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5 Tips for "Sensational" Lavender Growth


Tips useful for beginners to dedicated lavender enthusiasts.


 

Ashley harvesting a portion of our 2022 crop

 

Here at the Lavender Fields at Pumpkin Blossom Farm, we have been growing lavender since 2019 -starting from a modest 2,000 plants to a current (and growing!) family of over 6,500. There has been plenty of trial and error in our endeavors that has brought us to where we are now, and we'd love to share the highs and lows of our experience with you. In this article we will be covering the Lavender Sensational cultivar specifically, a team favorite due to the incredible size of stems, high essential oil content, and large whorls overflowing with buds. This is a lavandula intermedia, otherwise known as hybrid lavender, specifically tailored by our friends at Peace Tree Farm to handle the east coast elements, no problem.


Whether you're a seasoned lavender grower or just starting out, these simple yet effective tips can help you get the most out of your Sensational plants!


 

Tip #1 - Sunshine and Lavender - a Match in Aromatic Heaven

There is no such thing as too much sun! Before putting your lavender in the ground, take a look around your property and be sure to identify areas that have the most full, direct sunlight throughout the day. Lavender thrives on at least 8 hours of sun, as the UV rays in sunlight can stimulate the production of essential oils in your plant, which increases the fragrance and strength of the lavender.


 

Tip #2 - Want your Lavender to Thrive? Keep its feet dry and its head in the sky.

Lavender plants prefer to keep their root systems dry with well draining soil and minimal watering. A general rule is to water weekly, but be sure to keep up with weather conditions and check up on the visible health of your plant in case adjustments are needed. You can identify an unhealthy plant by any changes to its silvery green foliage.


Overwatering:

  • Yellowing leaves - your lavender is sitting in waterlogged soil

  • Wilting - roots are waterlogged and cannot absorb oxygen properly

  • Scent - if you lavender develops an off-putting scent, it likely developed root rot - a common problem for lavender.

Under-watering:

  • Drooping, brown or brittle leaves - there is not enough water to support the foliage of the plant

  • Slow or stunted growth


 

Plants with strong, healthy foliage preparing to bloom

 

Tip #3 - From Rags to Riches

When it comes to soil content, lavender is not too concerned with a buffet of vitamins and minerals, as soil that is otherwise barren and unusable is prime real estate for it to thrive. When looking for a place to plant your lavender, looks for sandy, sandy loam, or gravel like soil. It will do best with a low nitro, low fertility soil with a Ph between 6.5 and 7.5 - testing your soil is a good idea, but definitely not required for successful growth.

 

Tip #4 - To Weed or Not To Weed

The number one challenge in growing lavender is sharing your real estate with unwanted pests. Weeding consistently should be your main priority if you're looking for strong, healthy plants. Not only does weeding significantly improve the aesthetics of your lavender, but it cuts out competition for sunlight and nutrients, and helps to keep pests and diseases at bay. If you plan on growing more than just a few plants, investing in a synthetic weed barrier or covering your beds in pea gravel makes for a more organized landscape, hours of time saved keeping weeds away, and a more comfortable place to harvest.


 

Weed barrier keeps space between rows tidy and easy to navigate.

 

"Weed Control is probably the biggest production issue [in lavender growth]. Critical for good yield and high quality." - University of Massachusetts Amherst

 


Tip #5 - Spring Cleaning

When spring comes around after a long winter, you may notice your plants are looking a little out of shape from the season before. Whether that be from adolescent growth, vigorous harvesting, or winter dieback, anything that is not up to shape should be cut away to allow for spring growth.


Pruning Dos and Don'ts


Do:

  • Cut away any dead plant matter

  • Gently shape your plant into a dome shape

  • Prune in the spring time

  • Leave some foliage to protect the plant from the elements

  • Cut stems just above leaves when harvesting

Don't

  • Damage the healthy woody undergrowth of your plant

  • Prune in the fall - new growth will be susceptible to frost

  • Prune wet plants - this may lead to fungal diseases

  • Over-prune - this may damage the plant and reduce flower production


 

Remember...


Caring for lavender is a labor of love, and it likes to take its time. Be patient, and within a couple of years your lavender will reach its full potential and reward you with bundles of fragrant sprigs! If you come to realize that lavender is your passion and would like to know more, please don't hesitate to reach out to us!





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