When I first started growing lavender, I had no idea of the surprising benefits that I would get from this beautiful purple flowered herb. I now look forward to every June and September in my herb garden to harvest these beautifully fragranced lavender blooms.
If I’m stressed out, by the time I have cut some blooms, my nervous system has automatically calmed down from just touching this medicinal, healing herb. By the time I start to dry some of the blooms or put bunches in jars to give to my neighbors, I am smiling and humming because I feel so relaxed. And by the end of the day, I’m relaxed and ready for a deep sleep.
Want to find out how you can experience this easy to grow herb too? Then check out this article on the surprising benefits of growing lavender indoors and knowing how to do it right.
Why Grow Lavender Plants
Did you know that there are different types of lavender for different purposes? When my family moved into our house 7 years ago, I noticed that we had lavender in the front yard. I was so excited with the beautiful purple flowers and the wispiness of this attractive bush.
I assumed that I could use that lavender to make teas or a lavender syrup for coffee, but the types of lavender in the front of my house would have been the wrong choice.
Later I learned that there is a lavender that I can use in the kitchen and for relaxation in teas and tinctures that I could also grow in my front yard.
If you’re a beginner gardener or an avid gardener, you will benefit from growing culinary and medicinal lavender. Lavender is a beautiful and fragrant plant that can add to the aesthetic appeal of your home or garden.
In addition, culinary lavender can be used to add flavor to a variety of dishes, such as baked goods, and teas.
Medicinal lavender has been shown to provide numerous health benefits, such as reducing anxiety, promoting relaxation, and aiding in sleep. You can use it for aromatherapy or make it into a tea for consumption.
Growing lavender can also be a fun and rewarding hobby for those who want to get started with gardening or enjoy it already. With its many uses and advantages, growing culinary and medicinal lavender can be a great addition to your life.
Easy to Grow
Lavender is considered to be an easy plant to grow for several reasons. It’s a hardy plant that can tolerate a range of soil types and growing conditions. As long as it has well-draining soil, plenty of sunlight, and consistent watering, it can thrive in many climates.
Additionally, lavender requires minimal maintenance and pruning, making it a great choice for those who don’t have a lot of time or gardening experience. In fact, too much care and watering can actually harm the plant, so it’s important not to overdo it.
Lastly, lavender is a perennial plant, which means that you only need to plant it once and it will come back year after year. Overall, with its hardiness, low-maintenance needs, and resilience in different environments, lavender is an ideal plant for home gardeners looking for an easy-to-grow addition to their outdoor space.
Where to Grow?
Planting lavender can be done in a variety of ways, depending on your specific needs and preferences.
In the ground: One of the most common ways to grow lavender is to plant it directly in the ground. This method requires well-draining soil and plenty of sunlight, and is best suited for larger gardens or outdoor spaces.
In raised beds: If you have poor soil or drainage in your yard, growing lavender in raised beds can be a great option. Raised beds provide a controlled environment and with well-drained soil, which can help prevent root rot and other issues. Make sure to prune each season or the plant will take over your raised beds.
In containers: As mentioned earlier, lavender grows successfully in containers. This method is ideal for those who don’t have a lot of garden space or who live in colder climates where the plant may need to be brought indoors during the winter months.
Indoors: Lavender can also be grown indoors in pots or containers, as long as enough sunlight or an artificial light is available. It’s important to choose a sunny location and to provide good drainage to prevent root rot.
Temperature & Location Matters
Planting lavender plants in Mediterranean climates is ideal, but always possible. Now that being said, you can still grow it even if you lived in areas of the world that are colder for longer periods of time. You will just need to get creative on how to grow by adding a plant cloth or growing it in a pot and pulling it closer to the house or inside with a light or facing a south facing window.
Lavender is a hardy plant that can grow in a wide range of climates, but it tends to do best in USDA Hardiness Zones 5-9. In these zones, the temperature and climate are generally favorable for growing lavender, as they provide the necessary conditions for the plant to thrive. Plant in late spring or early summer and follow this June plan.
