Planting French Lavender In Pots
One important tip to grow French lavender in pots: avoid soil moisture at all costs.
- Double-check that the pot has a hole.
- Add a drainage layer made with small gravel or clay pebbles.
Usually young plants are ripe for repotting the moment youve purchased them . Repot it to a pot that is about 2 inches or 5 cm wider for that first season. After that, you can either upsize the pot every year, or plant it directly in a pot that is the final size: 1 to 1½ feet across .
At that size, simply replenishing nutrients with fertilizer such as fermented weed tea is perfect.
Which Variety Should I Choose
Hidcote and Munstead are the hardiest, and definitely best for growing outdoors year round across the UK. Unless you live in the sunny South, all our other varieties will be fine outdoors, but they will be attractive and healthy for longer in pots that are taken indoors overwinter, or grown in a conservatory or big South facing window.
In all cases, the issue isn’t whether the plants will survive in a cold climate , but how long they will look great for: 10 or 12 years is a good run in ideal conditions. You can grow any variety you like in a suitable location anywhere in Great Britain, but in colder regions, Munstead and Hidcote will stay gorgeous the longest.
How To Prune English Lavender
This true lavender is the most versatile of them all, able to live for up to 25 years or more if maintained properly. They do very well outdoors and have long, slender blooms that occur late spring to early summer. Light pruning is best after the first harvest, followed by a heavier one during summer or fall.
They are more forgiving when you miss a pruning session and make for great hedges in the yard or garden. This variety is best for essential oils, tea, or potpourri.
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Theres Nothing Lovelier Than Lavender
Lavender is one of natures most vibrant creations and having an abundance of them will add some much-needed colour to your life! Now that weve covered the basics, its time to put our trimming tips to good use. Just remember to keep your lavenders looking lovely so they can give you lush blooms for many years to come!
When And How To Prune:
- Prune right after the first flowering and again in late August after the last flush has faded.
- Cut off about 2/3 of the plants height or to just above the bottom two sets of leaves on each stem.
- Take care not to cut into the woody part of the plant which can cause damage.
- Twice-a-year pruning will keep your plant healthy and compact.
Pictured left: MunsteadLavender, Zones 5 9
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How To Trim A Potted Lavender Plant
Lavenders are perennial herbs prized for their fragrance, attractive white, pink or purplish flowers, grayish foliage and drought tolerance. Timing the major trimming of a potted lavender for when florets are beginning to open allows you to combine harvesting of the lavender flowers with pruning. Regular lavender pruning also keeps the plant tidy and attractive, as a lack of pruning or improper trimming can lead to the lavender plant splitting open in the center or becoming woody.
Cut off about the top third of each lavender stem in early spring when green leaves begin to emerge from the base of the plant. Lavenders bloom on the current season’s growth so this will not have a negative impact on bloom.
Prune stems back lightly in the summer selectively to maintain the desired shape or size or head back especially vigorous stems that look out of place.
Inspect the lavender plant regularly throughout the growing season for any physical damage to the stems or an infestation by spittlebugs, one of the few potential pests of lavender, and make a cut just above a leaf or stem junction to remove the damaged or spittle-covered area. Use any physically damaged portion of the lavender as desired but dispose of any spittlebug-infested portion of the plant away from the lavender and any other desirable vegetation.
Cut back the rest of the lavender so that approximately 1 to 2 inches of green stem remain above woody brown stems.
Rescue A Woody Lavender
Trim and tidy these fragrant woody perennials as soon as the bees lose interest, says Sally Coates from Norfolk Lavender
Pruning lavender helps plants to keep their neat, rounded shape and prolong their lifespan. At Norfolk Lavender, head gardener Sally Coates prunes the National Plant Collection of Lavenders with shears.
If left unpruned, plants become too tall, woody and gappy, splay open and finally collapse, she explains. For plant health and longevity, its best to maintain a compact, rounded shape, or for a lavender hedge, a nice undulating caterpillar.
Pruning also promotes more vigorous growth the following year and can help to keep stems from becoming congested.
With a young but established plant, cut the stems right back after flowering at the end of summer. This way the new shoots emerge from low down on the base of the plant next spring.
Established lavender plants that have some woodier growth at the bottom are generally tidied and maintained with just one annual cut, straight after flowering in late August/September, once the bees are no longer interested. If the flowers have gone over and look dull, theyre developing into seedheads. You can cut these back as soon as they form, using secateurs, or wait until October.
