Lavender is a beloved plant in many UK gardens, valued for its vibrant purple flowers, fragrant aroma, and the calming quality it brings to any outdoor space. Not only is lavender beautiful, but it’s also a hardy plant that thrives in the UK’s climate. This article provides a detailed guide on when and how to plant lavender, along with helpful tips to ensure your lavender thrives.
Choosing Your Lavender
Before you start planting, it’s crucial to choose the right type of lavender. The most common varieties in the UK are English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), French lavender (Lavandula stoechas), and Lavandin (Lavandula x intermedia). English lavender is particularly well-suited to the UK’s climate and is renowned for its sweet, strong scent.
When to Plant Lavender in the UK
In the UK, the best time to plant lavender is in the spring – from late April to early June. The soil is warming up, and the risk of severe frosts is reducing, offering the lavender plant the best chance to establish its roots before winter.
However, lavender is a flexible plant, and planting can also be successful in early autumn (September to October), allowing the roots to develop before the cold winter months. Avoid planting in winter when the ground is more likely to be waterlogged.
How to Plant Lavender
- Choose the Right Spot: Lavender thrives in full sun and well-drained soil. An ideal location would receive at least six hours of sunlight a day.
- Prepare the Soil: Lavender prefers alkaline soil with a pH between 6.7 and 7.3. If your soil is too acidic, you can add lime to raise the pH. Drainage is key for lavender; consider adding horticultural grit or sand to improve it if needed.
- Planting: Dig a hole wide and deep enough to accommodate the root ball. Place the lavender plant in the hole, making sure the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Backfill the hole with soil, firming it gently around the base of the plant.
- Aftercare: Water the plant well after planting, but then be cautious with watering as lavender is drought-tolerant and too much water can lead to root rot. A layer of mulch can help retain moisture and suppress weeds.
Frequently Asked Questions
How far apart should I plant lavender plants?
Spacing depends on the variety of lavender, but as a general rule, plants should be spaced 90cm (3 feet) apart to allow for ample growth.
Should I prune my lavender after planting?
It’s best to give lavender a light trim after planting to encourage bushy growth. Prune again in late summer after flowering, but avoid cutting into old wood as this can cause damage.
Can lavender grow in pots?
Absolutely. Lavender grows well in pots, which can be beneficial for improving drainage and moving plants to sunnier spots if needed. Ensure you use a well-draining compost and pots with drainage holes.
How often should I water my lavender plants?
After the initial watering when planted, lavender typically only needs watering during prolonged periods of dry weather. Overwatering can lead to root rot.
Planting lavender in your garden will not only add a splash of colour and a delightful scent but also attract a variety of wildlife, including bees and butterflies. By following the advice in this guide, you can enjoy the calming presence of this beautiful plant in your own garden.