Lavender (Lavandula) varieties grow as fragrant bushes and plants. They're often dried to form satchels, potpourris, as additives to perfumes and cleaning products, and for dried flower arrangements. Commonly grown in the garden as an ornamental or in containers, the plants require very little care once established. The plants flourish in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 10. A few varieties offer hardiness to Zone 3. Relatively long-lived, the lavender plant averages a 10-year lifespan.
Lavender requires a sunny location. Plant in an area that receives at least eight hours of sunlight per day. Lavender enjoys dry soil conditions, so make sure there is no standing water accumulation in the planting location in the spring or during other parts of the season. The plants enjoy rocky, sandy or even loamy--rather than chalky--soil conditions to flourish. An area that offers adequate wind protection is ideal, because the flower stalks often break when faced with high winds.
Soil that offers abundant organic matter will often limit the flower production of the lavender plant. The added nutrients aid the plant in producing foliage growth instead of flowers. This can limit the plant's oil production, which makes it less fragrant and less useful when dried. Soil that is too acidic will require the addition of lime prior to planting lavender. Lavender plants enjoy being grown in a soil pH of 6.4 to 8.3.
Lavender is exceptionally drought tolerant. It does not enjoy wet roots. Water lavender only when the plant completely dries out. Spacing plants to provide adequate air circulation is important because overcrowding allows the plants to stay damp with dew, humidity or rain, which can cause fungal diseases to infect that lavender. Space lavender plants at least 9 inches apart. Larger clumping varieties will require greater planting distances.
Potted Lavender Care
Lavender grown in containers will require transplanting yearly because the plant quickly depletes the soil conditions in the pot, according to Colorado State University. Prune container-grown lavender each spring to give the plant a bushy appearance and help prevent legginess. Garden-grown lavender also benefits from a light springtime pruning.
Mulch lavender using either sand or pebbles. Avoid leaf debris, bark chips or peat moss, which keeps the soil moist, and can easily cause the lavender to suffer rot or fungal problems.