Lavender is an easy to grow, evergreen shrub that produces masses of beautifully scented flowers above green or silvery-grey foliage. This drought-tolerant plant thrives in a sunny border, container, herb or gravel gardens.
If your lavender is getting out of hand here are some tips for getting it back into shape, and when and where to cut for pruning.
The intoxicating scent of lavender conjours romantic images of Provence and the Mediterranean. This video visits a lavender farm and takes a look at all the wonderful varieties on offer and gives you a few simple tips to create a stunning display in your garden.
Lavenders should be pruned every year to keep them compact. On established plants use secateurs to remove flower stalks and about 2.5cm (1 inch) of the current year’s growth, making sure that some green growth remains. Lavender does not grow readily from old wood and neglected specimens are best replaced.
Lavender is best planted between April and May as the soil is warming up. It thrives in any poor or moderately fertile, free-draining soils in full sun, and is ideal for chalky or alkaline soils.
- On heavier soils, like clay and clay loam, lavender tends to be fairly short-lived, becoming woody at the base.
- To prolong the life of your lavender on heavier soil, add organic matter and gravel to improve the drainage and plant on a mound.
- If growing as a hedge, plant on a ridge to keep the base of the plants out of wet soil.
- Space plants 90cm (3ft) apart, or if growing a hedge, 30cm (1ft) apart or, 45cm (18in) for larger cultivars.
Once established, lavender is fairly drought-tolerant and is suitable for coastal planting and gravel gardens.