How To Grow Lavender:
Lavender grows best in a Mediterranean like climate. They are a drought tolerant perennial that blooms mid-late summer. They will reach their full size in 3- 4 years.
Lavender thrives on full sun (at least 8 hours per day or more), and hot, dry, rocky, or sandy soil. Good drainage is a must. Plant the lavender in “hill” fashion if you have a drainage problem. If you have clay soil (heavy) dig two feet down and amend the soil with sand and compost. It wouldn’t hurt to place a shovel of driveway gravel in the hole. Weed around the area you are about to plant. You want to remove all competition for the young Lavender start. If, you are planting more than one plant, space your lavenders depending on the expected size of the full grown plant. Larger species will need three foot centers, the smaller ones just two foot centers.
Turn and loosen ground around where you are going to place your lavender. This will help distribute any rainwater so the plants will be happy! Dig the hole. It should be twice the circumference of the plant. In the bottom of the hole mix bone meal or general fertilizer. This helps with transplant shock and insures a healthy start for your plant. Add fresh dirt to cover lime/bone meal. It can burn the plants roots so you want to protect it. Fill hole with water and let drain. If your soil is acidic, add lime, because lavender likes a higher pH or alkaline soil. Fertilizers if you are organic: bone meal, blood meal or kelp.
Be careful not to over water your plant. Initially, it needs a little water every day especially if it is hot outside. If Mother Nature is giving you rain, you don't have to water, if not, then water well, but infrequently. The issue of watering is so specific to where one is. Apply black landscape cloth if you want to use it. Secure the black cloth with stones or pins so wind cannot tear it up.
In the fall after it is done blooming and before frost, cut one third of current year’s growth off. Shape into a mound or mushroom type shape. DO NOT cut into the brown woody stem. If you do, that branch will probably not grow back. Although some Angustifolias will sprout from the base, Grosso, Provence and Hidcote Giant will not. Pruning in the fall will keep the bush compact and help it not to break down in the center as most lavender cultivars are prone to do.
Lavender can be grown OUTDOORS in containers; however the rules are a little different. FIRST...get a huge pot. Since potted lavenders cannot get their food naturally, you will need to fertilize. Use Miracle Grow and follow directions. They will need to be watered more often as the pot gets hot and water evaporates quicker. Do not bring indoors in the winter. Place it out of wind and where it will get maximum sunlight. (at least 8 hours per day or more.) After 1-2 years, they must go into the ground. Their roots will get as big as the top growth and if you keep it in a container longer, it will die slowly.
To utilize your lavender the goal is to harvest your lavender when the bottom third of the flower spike has bloomed. This ensures that the oils are well developed and it helps keep the blossoms from shattering once dry. It’s Simple; just cut, rubber band, and hang upside down in a dark ventilated place. The dark location prevents the sun from altering the color of your harvest; the ventilation prevents your bouquets from molding. Depending on the size of your bouquets and your climate your bundles will be dry and ready for defoliation in about ten days to two weeks.
Once your lavender bouquets are dry you can now enjoy them in many different ways. You can place your dried bouquet in a vase on the mantle or hang it with some lace as a wall decoration. To make sachets or potpourri you will need to defoliate your dried bouquets. To defoliate wear gloves and hold your bouquet upside down over a bowl and roll it between your hands. Clean the buds you have collected in your bowl by picking out the large stems and leaves and sifting over a screen. Once clean you are ready to craft, create or cook with your lavender blossoms.
When cooking with lavender, the Angustifolias are preferred but any lavender can be used in cooking just some will give a more camphor flavor that the Angustifolias. My favorites are Folgate, Betty's Blue and Hidcote for cooking.
Everyday Ways To Use Lavender:
First Aid: Apply one drop of lavender essential oil directly to a minor wound after it has been cleaned and dress appropriately.
Burns: For mild burns, place 3-4 drops of lavender essential oil onto the wound dressing.
Bruises: Place a few drops of lavender essential oil into a bowl of cold water using a washcloth as a cold compress. Place 1-2 drops of lavender essential oil directly onto the bruise once a day until the bruise is healed. If the oil is too strong use a carrier oil such as sweet almond or olive oil with the lavender E.O.
Sunburn: Place 15 drops of lavender essential oil into 1 cup of cold distilled water. Place is a sprayer or dab onto sunburn. Lavender has analgesic properties that help to alleviate some of the pain of sunburn.
Disinfectant: Lavender has fabulous antiseptic properties. For cleaning use 6-10 drops of lavender essential in a spray bottle filled with water and a 1/2 tsp of dish soap. For windows, mix vinegar, water and a few drops of essential oil in a spray bottle. For areas that require scrubbing such as bathroom sinks, sprinkle baking soda and a drop or two of lavender essential oil, gently scrub and rinse.
Stress: Place lavender buds in a small sachet bag. Squeeze gently a few times and inhale. Or place 20 drops of lavender essential oil into a warm tub and relax away the stresses of the day. Or use a vaporizer with 5-10 drops of lavender E.O. Not only does it relieve stress but it helps to keep the vaporizer clean.
Insomnia: Apply one drop of lavender essential oil to the corner of your pillow case nightly. Take deep breaths as you relax your body. Do every night for a week or so and you will eventually train your body to relax when it smells the essential oil.
Insect/Bee stings: Place one drop of essential oil directly onto the bite/sting. Lavender oil can reduce swelling, pain and itching. Place 15-20 drops of lavender essential oil into 1 cups of water. Place in sprayer and spray body to prevent insect bites – great for mosquito protection.
Before you know it the lavender season will be here. We open May 27th. The prime bloom is end of June through mid-July. Plants will be available for sale starting in May until we run out. Until then shop our lavender products online!