We have had SO many people tell us at farmer’s markets “we went to your farm and bought a lavender plant from you and it died.” The small problem with this is we were not selling lavender plants until now. However, this type of communication has prompted us to put this guide together so you can help you give your lavender plants the ideal conditions to thrive when you buy a plant from us!
Lavender is finicky when young, before its roots get established. Lavender is extremely susceptible to transplant shock every time you change its environment. Established lavender does not like water but it needs it when it is transplanted in a new environment. Lavender needs its ideal growing conditions. Once your lavender plant is established in its final resting place, it is difficult to kill unless you baby it. It is a weed that thrives on neglect.
I know it is impossible to acquire everything that is necessary to create the ideal growing conditions if you are not a lavender farmer for just a single plant or two. It is advisable to do what you are able to do, within this guide, to mimic the growing conditions to keep your lavender plant alive!
There is a table of contents at the top of this post so you may navigate the areas that apply to the type of plant you buy. We sell two different types of lavender plants. One is the hydroponic rooted starter plug which you will transplant into a 3-5 inch pot upon arrival. The other is a potted plant and you will want to skip over the section “when you receive your lavender rooted starter plant.”
When You Receive Your Lavender Rooted Starter Plant:
Carefully unwrap your lavender starter plant.
Inspect your plant. You should see a healthy plant, roots and growing medium that looks like a sponge. Do not detach the growing medium, it will eventually disintegrate over time.
There may be a little green or white residue on the top of the growing medium. This is NOT anything to cause concern. It is residue buildup from hydroponic nutrients and completely normal and beneficial to your plants
Most of our lavender starter plants are hydroponic starts so make sure you put them in a glass with water up to 1/3 of the growing medium, if you do not have time to transplant upon arrival.
Make sure the water in the glass does not touch the plant area, just the growing medium (partially) and roots. Unless you know the pH of your water, you should use distilled water for your lavender starter plant. City water is filled with chemicals like chlorine or fluoride that could make your baby plant go into “shock.” Your plant will be OK in a glass of water for up to a week before you transplant it.
Lavender is a weed that thrives on neglect. Many kill their plants because they give it “too much love” or fertilizer or do not mimic ideal transplanting conditions. Once established, just ignore it and it will thrive!
What are “ideal lavender growing conditions?”
- Alkaline, nutrient poor soil
- Sandy, sandy loam soil, well draining
- Pea gravel or rock does two things: to deflect rainwater from hitting the plant leaves and also reflects sunlight on the plants
- Sun – lots of direct sun!
Ideal Lavender Soil Combo
- 1/2 Sphagnum Peat Moss
- 1/4 Sand
- 1/4 Pea Gravel
Do not use rich soils. Use well draining soil combinations only.
Transplanting Lavender for Indoor Growing
You should transplant for indoor growing to allow the roots to establish in soil in a controlled environment before putting your lavender rooted starter plug in the ground, outdoors.
Lavender goes into transplant shock very easy. You want to make sure you do not disturb the roots whenever you transplant lavender. You also want to make sure you provide “ideal lavender conditions” for each lavender plant.
Use a heating pad on lowest setting for 6-8 hours a day.
Keep in a sunny south facing window or place a grow light 12″ above plant.
Keep moist until the lavender is established in the ground or mature in a pot. Lavender does not like a lot of water when they are established but they love it during establishment. Our plants are hydroponic starts so they love to be watered from the bottom. Simply place a saucer or bowl under plant and place the water in the saucer.
Size up pots when roots get too big. Your plant will be approximately 4-5 inches tall when it is time to size up pots! Start with a 3-5 inch pot and, if you are overwintering your lavender plant, graduate to a 1 gallon pot.
Transplanting Lavender for Outdoor Growing
Find a nice sunny space for your lavender plant outdoors. Lavender is a sun loving plant. You will want to make sure it has a minimum of 8 hours or direct sunlight daily.
- Dig a hole twice the size of the lavender plant root ball
- Add 1 Tablespoon dolomite lime to the bottom of the hole. This will help the surrounding area become alkaline.
- Top the dolomite lime with a layer of shredded leaves or compost material. You do not want the lime directly touching the roots.
- Transplant the lavender plant with the ideal soil combo.
- Top with 1/2-1 inch of pea gravel in a 12 inch diameter around your lavender plant. The pea gravel assists with drainage, keeps moisture off leaves and reflects sunlight back on to the plant.
- ***IMPORTANT NOTE: If your soil is clay do not use sand in your soil mixture. It will turn to cement! Instead explore options of Planting on Mounds or Raised Planters + Soil Amendments: Sphagnum Peat Moss, Gypsum, Shredded Leaves, Pea Gravel, etc to loosen up the soil and make it well draining.
