Shrubs & Hedges
Lavender: The Secrets to Growing Success
The lavender herb is many things: The head turner. The body builder. The scent superior. Once you go lavender, you never go back. And why would you? Its indispensable property as a landscape champion only scratches the surface on the numerous great traits this violet beauty possesses.
Lavender’s high marks for looks doesn’t mean it’s low in toughness. Although it’s a Mediterranean native, Lavender can grow in almost any region (Zones 5-9) and can even take some neglect. Plus, you can grow this herb in almost any landscape design. Hedgerows, rock gardens, and even containers are perfect for lavender. You can even cut the just opened flowers in the spring to add to a favorite vase in your home. The lush soothing scents will fill the air and rest the soul.
A Spoonful of Lavender
You can’t beat lavender for its impeccable medicinal and culinary attributes. Its body enhancing properties are numerous:
• Soothes scalp conditions
• Aids in digestion and sleep
• Lowers heart rate and blood pressure
• Natural anti-inflammatory
Ready to Grow?
Now that you know all the wonderful properties of lavender, it’s time to get one in the ground. First off, you should choose the best variety for your region. If you want an all-purpose lavender that can resist hot and cold, stave off fungi, and still have a full fragrance, then look no further than the Phenomenal Lavender (Lavandula intermedia ‘Phenomenal’ ). This rugged jewel is highly adaptable to the Deep South, and it is the toughest lavender ever developed. Better Homes and Gardens even called this distinguished herb a “Must Grow”.
Or, if you’re wanting a little blue in your landscape, then pick up the extra hardy Munstead Blue Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia ‘munstead’). Want the purples to really pop out? Then select the highly fragrant but low maintenance Hidcote Purple Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’ ).
It’s planting time!
Once you find your perfect lavender, pick out a spot in the garden. Of course, if you’re limited on space, lavenders thrive in container pots, especially in the Deep South. But, if you’re wanting to enhance the garden, lavender is great as a hedge or for garden edging. Its superstar hues will make your other flowers, like Roses and Shasta Daisies, jump out at the eye,
First off, set your herbs 12 to 18 inches apart with access to full sun and excellent air circulation. Add builder’s sand to the soil, or put gravel around the plant to increase drainage. Gravel adds an extra bonus by allowing the water to evaporate quicker. Lavender hates wet soil and too much humidity. The added drainage will keep your plant healthy.
During the growing season, feed your plant sparingly but richly. Add a phosphorus rich fertilizer like bone meal or side dress several times during the season with a rich compost.
Your fears of shears have no place in the lavender bed. It only requires a good prune in the spring when flowers are just appearing. You can sculpt to any shape, and you only need to cut it down to a third every three years.
The extra incentive for cutting is that you have a wealth of cut flowers for almost any floral arrangement in the home. The flower spikes have an incredible scent just as the flowers are peaking their heads in the spring. Cut the stems long and add to your vase. Or dry them out in the sun for an extra boost to your potpourri collection. Best of all, the lavender will have a second bloom period for months of divine scents inside and outside. The bees and butterflies will be happy too!
If you follow the guidelines above, then the rest is easy. The lavender’s resilient nature (especially the Phenomenal variety) makes it stand strong against even the harshest of summers and winters. Pests like bugs, deer, and rabbits are repelled by the scent. Fungus is rarely a problem as long as the soil is well-drained. A flower has never been this easy, yet so regal!