Growing Lavender in Containers
Lavender is a flowering plant from the mint family that’s easily identified by its sweet floral scent. In ancient times, it was used as a holy herb. Additionally, it was often used to freshen up and give a light scent to a variety of personal items, such as clothes and hair. In modern times, it is often used in cosmetics, candles, as a stress reliever and even in cooking. And with the increasingly popular patio gardening trend, growing lavender in containers is one of the best ways to cultivate and enjoy this amazing herb! Keep reading to learn how to care for lavender in pots.
Selecting Your Pot
Select a container that is large enough to allow it at least 8 inches of extra space on all sides of your lavender plant to allow it to grow and to provide some extra soil for water retention. Make sure the container is light in colour to reflect sunlight. In hot locations, this will help keep the plant cooler. Also check to ensure there are good drainage holes in the bottom. This is important when growing lavender! Pots that are tapered have better drainage.
Preparing Your Pot
Select a soil-less potting mix for your container. Worm castings are also a good addition for some added nutrients. Lavender also likes the addition of a little lime, so sprinkle some lime into the mix using the manufacturer’s instructions.
Position the pot where you want it to remain for the season. Lavender requires at least six hours of sunlight each day and doesn’t do well in open, windy locations. Pick a spot that is sunny and sheltered, but not directly against a wall or other objects as it enjoys some air circulation.
Line the inside of the pot with a layer of newspaper. This will help retain moisture and create some insulation from the heat and cold. Don’t cover the drainage hole. Put lots of small stones or pot shards in the bottom for drainage. Make sure that if there is a saucer on your pot, it sits elevated. Lavender should never sit in water on wet rainy days!
Fill the pot 3/4 full with potting soil. Remove the lavender plant from its old pot and inspect the roots. If the plant is root bound, score the roots to encourage new, outward growth. Place the lavender plant in the centre of the new pot. Fill the pot with soil to within a couple of inches of the top, making sure to cover the plant to its previous soil level. Firm it in place, tapping the soil to remove air pockets.
Water the pot thoroughly, and make sure that water is exiting the drainage hole. If it looks as though water is trapped in the pot, shift the stones in the bottom by inserting a narrow stick through the drainage hole until the water is released. It is a good idea to place a 1/2-inch layer of mulch on top of the soil to help retain moisture.
Caring for Potted Lavender
Fertilize your potted lavender plant with liquid fertilizer every other time you water, unless you added worm castings. This is necessary because prepared potting mixes are very porous and lose nutrients quickly. Check the plant frequently in the first couple of weeks to make sure it is receiving enough water. To check, just insert your finger around the root ball to feel for moisture.
Take special precautions when growing lavender in areas that experience freezing winter conditions. French lavender can be overwintered indoors, while winter hardy varieties can be placed in the soil, pots and all, and returned to the patio in the spring. Lavender is a perennial in many areas, and will overwinter better when it has good drainage. Growing lavender in pots is a great way to ensure excellent drainage.
Avoid placing your lavender planter against walls and fences. It needs good air circulation in a spot that is protected from strong winds.
Keep it healthy by pruning back a third of the plant each year after it blooms.
“Ladies fair, I bring to you,
Lavender with spikes of blue;
Sweeter plant was never found
Growing on our English ground.”
By Caryl Battersby
Growing Lavender in Pots FAQ
[sc_fs_multi_faq headline-0=”h3″ question-0=”Does Lavender Grow Well in Pots?” answer-0=”Growing lavender in pots is an excellent way to ensure the plants have good drainage and proper nutrients, and this will also help them to overwinter better.” image-0=”” headline-1=”h3″ question-1=”How Do You Care For a Potted Lavender Plant?” answer-1=”Fertilize your plant with liquid fertilizer every other time you water. This is necessary because prepared potting mixes are very porous and lose nutrients quickly. Alternatively, you could add some worm castings to your soil when planting. Check the plant frequently in the first couple of weeks to ensure it is receiving enough water.” image-1=”” headline-2=”h3″ question-2=”How Often Should I Water My Lavender Planters?” answer-2=”If your lavender is growing in pots, water them once or twice a week after planting until the plants are established. Then water mature plants every two to three weeks until buds form, then once or twice weekly until harvest.” image-2=””count=”2″ html=”true” css_class=””]