- BARK MULCH IS A NO NO: It retains moisture and will kill your lavender plant
Caring for Outdoor Lavender Plants
Every year we do a soil test. This is not practical for home gardeners with a couple of plants. Simply add 1/4 cup of dolomite lime, on top of the soil 8 inches away from the base of the lavender plant. Do this in the spring as the plants are “waking up” and in the summer after the bloom.
Pruning is a controversial subject for me. When you properly “harvest” your lavender, you do not need to prune. Properly harvesting is cutting each blossom, one by one, with scissors. You cut underneath the second set of leaves on the stalk below the bloom.
Sometimes your lavender plant will suffer significant winter damage. Make sure you give your plant an abundance of time to “wake up.” If it is taking a long time to wake up, you may need to perform a “hard prune.” You may prune everything down to 6″. If it is not dead, it will revive itself within a couple of weeks and you will see green growth.
Remember: Lavender Thrives on Neglect. Lavender does not like fertile soil or too much water (after establishment) and does not like to be coddled. Most lavender plants die because their doting new owners were guilty of loving them too much. Once they are established, just make sure you keep the area weed free and leave them alone.
Transplanting our Lavender Rooted Plugs into Hydroponics
Our lavender rooted plugs are hydroponic starts using aerogarden sponges. So if you have hydroponic units such as an aerogarden or lettuce grow, you may transplant your lavender into aerogarden units with no problems. If you want to transplant into another unit like a Lettuce Grow, you will need to tear a root riot hydroponic medium in half and wrap around the aerogarden medium to tuck in the basket.
In hydroponics keep pH around 7 for Lavender plants. Lavender takes a minute to bloom in hydroponics (4-6 months or greater!) Use pH up or baking soda in small amounts until you reach your desired pH in your hydroponics. Also, keep the fertilizer to a minimum. Use half of the regular fertilizer you normally use for growing lavender in hydroponics.
The only lavender types that have produced blossoms for me are: Munstead, Ellagance Sky or Ellagance Purple.
Tips to Avoid Transplant Shock with our Lavender Seedlings & Plants
- If possible: Use the same dirt combination that we use.
- Use distilled or alkaline well water and slowly (over about the course of a week) dilute with your tap water until you are using 100% tap water.
- (Optional) Ideally, you need the pH of your water for lavender around 7 for lavender. If you have a pH meter, pour water into a clean and empty jug. Add baking soda 1 tablespoon at a time. Shake, let it dissolve and rest for an hour, shake again and test pH. Repeat until you reach a pH reading of 7 and let sit for 24 hours before using. Test pH before using.
- Water daily until established (about 3-6 weeks.)
- Avoid disturbing the roots as much as possible.
Lavandula angustifolia Descriptions
AKA “English Lavender”. Originated in Mediterranean regions and is drought resistant. Lavandula angustifolia performs well in our sandy, well draining soil and prefers alkaline soils. Lavandula angustifolia winters well insulated under our “snowbelt” heavy snowfalls. The pea gravel reflects the heat and sun to mimic its original environment and encourage quick growth.
This type of lavender is culinary grade and espouses the highest therapeutic value of all types of lavender. These plants tend to remain compact and are not as “showy” as Lavandins.
A majority of our Lavandula angustifolia has been germinated by seed hydroponically to ensure that no inorganic pesticide, herbicide and fertilizer has touched our plants. It takes 2-3 seasons for the plants to mature when germinated by seed.
Lavandula angustifolia “Munstead”
- AKA “Munstead”
- Blooms: Rosy Purple
- Value: High Culinary Value, Floral Taste & Scent
- USDA Hardiness Zones: 5-9
- 12″-18″ Tall x 18″-24″ Wide at Maturity
Lavandula angustifolia “Ellagance Snow”
- AKA “Ella Snow”
- Blooms: White
- Value: Sweet Taste, Like Candy
- USDA Hardiness Zones: 5-9
- 12″ Tall x 16″ Wide at Maturity
Lavandula angustifolia “Hidcote Blue”
- AKA “Hidcote Blue”
- Blooms: Deep Purple
- Value: High Therapeutic Value, Citrus Taste & Scent
- USDA Hardiness Zones: 4-9
- 15″ Tall x 18″ Wide at Maturity
Lavandula angustifolia “Ellagance Sky”
- AKA “Ella Sky”
- Blooms: Lilac Blue
- Fleuroselect Gold Medal Winner in 2006
- USDA Hardiness Zones: 5-8
- 12″ Tall x 10″ Wide at Maturity
Lavandula angustifolia Rosea aka “Jean Davis”
- AKA “Jean Davis”
- Blooms: Light Pink
- USDA Hardiness Zones: 6-8
- 12″ Tall x 12″ Wide at Maturity