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In the right conditions, this drought tolerant plant really stands out in the garden with its fragrant flowers that dry so beautifully. Lavender also attracts bees, and if you look carefully, you’ll see a bee pollinating the upper right of this lavender bush.
Use dried lavender in everlasting flower arrangements, potpourri or aromatic sachets to keep clothes smelling fresh. When the scent eventually fades, refresh it with a few drops of pure lavender essential oil. Even just brushing up against this fragrant flower in the garden is a delight.
Growing lavender is rather easy – IF you have the right growing conditions. This perennial prefers full sun and at least 6 hours of direct sun; preferably 8 or more. Lavender grows best in alkaline soil (pH 7 to 8); you may need to add lime if you have acidic soil.
Give these plants a sunny, hot spot with excellent drainage. These perennials are drought tolerant once established, but don’t forget to water young plants periodically before they completely dry out.
Incidentally, these potted lavenders were spotted at Trader Joe’s. They’re awfully cute and would make a nice gift. But keep in mind that lavender can grow 3 to 4 feet high and wide, depending on the variety, so these little plants should eventually be moved to much larger containers or garden beds for better growth.
To transplant lavender, dig a hole with a Fiskars shovel that can accommodate the plant’s large root system. In the pot, gently loosen the soil with a Fiskars transplanter and gently knock the plant from its container. Spread the roots, and plant in the garden.
To focus the plant on growing a strong root system, cut back the flowers and use them for craft projects. The lavender plant may not flower any more that year, but it will develop into a stronger plant next year.
Lavender has edible flowers, but not all lavenders taste the same. English lavender (Lavandula augustifolia) is considered the most appropriate for culinary purposes. English lavender thrives in an arid sunny climate and rather sandy soil. In ideal growing conditions, this lavender can reseed itself around the garden, providing more baby plants.
Most lavenders are hardy in Zones 5 to 9, but Spanish Lavender (L. stoechas), shown above, is only hardy in Zones 7 to 9. Spanish lavender, however, seems to tolerate hot, humid weather better than other types. Southern gardeners, this is a good lavender for you!
Prune lavender bushes in early spring and at harvest time. You can deadhead flowers at any time. Starting the second year, prune back your lavender annually to shape the plant and keep it from getting too woody. Be sure to breathe deeply as you work, because you’ll love the natural aromatherapy.