Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Lavender Care

Lavender belongs to the Labiatae family which means that it belongs to the family of square stemmed plants. It's a relative to thyme, mint, and sage. The genus, Lavandula (which was formerly known as Spica) consists of over 30 varieties of small shrubs and more than 140 varieties of herbs.

The productive life span in a home garden is about eight to ten years, although some home gardeners can tend to plants for years longer than that with success due to optimum growing conditions. If a plant starts to look straggly, woody, and unpleasant in the garden, simply start a new one by taking one of the 'branches' of the lavender plant and bending it down to the soil. Place a rock or two on the stem to hold it there. A new root will form and a new plant will grow from the stem. Eventually 'cut' the stem between the old plant and the new. This is an easy way to propagate new plants from the ones you've loved and enjoyed. I've heard of others taking lavender clippings (from trimming their plants) and chopping them into small pieces and then placing those pieces under trees in their yard. Sometimes these clippings take root and new plants form in the composted soil, but I've never had success with this method (probably due to Brent tending to the areas under the trees in his own way as well; usually with a string-trimmer!).

Lavender plants love lime and in their natural habitat grow best in lime-based soils. A little lime can be added to home compost that's used around your lavender plants. They will grow happily for a long time this way. Eventually older plants may show signs of stress and may need a greater dose of lime compost. And be wary of adding high nitrogen based fertilizers around lavender plants; they are not a nitrogen loving plant!

If you need to transplant your lavender, it is best done in early spring or late fall. Once done, keep the blooms cut off the plant for the first year so that root growth is encouraged. It's important to water plants before moving them and after your initial planting. If the lavender is being transplanted from a pot, plant it deeper in the soil than they were in the original pot. If the plant has older wood on it that will be exposed below the soil, nick it so that more root growth can be encouraged.

Disease can be avoided by not over watering lavender plants. Root rot is one problem that can be avoided by good drainage and less water. The Alpha Mosaic Virus (AMV) causes yellowing of the plant, but this is generally not a problem in the North America. The virus is spread by leaf hoppers and aphids. If you find an infected plant, it should be removed and burned. Another disease, Yellow Wilt, is similar to Alpha Mosaic Virus, but it is a fungal born disease. Any infected tissues should be removed to avoid further spreading.


  1. I did not know lavender had a square stem. Cool !! Clarice

  2. I should try growing Lavender again. I had very good luck with it at the farm. It returned year after year.

    Back Porch Musings

  3. I love all your information on Lavender. I think the plants I put out last year made it through and are coming back again. I have the worst luck with lavender and its one of my favorites !
    Hope all is well with you and the family. We are busy but well.

  4. Thanks so much for the lavender info. I have some "old" lavender that didn't do so well last year. I think I will add lime and divide it up. A good project for spring break this week... if it warms up. It was below freezing at night this week again ):.

  5. LaDonna, I have tagged you on my blog for the Thinking Blogger award...please go & check it out!

    Southern Hospitality

  6. I didnt know that about Lavender, thanks for sharing! :)


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