Lavender Cultivation

Lavandula Angustifolia (commonly called English Lavender) is native to the south of France, it grows on the foothills from 500 to 1000mtrs.  It enjoys hot summers and cold winters, (in France the lavender is covered with snow during the winter) the plants will stand some frost, however, it has been found they do not flower well when grown in humid climates.  In France lavender grows in stony, depleted soils with a ph of 6-7, the best oil is produced in poor soil.  

The main requirement for successful lavender growing is excellent drainage as lavender hates having wet feet, if you grow your lavender in pots the saucer should be discarded and the pot raised a little off the ground to allow better drainage.  An application of lime or dolomite each Autumn will maintain the ph of the soil, while a mineral supplement in Spring is beneficial. 

The best oil is produced in poor soil.

Lavender does not appreciate manure fertilisers but compost spread around the area will help the natural maintenance of the soil.  For pot cultivation the application of a complete slow release fertiliser is advisable.  Do not cultivate around your plants as this disturbs the surface roots and any damage to the trunk will allow fungal infection to enter.  Weeds should be removed as lavender does not
like competition. 

Harvest your lavender early in the flowering season when the colour is at its best, cut the flowers and bunch in smallish bunches held together with an elastic band.  Hang upside down in a dry, dark place until the flower is completely dry.  The bunches can now be used as is or can be stripped, by rubbing between the hands, and used in sachets etc. or pot pourii mixes.

Don't get lost little one.