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How To Grow and Use Lavender

Updated on September 2, 2012

Lavender is a fairly easy plant to grow. It's many uses make it one of the most popular herbs to grow in backyard gardens, and containers.

Lavender is the little herb that could. It can do anything. Lavender has anti bacterial properties, so it's great for healing. The scent is known for its relaxation properties. It's also great in a cut flower arrangement, a dried flower arrangement, potpourris, and it turns out great as a pressed flower.

Growing Lavender

Lavender loves sunny locations with dry rocky soil. Many varieties will thrive if you plant them in full sun, with well drained soil.

Lavender will tolerate drought more than it will tolerate flooding. Lavender plants hate to have wet, or damp roots for long periods of time.

If you're in USDA zone 5 or colder you should shield your lavender plants from the cold winds of winter. Plant your lavender in a sheltered location, or in containers you can move when the weather turns frigid.

Lavender Fields

Lavender Fields
Lavender Fields

Growing Lavender From Seed

Most varieties of Lavender can be grown from seed, but some varieties do not produce seed, and have to be grown from cuttings.

Lavender can be challenging to grow from seeds, most varieties have a low germination rate. Germination is also slow, it can take two weeks or more for most lavender seeds to germinate.

Plant your seeds in a soil less mixture, and keep the soil moist, but not wet. If the soil is too wet the seeds will not grow, and you will be more likely to have problems with fungus.

The seeds need light to germinate, so only cover them very lightly with soil. Place them in a warm sunny location.

Lavender grows very slowly from seed, so it may take several months to get a plant large enough to plant in the garden.

When you're ready to re-pot, or plant your lavender gradually acclimate it to it's new home before you make it a permanent resident.

Lavender Seed Collection

Park's Lavender Seed Collection

Contains Lavender English, Lavender French Long, Lavender Hidcote Blue, and Lavender Munstead. If you're like me, there is never enough Lavender growing in the garden, even at the height of its season!

Lavender: Growing & Using Lavender for Fragrance, Mood & Body Care
Lavender: Growing & Using Lavender for Fragrance, Mood & Body Care

All of lavender's luscious qualities come together in this comprehensive volume that covers how to grow it and use its flowers and oils for a variety of healing, cooking, and beauty purposes. Drying lavender for making sachets, wands, and wreaths is covered, as well as extracting its essential oils to make body oil, body powder, and lip balm. A culinary section features recipes for making staples such as lavender pepper, salt, honey, sugar, and vinegar, as well as full meals that feature herbed chevre with crostini, lavender pistachio lamb chops, and lavender ice cream. Lavender's healing properties include alleviating motion sickness, reducing nightmares, and acting as a decongestant

 

How To Start Lavender From Cuttings

Most lavender varieties are best started from a cutting taken from an existing plant. This is the best method to use if you're trying to get the exact same plant.

Take a cutting of the lavender you'd like to grow. Make the cutting no longer than 3." Put the cutting into a soilless mixture, in a sterile container. With the cut side down in the soil.

Make sure no leaves are touching the soil mixture, this may cause the plant to rot.

Plant several cuttings at the same time, not all of them will grow.

Keep your potting medium moist but not soggy. To keep the plants humid you may want to place the pot in a plastic bag, especially for the first few days. Open the bag for a while each day so the plant doesn't gather too much moisture.

After a couple weeks gradually acclimate the plant to it's permanent environment. Once the plant has developed a good root system, you can carefully transplant it into a regular pot, with potting soil.

The Lavender Garden: Beautiful Varieties to Grow and Gather
The Lavender Garden: Beautiful Varieties to Grow and Gather

If you consider yourself a lavender lover--that is to say, if you are mesmerized by the plant's delicious aroma, enchanted by its long, rich history, and passionate about its medicinal uses, The Lavender Garden is for you.

This lovely book offers instructions on growing, maintaining, harvesting, and drying the plant. Author Robert Kourik includes a comprehensive profile of each variety including history, cultivation, bloom period, flower and foliage shapes, and landscape and culinary use--information that's most useful in determining which of the 16 varieties are right for one's garden. Each entry also contains suggestions on companion plantings that achieve the most aesthetic effect.

 

How To Dry Lavender

The best method for drying lavender is to hang it upside down in small bunches held together by rubber bands.

Hang the lavender in a warm dry place.

Herbal Lavender Oatmeal Bath

Ingredients:

2 cups old fashioned oatmeal

1 cup cornmeal

1 cup fresh rosemary (1/2 cup dried)

1 cup fresh lavender flowers

½ cup baking soda

How To Make It:

Place oatmeal in a food processor, and process until it has a powder consistency. Add cornmeal and continue processing. Add rosemary, lavender, and baking soda and process for 5 minutes. Fill small muslin bags with the mixture, and store in a closed glass container.

To use: Place a bag in the bathtub with the water running. You can also use the bag as a scrub. The oatmeal softens your skin. The rosemary's great for your complexion, and the lavender gives it all a wonderful scent.

Lavender Bath Bags

Ingredients:

1 cup oatmeal

1/2 cup dried lavender

6 muslin bags

twine or ribbon

How To Make It

Mix the oatmeal and lavender in a bowl. Pour the mixture into the bags and tie with twine, making a bow or loop. After you have filled the tub, swish the sachet through the hot water a few times. Hang the sachet on the tap to dry, it can be used several times. This recipe makes 6 small bath bags.

Are You A Lavender Fan?

