes. This species produces smaller blooms with a very delicate smell. On the contrary, lavandin boasts much larger flowers and a stronger smell. It can also be used for essential oil extraction; however, the oil extracted from this plant doesn’t contain as many therapeutic properties as English lavender. This type of lavender is mostly used in sachets and potpourri to make the bedding and house smell nice.

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Ideal Growing Conditions

To make a lavender plant thrive, it needs to be planted in well-drained soil and have plenty of sunlight. Select a location with maximum sun exposure, as lavender plants demand at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight daily. It is also very important to make sure that the soil is well drained so that the roots of the plant won’t get soggy and rot. If you are in a wet climate and your soil tends to retain water, you might need to consider amending it with sand or gravel to enhance drainage.

Planting Lavender

When planting lavender, space the plants evenly to facilitate good air circulation and prevent diseases. After digging a hole that should be slightly larger than the root ball, gently place your plant in there, avoiding damaging the roots, and backfill with soil. Gently pat down the soil around the base of the lavender plant, ensuring it is secure. Once done, water the newly planted lavender thoroughly.

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Watering advise

While lavender is a relatively drought-tolerant plant, proper watering is crucial during the establishment phase. To encourage deep root growth, it is necessary to water plants thoroughly but infrequently. Once the lavender plant is settled in, it prefers to stay on the drier side, so you would need to make sure not to overwater the plant.

Pruning

Pruning is a key aspect of lavender care that promotes bushier growth and more abundant flowering. After the first bloom, trim the plants back by about one-third, cutting just above a set of healthy leaves. This will not only encourage the development of new shoots but will also ensure a nice, compact, and tidy appearance.

Dealing with pests

Lavender plants are relatively resistant to pests, but just like any plant, they may encounter some unwilling visitors. The most important thing is to keep an eye on spider mites, especially if the conditions are hot and dry. One of the most popular natural remedies to prevent pests is neem oil. Derived from the neem tree, it acts like an all-natural pesticide, which means it won’t compromise the plant’s aromatic qualities.

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Harvesting

If your goal lies beyond enjoying the visual aspect of lavender, you can harvest the flowers and enjoy their aroma throughout the year. To make sure that the harvest will have optimal taste and smell, it is important to choose the perfect time for the harvest. It’s best to harvest the flower spikes early in the morning, just as the flowers start to open. Tie the stems in bundles and hang them upside down in a cool, dark place to dry.

Once the lavender flowers are dried, there are endless possibilities for what can be done with dried blooms. From sachets and potpourris to cooking with dried lavender blooms.

Cultivating lavender is an exciting and highly rewarding experience.

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