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Lavender – Questions & Answers

When you are a lavender lover and have a memorable experience strolling in a lavender field, you want to recreate that beauty and magic at home. Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions about growing your own lavender.

CAN I BUY LAVENDER PLANTS FROM BLEU LAVANDE?

This summer, we will be selling lavender plants in Magog and you’ll also learn how to care for these fragrant blooms with their many beneficial uses!

IN WHAT CLIMATE SHOULD LAVENDER BE PLANTED?

True Lavender (Angustifolia) can adapt almost anywhere, but you will need a variety that is right for your region. Bleu Lavande, for instance, is located in Zones 4 and 5.

SHOULD I PROTECT MY LAVENDER DURING THE WINTER MONTHS?

If you live in an area which gets lots of snow, that should suffice, because snow is an excellent insulator. To be on the safe side however, and given that our winter weather is becoming less predictable, you might want to cover your lavender plants with fir and/or pine branches or better still, a protective canvas tarpaulin (or something similar). 

Make sure the plants are fully covered so they will survive throughout the coldest time of the year. Do not use styrofoam boxes, dead leaves or straw, because they will rot the plants when they are uncovered in the spring.

WHAT VARIETY IS BEST?

The best variety is the one you like the most! Everything depends on your personal taste, as there are lots of factors to consider when choosing lavender: smell, flowering, shape, size, leaves, adaptation to the earth, etc. In our experience, we find the following varieties are best suited for the Canadian climate: Munstead, TrueEnglish, Hidcote, Twickle Purple, Rosea, Provence and Grosso.

WHAT IS THE BEST TYPE OF SOIL?

Almost any kind of soil is suitable for growing lavender but be sure to plant it in mounds. They provide better drainage than level ground. Lavender does not do well if the roots are submerged in too much water.

HOW OFTEN DO YOU NEED TO WATER LAVENDER?

Young lavender plants should be watered fairly frequently for the first two or three weeks, in order to let them develop strong roots, but let the soil dry out between waterings. Thereafter, Mother Nature will take care of the plants. That said, if there is a long, dry spell of weather, it’s a good idea to give the plants a good watering around their base, to nourish the roots.

CAN LAVENDER BE PLANTED ALONGSIDE OTHER FLOWERS?

We recommend leaving a radius of at least 60 centimetres (24 inches) of space around a lavender plant. It needs plenty of room to grow and to bloom. Avoid annuals and perennials that spread and grow tall, as they can choke the lavender.

DOES LAVENDER FLOWER ALL SUMMER?

Lavender flowers for six to eight weeks, depending on the type. Munstead and Hidcote flower early in July and stop at the beginning of August, while English, Grosso and Provence varieties flower most often in the third week of July and continue to the end of August or beginning of September.

SHOULD LAVENDER BE PRUNED?

Once the flowering season is over and the plant has dried out, you should prune it with scissors by cutting the stems and shaping the lavender into a ‘ball’. (The scissors should be disinfected first, to prevent the spread of disease.) You can cut away approximately one third of the plant and pruning should be done in mid-September, to allow the lavender to recover before the winter.

SOWING LAVENDER

Lavender seeds germinate slowly. They usually take between 2 and 4 weeks to germinate, although the latecomers can wait until 2 or 3 months before germinating. The number of seeds which germinate can vary. Several factors influence the time and the rate of germination, of which the culture conditions. The seeds of lavender need a damp and warm environment to germinate but also special care, love and patience.

SOAKING SEEDS & PREPARATION

Soaking the seeds during 24 hours into a small bowl of warm water can accelerate their germination.

Use a 10 cm pot (4 inches). Your pot must be new or disinfected and provided with several drainage holes. Fill the pot with the growing media or sowing compost of your choice. Put aside 15 ml (1 tablespoon) of growing media or dry compost. Dip the pot or planter into warm water, until its content is wet.

SOWING

Place the seeds in the palm of your hand. Take a few seeds at the time with a small spatula or your fingers and scatter them on your growing media’s surface. Cover the seeds with 15 ml of the growing media that you put aside. Tap the surface with your fingertips to make sure that seeds are mixed with the compost or growing media. Write down the sowing date on a stick or on your pot. Cover with a wet newspaper or a dark plastic bag.

CARE

Install your pot or planter in a warm place 20 °C day and night. You can also place it directly on a source of heat which will warm it from under. Uncover the pot every morning and every evening to aerate and verify the evolution of the seeds. If the compost is dry, spray warm water on it. As soon as the first plants appear, remove the newspaper or bag permanently and place it in light position – 12 hours a day.

TRANSPLANTATION

When the first two real leaves appear – over the cotyledons which grew first – transplant carefully in individual pots. Wait in June to transplant outside your 12 to 16 weeks old plantation.