One of the best plants to grow in your garden is lavender! The scent is heavenly, the flower spikes are gorgeous, and the plant itself is excellent for practical use. Best of all, it’s very adaptable – so you can grow lavender from seeds, cuttings, or plants.
Even just one lavender plant can make a difference in your home. And it’s easy to grow lavender successfully! The plants prefer warm, temperate climates, full sun, and well-drained soil. Prune them regularly to encourage new growth. And don’t worry if you forget to water them – they’re very drought-tolerant once matured.
Lavender is excellent for a garden, and not just for its medicinal properties. Brighten up your yard – and even encourage butterflies! – by growing lavender plants.
About The Lavender Plant
Lavandula spp. is a hardy, perennial semi-shrub. It thrives in warm climates, since it is believed that it originated from the Mediterranean and the Middle East. A part of the mint family, this flowering plant has a reputation for its gorgeous scent, grey-green foliage, and lilac flower buds.
Lavender has several uses, including:
- Floral arrangements
- Companion plants
- Herb garden
- DIY personal care (essential oil, salt scrub, etc.)
- Accents for food
The plant usually blooms in early summer, although some varieties can flower in late spring or late summer.
Types of Lavender To Grow In Australia
There are several varieties of lavender, with different levels of hardiness and colour. Some can tolerate cold areas better than others. Each variety blooms at a different time, so keep that in mind before planting!
This is the most versatile and long-lived lavender species. With good care, it can keep up to 25 years! Also known as ‘true lavender’, the compact lilac flowers of English lavender appear in late spring and can bloom more than once.
Lavandin x intermedia
The hybrid has longer and more slender flowers, with upright flower spikes that branch out from the centre. It is a late bloomer, emerging from mid to late summer, and has paler colours than ‘true lavender’ plants.
This kind of plant is more short-lived than other varieties. It has a lifespan of only 3–5 years, and is much more delicate. The small flowers emerge in early spring, but they regrow fast after trimming.
This is a popular culinary herb that also works when making dried flowers. It’s very fragrant and showy, and can grow even in coastal areas. You can propagate Portuguese lavender from softwood cuttings. It blooms from late spring to early summer.
Fringed lavender (or French lavender)
You’ll know fringed lavender by its textured foliage, which bursts into bloom during late spring into summer. It’s winter-hardy, able to tolerate up to -7ºC, but can also endure heat and drought. French lavender is particularly popular for potpourri and cut flowers.
Growing Lavender Plants
Keep these growing conditions in mind regarding where to plant and what kind of soil to use. Assess your garden to ensure you plant lavender somewhere it will thrive!
Climate for lavender
The plant thrives in warm climates – so hot, dry summers and cool winters. English lavender doesn’t tolerate humidity, while Spanish, hybrid, and Italian lavender can grow in mild humid climates.
Where to position lavender
Grow lavender somewhere with full sun – at least six hours a day, preferably afternoon sun. It also tolerates partial shade, so it works as groundcover or accent plants.
Wherever you plant it, ensure there is good air circulation without strong winds.
Soil for lavender
Your lavender plants will grow best in well-draining soil. Avoid clay soils since these retain too much moisture, which could cause root rot. For soil pH, go for slightly alkaline – lavender doesn’t do well in ground that’s too acidic.
If your garden soil has poor drainage, consider raised beds or potted plants! Choose a high-quality potting mix and keep plants in a sunny location. Ensure the pot has enough drainage holes so the soil doesn’t get waterlogged.
How To Plant Lavender In Australia
You can grow lavender in three ways:
- From seed
- Established plants
Any of these methods are simple enough, so choose which works best for you and go grow!
1. How to grow lavender from seeds
To plant lavender from seed, you’ll need:
- A seed tray or pot
- Potting mix
- Lavender seeds
Start by filling the trays or pots with your potting soil. Sprinkle the seeds onto the mix. Cover with soil and firm it down (carefully!).
Water the soil to keep it moist, so the seeds don’t dry out.
Leave the tray somewhere it gets full sun while the seeds germinate. Once they emerge, let them grow until they reach 7.0cm. Once they reach this height, they’re ready for transplanting.
Plant the seedlings 30–40cm apart so there’s enough space between shrubs. Mulch with organic matter to help it retain moisture.
Water once or twice a week until plants are mature.
2. How to propagate lavender
When propagating lavender, cut stems from your lavender plants after flowering (mid- to late summer). These are called hardwood cuttings, and have a better chance of surviving propagation.
After you prune lightly, take a stem or two – healthy, straight ones with good colour and no buds. Choose stems with soft growth at the tip and several leaf nodes.
Cut from the base, with a stem that’s at least 10cm long. You can dip the end in rooting hormone before planting.
3. How to grow lavender from a young plant
You can also grow lavender from established plants. Start by digging a planting hole about twice as wide and just as deep as the root ball. Carefully lift the plant out of its container and untangle any roots that have curled or twisted.
Place the plant in the hole and backfill, firming the soil down in a raised ring. This helps direct water to where it’s needed.
Water once or twice a week to keep soil moist, and mulch away from the trunk.
Lavender Plant Care
Need some growing tips for your plants? Here’s a rundown on caring for lavender.
Lavender is extremely drought tolerant once it’s mature, and can subsist on rain if grown outside. However, during hotter months, give it a good soak — but not too much, or you’ll get root rot!
- How often to water lavender: While the plant is establishing itself, water when soil is starting to dry. Once your lavender has matured, though, you can get away with watering every two weeks (or just letting the rain take care of it). During summer and winter, you can water once a week.
- How often to water lavender seeds: Once or twice a week until established.
- How often to water lavender in pots or indoors: Once or twice every two weeks. Ensure the soil is moist all throughout but not waterlogged.
If you’re following these watering tips but your lavender is still drooping, read our post about other potential causes and solutions.
Pruning lavender is essential to maintain its health and appearance, and help it withstand the elements and external stressors. It also encourages flowering and new branches, while preventing your plant from developing scraggly or woody growth.
It’s important not to go overboard pruning lavender, so you can keep your plants in the best condition. The general rule is to trim back the woody stems by one-third of their length after flowering.
You can also “deadhead” (aka clip faded blooms), which will encourage more flowers.
If you’re uncertain about trimming your plants, leave them in the hands of expert hedge trimmers! They’ll ensure your lavender will thrive – and the rest of your garden, too!
Mulching and fertiliser
Use organic matter to mulch the soil around your plants. This helps retain moisture, which means you won’t need to water as often.
Lavender doesn’t need fertilising, but you can boost its flowering with plant food during spring.