You may need to completely regenerate older, established specimens by cutting back into the old wood to remove the congested stems, allowing light and air into the centre.
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Lavender The Illusion Of France
The branches removed from your lavender plant can be put to use in several different ways. For instance, you could make lavender bags to place in drawers and cupboards to keep your clothes smelling nice and fresh. The branches cut off during the September pruning are ideal for this.Not only does lavender provide a scent sensation but it also works as a visual treat. If you have an unsightly part of the garden or a chair that needs covering, why not try a painting of lavender, or a lavender cushion.
How Do You Cut Back Lavender For Winter
Cut back lavender before winter to create a tidy mound that will give structure to the garden over the coldest months. Lavender is an evergreen shrub, so it retains foliage year round.
Its best to do your first prune before the fall, but hardier varieties can respond well to a fall pruning before the winter.
Leaving faded blooms on the plant can also provide food for seed-eating birds, so its not always necessary to remove the flowers straight after blooming.
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Is A Lavender Patio Tree A Perennial
Place your container grown lavender plants somewhere they receive full sun and water them sparingly. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings, but don’t let it get so dry that the plant wilts. Lavender likes heat, and many varieties won’t survive a cold winter.
Subsequently, question is, how do you winter a lavender tree? English lavender is hardy in Zones 5 and warmer, usually overwintering in the ground outside just fine without any added protection. In an open winter with no snow cover, we may pile a thin layer of straw or shredded leaves over them for added cover.
In this manner, can you plant a lavender patio tree in the ground?
Plant your lavender tree into soil that drains well. If you have perlite or builder’s sand on hand, mix a handful of that into the soil to sharpen the drainage. You might want to add a few inches of limestone gravel to the bottom of pots, but only if space permits. Do not overwater a lavender tree.
Is Lavender a sun or shade plant?
Most species of lavender will grow in partial shade, but Lavandula latifolia, “Spike Lavender,” is an exception. It should be planted in a location with full sun exposure and well-drained soil. It may not grow at all if planted in the shade.
Gardening Tools You’ll Need To Prune Lavender
Before getting started, you need some tools to get the job done. Sharpening your shears and trimmers will give your plants a clean cut to help them heal faster. To avoid contamination and disease, make sure your tools are clean and sanitised properly in a diluted bleach solution:
- Gardening gloves for sanitation and protection
- Pruning shears for small, singular plants
- Hedge trimmer for bigger, outdoor bushes and hedges
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What Is A Lavender Tree
Youre probably familiar with the classic English lavender plants that are often grown in gardens and pots, both indoors and out. Well, Id like to introduce you to a lavender tree!
It still has the same qualities as lavender, with the lovely leaves and flowers. Yet, it takes on a whole new look with the foliage portion sitting on top of a thin trunk in topiary form.
A lavender tree is made from a plant that was trimmed and trained to grow from the top. You can buy them already formed into a tree, or patiently trim your own. The branches can grow up and rounded, or they can grow out and be more spikey. Choose the look that you love!
It stays quite petite with a height of 2-3 feet. However, if it is housed in a pot, it can appear a bit taller than that. The width can be up to 2 feet, or you can cut it back to keep it more in proportion with the height.
Lavender trees look really nice in pots that are placed indoors or on a patio. Choose a pot or basket that suits your style and place the basic pot the tree came in inside of your preferred pot or basket.
They can also be planted in raised beds and right into a garden. They have such a cute and simple look!
Renovation Pruning & Replacing Mature Lavender
The consensus about clipping lavender is that the leafy, silver-green stems should be cut down to two or three buds above where it becomes hard and woody . Pruning lavender gently each and every year, as described above, will keep it compact and stop it getting leggy before time. Lavender has a limited lifespan of looking great, with the dense foliage and profuse flowers that we love so much. After about a decade, or as little as five years in poor conditions, plants will naturally become sparser and flower less, despite your dilligent pruning.
Your best option is to replace them, either by propagating cuttings yourself in advance, or buying new plants in Spring and early Summer. In our experience, it is best not to cut lavender back hard: it can be attempted in stages over about four years, but the chances are high that you will create bald patches. You can try to coax new buds from the tough old wood near the base of the plants over a few years, with a moderate chance of success, by cutting back a different quarter of a bush’s main branches each Autumn, tightly trimming the remainder to one or two buds of new growth as normal: insulating plants in freezing weather with fleece and straw will help new buds and soft growth survive.
