Mediterranean Diet 101

Growing Lavender in Pots

Lavender can be easily grown in flower pots and containers, if certain rules are followed. This enables us to grow lavender on balconies and terraces and makes possible to reposition blooming lavender plants as desired.

growing lavender in pots 1

Things to consider when growing lavender in flower pots are mainly size of pot or container, position of pot and adequate light, water drainage, watering, pruning, feeding, repotting etc.

Choosing Proper Pot or Container for Lavender

Lavender roots don't mind to grow in tight places - lavender is Mediterranean plant and growing among rocks and stones often leaves little room for roots. Size of pot also depends on plant size - if you have little room to spare, go for dwarf varieties that grow up to 50cm (20 inches) in height. Such relatively small plants require pots up to 40cm (16 inches) in diameter. If the plants are larger, go for larger pots. If you are not sure about size of your lavender, plant it in 40cm pot and if it grows too large for that pot, repot it next season in larger pot.

If you are using rectangular pots (photo above), feel free to plant two or more lavender plants in the same pot.

Note: Lavender don't like soggy soils, so be sure to choose a pot or a container with enough drainage holes (or make them using drill or sharp knife or any suitable tool - remember, safety first!).

Before filling the pot with a suitable potting mix, be sure to put a thin (2-3cm, 1 inch) layer of gravel and rocks - this layer will help in keeping soil moist and not filled with water. Also, choose soil that is neutral or slightly alkaline. If you are unable to find such soil, buy ordinary flower soil mix, check pH and if required add a tablespoon of lime and mix everything thoroughly.

Lavender like sunny positions, so be sure to place the pots on such location - lavender require at least 8 hours of direct sunlight to grow properly. They will grow even in shade, but ...

Carrying for Lavender Plants

Lavenders are tolerant to droughts, but when they grow in pots, volume of roots and soil is rather limited and during summer heat, moisture is lost quickly.

Water lavender with stale water, regularly, just limit the amount according to local conditions and size of the plants and pots - if it is really hot, for example above 40°C (above 104° Fahrenheit), you should water your lavender plants in smaller pots on a daily basis.

Lavender pruning - as required - prune everything that is dead, sick, yellow and similar. Lavender can be pruned when it is dormant, but it also tolerates pruning of branches during vegetation period.

Harvest - lavender stems should be cut early in the morning, when fragrance is the strongest. Stems are cut when the lowest blossoms open, just above the first set of leaves. Cutting stems promote new growth and strong lavenders can bloom for longer period of time during summer.

During winter, if you have enough room, place pots in unheated area, protected from direct cold winds and winter frost. Wild lavender and some varieties can survive under snow, but direct cold, freezing wind can kill them easily.

If you don't have suitable area during winter, lavender and other plants can be protected by covering them with thin layer (or layers) of nylon - take white and/or transparent bag of suitable size and put it/them over plants that need to be protected. Edges of the bags cover with some soil and rocks so that wind doesn't blow them away. Also, make 2-3 small, but really small holes in bags for air circulation. This way, plants are protected from direct wind. In the spring, start lifting bags gradually off the plants - for example, only few hours during the sunny days in late winter, whole day long in early spring and then when there is no more danger of spring frosts, remove bags entirely.

Repotting of Lavender Plants

Some home gardeners repot lavender every year, late in the winter or early in spring. Old mulch is removed first and then entire plant with root ball is removed from the pot. Old roots with some soil are removed from root ball, new soil is added (often to the same pot) and plant is potted adding more soil (with added fertilizers, lime, compost etc - check pH from time to time). Be sure that new soil stays firmly in contact with roots. After repotting, plant should be watered, to help soil settle down. If you notice after few days that soil level is low, feel free to add more soil. After settling down, add a layer of mulch.

Such repotted lavender plant will grow vigorously with plenty of blooming blossoms and strong fragrance - just don't leave the soil totally dried out or soggy during summer.

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