Gardening Tips for Lavender Lovers

All the tips and hints you need for growing and caring for your own lavender!

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As you might imagine we’re potty about lavender plants here but judging from the lovely comments we receive from many of our visitors, we know that we’re not alone in being big fans of these Mediterranean beauties.

If you count yourself as a lavender lover and are keen to re-create your own patch of purple at home, you may be interested to read our top tips on planting and caring for your own plants.

Growing Lavender

Lavender front coverLavender needs to be planted in porous soil, chalk is ideal, as it is slightly alkaline and allows for rain water to permeate through

Lavender can grow in a non-porous soil (clay etc.) if sand or grit or something that allows drainage is mixed in

We’re lucky as we have ideal growing conditions on the farm. The soil is chalky and the slope of our field allows for a high amount of surface run-off, meaning that lavender doesn’t sit in water for too long

16938790_10155013498646354_8213196505658959149_n[1]Lavender likes to be in a place that will get a lot of sun (we may have the right soil but we haven’t been blessed with a lot of sun this week!) but so long as lavender is well aerated it will still thrive

When planted, lavender needs help to become established in the ground and will need watering for the first seven to ten days or so

Once established the lavender won’t need any additional watering aside from incidental rainfall

If you’re planning to keep your lavender in a pot you will however need to keep watering it occasionally

It doesn’t necessarily need any extra feed to help it become established

Credit to: Organic Relief

There is flexibility when it comes to harvesting your lavender stems. If you’re cutting your plant for fresh flowers, you can cut them whenever you like

For dried lavender, ideally they should be picked just before the petals (corollas) open up

Lavender will survive just as happily if pruned once the lavender heads have lost all their colour

When pruning, stems should be cut above the greenery, about two inches above the old wood. This will allow for new growth for next season

If the stem is cut too far down into the old wood it can damage or even kill off a plant

Which variety to pick?

Lavandula_angustifolia_-_Köhler–s_Medizinal-Pflanzen-087There are 39 species of lavender worldwide and within each species there are hundreds of varieties, meaning that there are many different colours, scents and foliage types to choose from.

We have two main species that are farmed at Hitchin Lavender. They are Lavandula angustifolia and Lavandula x intermedia, although you’ll be able to see 60 varieties growing in our display field and 10 varieties in our main field.

Angustifolia is a very valuable species of lavender because of the high quality oil that is produced by the plants. The oils can be used in perfume, cosmetics, for aromatherapy and utilised as an antiseptic. Its flowering period is from mid-June to late July. It is the hardiest of the lavender types and fairly forgiving of pruning mistakes! It has a shorter stem and more contained greenery making it a good option for domestic use.

Bees Love the LavenderIntermedia is a hybrid plant which comes from a cross of angustifolia and latifolia lavender. Many varieties of intermedia are used for producing commercial oil and dried bunches, as the yields from these plants are up to three times greater than angustifolia. Intermedia is very hardy with a flowering period from early July through to September.

If you’d like to pick a variety of lavender that can be found in our fields, you can pop along to our shop where we currently have plenty of plants for sale. There’s a selection of  angustifolia, intermedia and also stoechas which are available in three different pot sizes. Our range of plants changes over the course of the season, but at the moment we have the following in stock:

  • Alba, Lavandula x intermedia (White)
  • Arctic snow, Lavandula angustifolia (White)
  • Hidcote, Lavandula angustifolia (Dark purple)
  • Folgate, Lavandula angustifolia(Dark purple)
  • Blue cushion, Lavandula angustifolia (Mid purple)
  • Regal splendour, Lavandula stoechas (Mid purple)
  • Miss Katherine, Lavandula angustifolia (Pink)
  • Dwarf Blue/Munstead , Lavandula angustifolia (Light purple)

For further information about our lavender shop or visiting us please see our website.

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