Care of the Lavender Plant

Lavender plant

Lavender is native to Europe. These plants are prized for their fragrant lavender flowers, which are used for perfume and sachets, and their gray-green aromatic foliage.

Placement: For indoor growing, lavender should receive as much light as possible. It will do best in a south-facing window or where it can get a minimum of three to four hours of direct sunlight. Rotate the pot weekly for uniform growth and flowering. Without enough light, the lavender plant will produce weak, spindly growth, will cease to produce flowers, and it will be more susceptible to disease. Indoors, good ventilation and air circulation are important, but do not place the plant where it will be exposed to the direct flow of forced-air heat. Ideal indoor temperatures from spring through mid-fall are 50 to 55 degrees F at night and 70 degrees F during the day. During the late fall through winter, temperatures should be cooler: 45 to 50 degrees F at night and 60 to 65 degrees F during the day. The lavender plant will benefit from being moved into a semi-shaded area outdoors after all danger of frost is past. In the spring, it may be planted outside in a sunny area. When mature, the plant can take temperatures down to 10 degrees F.

Watering: Drench thoroughly when watering and allow the soil to become slightly dry between waterings. Check soil moisture by feeling soil with your finger. Over- watering and allowing the soil to stay constantly moist may cause rot. However, do not allow the soil to go completely dry, or the lavender will react with yellowing lower leaves. If the lavender is moved outside in the spring, be mindful that it will dry out more quickly and will need watering more often.

Pruning: Cutting branches for flower harvest causes new growth to sprout and promotes bushiness. Tip prune occasionally if more bushiness is desired. Be aware that flowers are produced at the branch tips and constant tip pruning will reduce flowering.

Fertilizing: Fertilize with all-purpose, water-soluble fertilizer at half strength every four weeks during spring and summer.

Potting: Repot after one year or in early spring into an 8″ pot, using good-quality potting soil.

Toxicity: This plant should not be eaten. While most plants are harmless, some contain toxins.

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