Is Lavender a Perennial or Annual?
Lavender is a perennial plant, which means that it can live for multiple growing seasons. In the right growing conditions, lavender can thrive and continue to produce fragrant flowers year after year that also help your veggie garden to grow.
It’s important to note that some varieties of lavender may not survive extremely cold winters or excessively hot summers, so it’s important to choose a variety that’s well-suited to your climate if you want to grow lavender as a perennial. Additionally, proper care and maintenance, such as pruning and fertilizing, can also help to ensure that lavender plants remain healthy and productive for many years.
Stages of Lavender
Lavender plants go through several distinct stages of growth throughout their life cycle.
Germination: This is the beginning stage of a lavender plant’s life when the seed first sprouts and begins to grow roots.
Seedling: Once the plant has developed some roots, it enters the seedling stage. During this stage, the plant begins to produce leaves and grow larger.
Vegetative growth: As the lavender grows, it enters a period of vegetative growth. During this stage, the plant develops a strong root system and produces more leaves and stems.
Bud formation: In the next stage, the plant begins to form buds, which will eventually develop into the beautiful purple flowers that lavender is known for in late spring or early summer.
Flowering: This is when the plant reaches maturity and produces its characteristic fragrant flowers. This stage typically occurs in the mid-to-late summer months, depending on the climate and growing conditions.
Seed production: After the flowers have bloomed, they will eventually produce seeds, which can be used to grow new lavender plants in the future.
Dormancy: In colder climates, lavender plants may enter a period of dormancy during the winter months, where they stop growing and conserve energy until the warmer weather returns in the spring.
Types of Lavender
There are many different varieties of lavender, each with its own unique characteristics and uses. Here are three types of lavender that are particularly well-suited for culinary and medicinal purposes:
English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia): Also known as true lavender, this variety is perhaps the most popular type of lavender for culinary use. Its flowers have a sweet, floral flavor that is perfect for adding to baked goods, teas, and other dishes. It’s also a popular choice for medicinal use, as it has been shown to have calming and relaxing properties.
French Lavender (Lavandula dentata): This variety has a more robust flavor and aroma than English lavender, making it a great choice for cooking with meats and other savory dishes. It’s also commonly used in aromatherapy and can help to reduce stress and anxiety.
Spanish Lavender (Lavandula stoechas): This variety has a unique, pineapple-like scent and flavor that makes it a popular choice for culinary use. Its flowers are often used to make flavorful teas and other beverages. Spanish lavender is also known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties and can be used topically to treat minor wounds and skin irritations.
3 Ways to Get a Lavender Plant
From Seeds: Growing from seed is an easy and cost-effective way to enjoy this fragrant herb in your garden. Start the seeds indoors about 10-12 weeks before the last frost date, using a well-draining soil mix and plenty of light.
From Cuttings: Lavender can also be propagated from cuttings, which can be taken from an existing plant and rooted in soil or water. This method can be a cost-effective way to grow new plants and can be done at any time of year.
As a Seedling: Go to a local nursery to shop lavender plants to get a seedling that is ready to plant out in your garden. I buy seedlings when I don’t have the time or energy to grow from seed.
Make sure to harvest two times a season. Don’t leave the lavender blossoms or the plant will eventually get woody. Then you will need to pull the plant out and start again. It’s not worth fighting all the thick stems.
Prune lavender twice a year and keep your plant healthy.
Best Tools with Lavender
A handheld cutter, such as a pruning shears or scissors, can be a useful tool for harvesting lavender.
Precision cutting: Handheld cutters allow you to make precise cuts on the lavender stems, which is important for promoting healthy growth and preventing damage to the plant.
Easy access: Cutters are small and easy to maneuver, which makes it easy to reach deep into the lavender plant and cut the stems at the optimal length.
Quick and efficient: It allows you to harvest lavender quickly and efficiently, which is important for preserving the quality of the flowers and preventing wilting or damage.
Less damage to the plant: Using cutters is less likely to cause damage to the plant than other methods such as pulling or twisting the stems.
