Lavender is a wonderful herb and a great garden plant, it has found its home in English country gardens. Visit our plant nursery at the farm to find a large range of lavender plants for sale.
There are many things you can do with Lavender apart from enjoying it in the garden: you can dry the flowers and make lavender bags, weave lavender wands or cook with it, making lavender cup cakes and yummy lavender shortbread.
There are quite a number but it’s a good idea to concentrate on the three main groups -
English Lavender: Lavandula Angustifola
‘French’ Lavender: Lavandula Stoechas
Hybrid Lavenders: Lavandula Intermedia
Each group has its own different lavenders but there are some common threads.
English Lavender Lavandula angustifoila won’t get too big for your garden. On the whole these reach about 24” when flowering. This group also has some smaller lavenders that are great for small gardens or pots. They are all fully hardy and so won’t get damaged by the frost. They are sun lovers and will enjoy a sunny spot in free- draining alkaline soil. Early to mid-season, flowering June and July. This group contains some garden classics like Hidcote, Munstead, Imperial Gem to name a few.
‘French’ Lavender Lavandula Stoechas. This is the lavender with ‘ears’ - little sterile bracts that pop up like rabbits’ ears. They are very colourful and are grown commercially in Spain but for some reason we often call them ‘French lavenders’. They are easy to grow and have a very long flowering period. In some seasons they can flower in May and if deadheaded will carry on flowering until mid-September. One thing worth remembering is that they are not fully hardy, they will be all right to about -6 degrees C but will need shelter from hard frosts. So choose a sheltered position in the garden for them. They are good value in pots because of the long flowering period. Varieties to look out for Papillon, Regal Splendour, Tiara.
Lavandula intermedia, hybrid lavenders. These lavenders are wonderfully fragrant big bold plants, they will get to about 36” tall and wide when flowering and are easy and quick to grow. They too like a sunny position in free-draining soil. A good addition to any garden as they flower slightly later than their English cousins in July and August. One of the best intermedia plants is Grosso.
How to care for your hardy lavender
Plant in a sunny position. Prepare the ground well. Weed control and drainage are vital to the success of your planting.
If the soil is heavy add grit to the hole before planting to improve drainage.
To plant lavender dig a hole twice the size of your pot.
Ensure that the plant is well watered before planting and water the hole in the ground. Then back fill the hole with soil.
You may add a sprinkling of bone meal to the hole and mix it in the soil, before you plant. After planting keep an eye on your plants for the first few weeks; if it is very dry you may need to water your plants while they get established.
Soil type: Lavender likes neutral to alkaline soil, so if your soil is acid add garden lime in the spring to raise the ph.
Fertiliser is not essential but a general potash to aid flowering applied during the growing season will be beneficial.
Prune hardy lavender after flowering to keep the plants shape and stop them becoming woody. Prune your lavender as soon as it has finished flowering. Cut back by about two thirds leaving one or two good green leaf shoots below where you cut. Your lavender will soon recover and leaf up to leave a green leafy dome overwinter. Ensure that small plants are also pruned each season to maintain shape.
How to care for your stoechas lavender (often called butterfly or French lavender)
These plants do very well in pots and have a very long flowering season. They may be deadheaded unlike hardy lavender.
Hardy to -5 degrees C they need a sunny sheltered position in the garden.
All other instructions are the same as hardy lavender: see other side of the sheet.
Tip: If your lavender is still flowering at the end of September cut it back anyway to prevent it from becoming woody.
If growing lavender in pots choose a sheltered, airy position in winter; water the compost only when it is quite dry.
English Lavenders Lavandula Angustifolia: plant 12 to 15 inches apart to form a hedge.
Intermedia Hybrid Lavenders 15 to 18 inches apart to form a hedge.