You can also try layering branches to root new plants over a couple of years.
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How To Prune A Lavender Twist Redbud Tree
“Lavender Twist” is the trademarked common name of the “Covey” redbud cultivar , a weeping form of common redbud that thrives in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9. The tree grows in a spreading mound shape up to 10 feet tall and wide, with long, cascading branches that can sweep the ground. In addition to its weeping branches, Lavender Twist is regarded for its bright pink to lavender flowers and contorting branches. The tree requires minimal pruning during winter dormancy to nurture young branches and maintain a rounded, weeping form.
Prepare a 10 percent solution of diluted chlorine bleach, mixing 9 parts water with 1 part chlorine bleach. Clean and disinfect the blades of your pruning tools with the bleach solution before pruning your Lavender Twist.
Remove all dead and broken branches back to the nearest healthy branch union or to the trunk if the entire branch is dead or damaged. Cut just above the branch union so you don’t leave a stub on the branch. Cut just outside the branch collar when cutting branches back to the trunk cutting through the branch collar makes it difficult for the cut to heal, opening the plant to disease and infection.
Remove all diseased branches, cutting them about six inches away from the affected area to ensure all disease is removed. Disinfect any pruning tools used for diseased branches immediately so you don’t spread the disease to other branches.
Select The Right Lavender
- Since not all lavenders are hardy, containers provide the opportunity to grow lavender that would otherwise not be suited to your garden.
- Any lavender variety will grow in a container and can be clipped in decorative balls and cones, but some are better suited than others. They produce flowers fast and maintain a manageable size in pots.
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Which Size Should I Buy
Starting with the right sized plant makes a significant different to the cost, the speed of establishment and the final structure.
- For window boxes and other cramped spaces, start with the smallest plants, which come in P9 pots and are a year old. If you plant them outside, do it from the end of May when the soil is nice and warm. They are the cheapest way to buy a lavender hedge, and you will have to wait a year or two longer for them to knit together.
- For borders, hedges and edges, two-year-old plants in 1 or 2 litre pots are ideal. You get more root and more flower in the first year, and they do not look lost planted at one plant every 13″ . By the end of the first summer, they will have joined up.
- For specimen shrubs that provide instant impact, buy larger plants in 3 litre pots. We recommend that you avoid pot sizes above 5 litres if you see them around: they are expensive, but the results are often “uneven”. If these large plants are on a special offer discount, they may also have outgrown their pot and so are too pot bound to establish well elsewhere.
Lavender History & Trivia
Vita Sackville-West, chatelaine of Sissinghurst, suggests in her Garden Book that all gardeners should have the good sense to grow lavender along paths or in a clump by your front door so that you can pinch the leaves as you go past.
It is hard to gainsay such good advice. Lavender epitomises the English summer garden between June and September almost as much as roses, and this has been so since at least Tudor times. Native to the Mediterranean, India and the Canary Islands, the Romans brought them to England as an essential part of their toilette. The etymology of lavender is from the verb lavare to wash: lavender flowers were used in baths for their scent, with its rejuvenating notes of pine and eucalyptus. Afterwards, lavender oil was massaged onto the skin. Its anti-bacterial properties were remarked upon, along with its power to repel ants and other insects. These properties extend to the garden, where it is unaffected by the pests and diseases that can afflict our herbaceous perennials. No rabbit or deer will eat them, and they are reputed to deter whitefly and greenfly in the vicinity.
The Tudors used lavender as a strewing herb to mask household and street smells. They noticed how lavender improved symptoms of rheumatism and stiff joints, and relieved tiredness. It has since proven to be effective against such modern ills as the streptococcus and pneumococcus bacteria, not to mention burns and stings.
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Pruning Lavender In Spring
Spring is the time for pruning your lavender harder to minimize the development of woody stems and encourage fresh new growth. You should do this early in the season, to give the plant plenty of time to reestablish itself.
- Take a stem and examine it youll notice it has a woody base set below the leafy section. How much wood there is depends on the plants age, and how well it has been pruned.
- Using a clean, sharp pair of secateurs, cut the stem around 2-3 inches above the woody base, into the leafy section of the stem. Do not cut into wood below.
- You can do handfuls of stems at a time, and for hedges you might find it easier to use shears.
- Try to create a nice rounded shape to your lavender plant by pruning the outer stems a little shorter than the inner stems.
- Where there are dead, frost-damaged or diseased branches, these should be completely removed.
Drying And Using Lavender
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