Saturday, 25 May 2013

HOW TO GROW LAVENDER




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Lavender is one of my favourite plants.  I love the intensity of the colour purple, the way it attracts the bees and also the wonderful scent.  It is an essential garden shrub, culinary herb and all round fantastic plant.

You can increase the number of lavender plants in your garden by cutting cuttings.  Taking cuttings from a healthy plant will not harm it.  It is also a good idea to replace your lavender plants every 4-5 years as they will become woody and unsightly.  By taking cuttings from the parent plant you will ensure that the new cuttings will be genetically identical to the original plant.
It is very easy to take cuttings from lavender as long as you take them at the right time of year. 

You can take lavender cuttings either in the spring just before the plant comes into flower, or in the autumn around August time. Fill 9cm pots with a good quality compost such as John Innes 'Seed  and Cutting. Dampen the mixture and then poke a hole in the soil in the side of the pot with a dibber 3cm deep in which you will plant your cuttings.  You can plant 3-5 cuttings per pot.


Select a branch that is soft and not woody on the lower half of the plant. Use a sharp, sterilised knife or secateurs to cut a small branch about 10-15 cm long. Strip the bottom half of the cutting of leaves and  place the cutting  in the hole and firm the soil around it. Water the new plant thoroughly after planting. Keep the soil damp for a few weeks, but then water less frequently only the soil begins to get dry. Over watering will kill your new lavender plant. 

You can re-pot your lavender after 6 weeks into a larger pot or into the ground.  Lavender likes a free draining soil so mix in sand, peat or compost into your soil.  Add bone meal of another slow release fertiliser into the hole at time of planting.  

Cut back your lavender regularly to promote vigorous, soft and healthy growth.  Carry this out during August when the plant is naturally dormant.

English lavender Lavandula angustifolia can be cut back by two thirds of its overall height or even to the bare wood if needed. New shoots will quickly appear at the base of the bush and these will have enough time to grow and harden up before winter comes. This pruning regime will keep an English lavender plant compact for many years and a well-pruned plant can last for twenty years or more without becoming woody. You can give English lavender another tidy in April to delay flowering time.


With less hardy lavender varieties you never cut back hard into the bare wood. Shape them with shears in late August, aiming for a rounded mound of foliage. 

Lavender stoechas varieties have a flag-like petals at the top of each thick flower spike and they are often labelled Spanish or French lavenders. They flower in much earlier, often in May, but are much less hardy than most garden lavenders. Give them a very gentle trim after the first flush of flowers has faded, often in late June, but never cut them back hard as this can kill them off.



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Photos care of http://www.jenniferschulman.com/, http://gardenhow.blogspot.co.uk/, http://www.lovelygreens.com/, http://www.imagejuicy.com/

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