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    • LauraHofman profile image

      Laura Hofman 4 years ago from Naperville, IL

      Yes I love lavender! A beautiful plant that I enjoy pairing with pink and pale yellow flowers. Beautiful photos!

    • flicker lm profile image

      flicker lm 5 years ago

      Thanks for the useful info. I have a lavender plant that's not doing as well as I expected. I'll try some of your tips.

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 6 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      Lavender is one of my favourite plants. I love the look of it in the garden and I adore the perfume of the flowers. I'm going to to try your lavender bath bags. Blessed.

    • profile image

      happynutritionist 6 years ago

      I love lavender, brings back memories of my grandmother's garden that had so much of it, I didn't do as well trying to grow it this year, in searching for information came upon this page...blessed and added to http://www.squidoo.com/nutrition-angel

    • elizajane202 lm profile image

      elizajane202 lm 7 years ago

      I wasn't really but when I moved into this house I noticed it was overgrown with that, weeds and everything else. I plan on tilling up everything but since you mention how to grow them from cuttings I will do that and then replant them where it'll look much nicer. Thanks. :)

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 7 years ago from Templeton, CA

      I love lavender more every day. I hope to grow a few more varieties and I plan to propagate more from cuttings. I hope to lensroll this to my lens on the Paso Robles Lavender Festival as soon as that lens rolls up on the lensroll list. It should be showing, but its not.

    • Grasmere Sue profile image

      Sue Dixon 7 years ago from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK

      I love lavender so much I've written a lens about it too- and feauted your lovely lens, thank you!

    • Grasmere Sue profile image

      Sue Dixon 7 years ago from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK

      I love lavender so much I've written a lens about it too- and feauted your lovely lens, thank you!

    • WhiteOak50 profile image

      WhiteOak50 7 years ago

      Lavender is such a fantastic herb. I heard on the Doctor Oz show that lavender is great for earaches also. You listed some good recipes. I made lavender cookies once and used way too much lavender-they were terrible, so I made them again cut down on the lavender and added a little rose petals and yummy! "Blessed by a SquidAngel"

    • greenspirit profile image

      poppy mercer 7 years ago from London

      love your lavender lens, and lens rolling to mine. My favourite variety is Imperial Gem...saw it growing in the national collection at Norfolk Lavender. It has a deep colour and a wonderful perfume.

    • Hairdresser007 profile image

      James Jordan 7 years ago from Burbank, CA

      one of my best memories of visiting Hawaii was going to this amazing lavendar farm in Maui. The smells and they had this great lavendar salt that we used for marinating steaks that is sooooo good.

    • JenOfChicago LM profile image

      JenOfChicago LM 8 years ago

      I'm going to try and use your tips for container growing this summer!

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 8 years ago from Vermont

      I adore lavender. I make "lavender bottles" from the dried flower heads.

    • monarch13 profile image

      monarch13 8 years ago

      I love lavender! Congrats on your purple (lavender) star!

    • Kiwisoutback profile image

      Kiwisoutback 8 years ago from Massachusetts

      I see them selling lavender in stores dried for a lot of money. Looks like they'd be much better off growing their own. Great work and congratulations on your purple star!

    • PromptWriter profile image

      Moe Wood 8 years ago from Eastern Ontario

      I absolutely love lavender. I have been growing it for years but last summer the weather conditions really seemed to be bang on and the plants burst to three times their usual size. It was fabulous. Even the local lavender farm had a hayday. Congratulations on the purple star which is especially fitting for this lens. :)

    • Franksterk profile image

      Frankie Kangas 8 years ago from California

      Congrats on the purple star. Well deserved. I love lavender and grow it. I make little bags of the flowers and give to friends and use in drawers and my car for the beautiful smell. Bear hugs, Frankie

    • chefkeem profile image

      Achim Thiemermann 8 years ago from Austin, Texas

      Beautiful purple star lens! I added my SquidAngel support plus lensrolled to my lavender recipes lens. :-)

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 8 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I have a spot that needs a plant and I’ve been trying to decide what to put there. Now I know! Thank you for the beautiful lens, and congratulations on the very fitting purple star!

    • tandemonimom lm profile image

      tandemonimom lm 8 years ago

      Beautiful lens - I feel all relaxed just seeing all that beautiful lavender! Thanks for the lens & 5*****

    • PromptWriter profile image

      Moe Wood 8 years ago from Eastern Ontario

      I've featured your informative lens on my Lavender Shortbread lens. Best wishes,

    • profile image

      windowbox 8 years ago

      Great tips abt gardening but i do not have good space for the gardening that s whay i use container for the gardening and let me tell you that its really good looking and not demanding more space and using various forms like Flower Box , Flower Window Box, we can bring enormous beauty for the house..

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 9 years ago

      Lavender is one of my favorite aromatic fragrances -- love it as a foot scrub. Awesome lens. Very artistic.

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 9 years ago

      I do love lavender! We have several big growers in the area and I have a lavender filled bookmark that smells so good! Beautiful photo of the lavender fields.

    • profile image

      Joan4 9 years ago

      I love lavender! Have never succeeded in growing it though! Great gift ideas here - I love to make my own gifts! Thank you! I will get some lavender seeds and return for further instruction!

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 9 years ago from USA

      What a great lens! I love the smell of lavender. I plan to add some to my garden next year.

    • steveffeo lm profile image

      steveffeo lm 9 years ago

      very good work, I love to grow Lavender and it is so relaxing.