Host: Gary Bachman, Ornamental Horticulture Specialist
Lavender is relaxing and also a great landscape ornamental plant today on Southern Gardening.
There are 4 species of lavender commonly grown in the garden, but in Mississippi for the best success grow Spanish lavender. Spanish lavender grows 2 feet tall and wide and has fat, purple flower buds with spiral petals. The other lavenders, lavandin, English and French, do not like high humidity. Lavender grows great in hot and dry conditions, so in Mississippi gardeners have a challenge. Modification of the soil environment is required and good soil drainage is a must. This is where using raised beds are a good choice. Amend the soil with grit, pea gravel, or oyster shells to make the soil gravelly. Oyster shells will help to keep the soil alkaline and help your lavender thrive. Containers also work well. Use a good draining potting media amended with plenty of vermiculite, perlite, and pea gravel. Apply a good 3 to 4 month slow release fertilizer a couple of times during the year. After the lavender blooms prune back the stems to shape the plant and prevent the center from opening up.
Harvest fresh cut flowers just as buds start to open. For dried lavender, cut just before the first flowers open and bundle, 20 stems per bundle. Hang upside out of the sun and with plenty of air circulation. They will soon be ready for potpourris and sachets.
So after a day of working in the garden sit back and enjoy the fresh, relaxing fragrance of freshly picked lavender. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.