Lavender is a flowering plant in the mint family that’s easily identified by its sweet floral scent. I have several lavender plants planted in my garden because I love the fragrance and using it in several dessert recipes! This beautiful herb can be found in many gardening shops for you to replant or start from scratch by planting the seeds! Below I have a few tips on how to plant, care, and harvest this special herb.
Tips for How to Plant and Care for Lavender
Lavender should be planted in the spring. You can wait until summer or fall, but the earlier the better to ensure the plants are strong enough to survive the upcoming winter. Ideally, you should allow about two to three feet between each plant, and don’t plant in areas that receive a lot of moisture. This is a low-maintenance plant, so you only need to water about once or twice a week as the plants start to grow, and then slowly cut, watering to every two to three weeks. In a formal garden, lavender may be clipped to form a low hedge or an aromatic border along a path. In a rock garden, a single plant or just a few plants may be used to great effect as an accent. Lavender also grows quite well in containers. In the Deep South, it actually does better in pots, as it benefits from improved drainage and air circulation. While the plants thrive in arid Western climates, they are usually considered annuals in the South. Remember that lavender needs good drainage and good air circulation. Do not over-water, and allow the soil to dry before watering again. When there is a lot of heat and humidity, fungus can attack the plants, turning the leaves brown. To minimize the chance of having such a problem, mulch with pebbles or sprinkle sand around the base of the plant. Bugs are a nuisance during the summer and warmer months. You might be happy to learn that lavender may act as a natural bug repellent, keeping away a variety of critters, like flies, mosquitoes, and moths.
Begin harvesting when about half of the buds open. Cut the stems long for easy bundling, and then place the lavender bundles in a cool, dark place to dry. However, avoid clipping more than every third stem to keep the plant looking full. Flowers will keep their perfume for months when you harvest just before they are entirely open. To dry flowers, gather a bunch of stems and hang them upside-down in a dark, well-ventilated place to preserve color and keep the stems from molding.
Fresh flowers may be used in sauces, marinades, and desserts. Handle fragile dried blossoms with care and use them in teas, salts, potpourri, sachets, and crafts. Also, you can place lavender in different areas around the house to help freshen the smell of a stale room. This can include the laundry room, the garage, and closets. Or dab a little bit of the essential oil on your finger and place some of the oil around your neck for a natural perfume.You’ll find that lavender is also an ingredient in some soap, lotions, and body washes. These products can leave your skin moisturized and promote calm, relaxing feeling after bathing.
You can find lavender seed packets available at Flymeawaycreations Etsy shop to help you start planting your flowering garden!