Using a dehydrator to dry harvested lavender can help to preserve its color, fragrance, and flavor. Here are some reasons why a dehydrator can be helpful after harvesting lavender:
Faster drying time: Lavender plants contain a lot of moisture, and air-drying the flowers can take a long time, leaving them vulnerable to mold or mildew. A dehydrator can speed up the drying process and help to prevent the growth of bacteria or other harmful microorganisms.
Consistent temperature: Dehydrators provide a consistent, low temperature that is ideal for drying lavender without damaging its delicate oils or flavor.
Improved color and fragrance: Drying lavender in a dehydrator can help to preserve the plant’s vibrant color and intense fragrance, which can be diminished by sun-drying or other methods.
Better flavor retention: When lavender is dried quickly and at low temperatures, it can help to preserve its unique flavor profile, making it perfect for use in culinary applications such as tea, baked goods, and other dishes.
What To Do with Lavender?
One of my favorite things to do with fresh lavender is to create a fresh or dried bouquets for the sweet aromas throughout my home. I also love to give these bouquets as gifts to neighbors, friends, and family. It always brings a smile to their faces.
Lavender has a wide range of uses in both culinary and medicinal settings. Let’s check out what you can do with lavender in the kitchen and for your health. Here is a mini-course on growing your own tea with lavender as one of the main plants.
Infuse lavender into honey, sugar, or vinegar to create sweet and flavorful condiments that can be used in a variety of dishes.
Add dried lavender flowers to baked goods such as cakes, cookies, and bread for a unique floral flavor.
Use fresh or dried lavender to make tea, either on its own or combined with other herbs.
Sprinkle fresh or dried lavender over salads, roasted vegetables, or grilled meats for an aromatic and flavorful garnish.
Use lavender-infused olive oil to add a subtle floral flavor to your cooking.
Use lavender essential oil to help relieve headaches, stress, anxiety, and other common ailments.
Make a lavender-infused salve or cream to soothe minor skin irritations such as insect bites, burns, and cuts.
Steep lavender flowers in hot water to create a relaxing and calming natural sleep aid.
Use lavender can provide essential oils in aromatherapy to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and improve mood. You need a distiller to make the essential oil.
Add lavender oil to your bath or shower to help relax sore muscles and promote overall relaxation.
How do you see a lavender plant becoming a part of your garden this next year? How do you see lavender adding value to your garden and to your life? I hope this article helped you to feel encouraged to grow some lavender for yourself this next year.
What are lavender growing habits?
It does not spread. It stays in a bush-like state.
Can I grow lavender plants in a container?
Yes, lavender plants can be planted and grown successfully in containers. In fact, growing lavender in pots or containers can be a great option for those who don’t have a lot of garden space, as well as for those who live in colder climates where the plant may need to be brought indoors during the winter months.
When plant lavender in a container, it’s important to choose a pot that is large enough to accommodate the plant’s root system and to provide good drainage. Lavender grows in well-draining soil, and containers should have drainage holes to prevent water from accumulating and causing root rot.
What pests and diseases do I need to watch out for?
None. Just make sure that if it is in a pot that there is plenty of drainage. It is a Mediterranean plant that does not like to be wet or that space plants have too much humidity. Make sure to have good air circulation and that the plant gets full sun. Lavender thrives with these basics in place.
Does the plant need full sun, or shade?
Plant lavender with plenty of sunlight in order to thrive and produce their characteristic fragrant flowers. Ideally, lavender should be planted in a location that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day.
Is lavender easy to maintain?
Lavender is a hardy plant that requires minimal attention and care. Plant lavender in well-drained soil, plenty of sunlight, and occasional watering. Care for lavender by harvesting the blooms so that the plant does not become full of woody stems.
Disclaimer: The contents of this blog post are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional or medical advice. The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Create My Garden. This blog post is provided “as is” without warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including, but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, or non-infringement. Readers assume all responsibility and liability for their own actions in connection with the information contained in this blog post. Create My Garden is not liable for any damages or losses arising from the use of or reliance upon any information contained in this blog post.