Lavender is a beloved herb among gardeners and enthusiasts due to its fragrant flowers and versatile uses. However, planting lavender at the right time is crucial to ensure its growth. Understanding the optimal planting window will help you cultivate thriving lavender plants. In this article, we will explore the appropriate time to plant lavender and unlock the secrets of growing this wonderfully scented herb.
- Spring Planting is best for strong roots. Plant lavender when the soil warms up in spring to establish robust root systems and ensure healthy growth.
- Refrain from planting lavender flowers in winter or late fall due to their vulnerability to frost, which can harm their delicate parts and impede development.
- Lavender flourishes in full sun, necessitating a minimum of six hours of daily sunlight for solid growth and abundant blooms.
- Be mindful of the variety you choose to plant, as some types are cold hardier than others.
Best Time to Plant Lavender: Insights and Recommendations
Spring Planting for Strong Roots
The best time to plant lavender is in the spring when the soil has warmed up. Spring planting allows the plant to establish strong roots before the arrival of summer heat. By planting lavender early in the season, gardeners give it ample time to settle in and thrive.
Avoid Winter and Late Fall Planting
It’s important to avoid planting lavender during winter or late fall. Lavender plants are not frost-tolerant and may struggle to survive in cold conditions. Frost can damage their delicate flower spikes and green foliage, hindering their growth and overall health.
The Importance of Full Sun
Lavender thrives in full sun, so choosing a sunny spot in your garden for planting is crucial. These plants require at least six hours of sunlight daily to thrive and produce vibrant blooms. Without sufficient sunlight, lavender may become leggy, with weak stems and fewer flowers.
- Learn More: Did you know you can plant lavender in containers? You can, but it is best to do that type of planting in spring to keep the soil warm enough for the roots to spread and take hold. We have an entire post dedicated to growing lavender in containers to help you get started successfully.
Pros and Cons of Fall Planting for Lavender
Advantages of Fall Planting
Fall planting can be advantageous. Planting in the fall gives your lavender a head start in establishing its roots before winter dormancy. This extra time allows the plant to develop a robust root system, which is essential for its overall health and longevity.
Another benefit of fall planting is that the soil is still warm from summer. The warm soil promotes root growth and enables the lavender to establish itself more quickly. Fall planting gives your lavender ample time to acclimate to its new environment before facing the challenges of summer heat.
Considerations for Fall Planting
While there are benefits to fall planting, it’s essential to consider some potential drawbacks as well. One primary concern is the risk of frost damage. If plants are not adequately protected, lavender planted in the fall may be susceptible to frost during cold spells.
Choosing a sheltered location for your lavender plants is crucial to mitigate this risk. A sheltered spot could be near a south-facing wall or in an area with good air circulation but protection from harsh winds. Cover your plants with mulch or protective fabric during extreme cold snaps.
It’s essential to consider your local climate conditions when deciding whether or not to opt for fall planting. Fall planting may be viable if you live in an area with mild winters and relatively stable temperatures.
However, if you experience severe winters or unpredictable weather patterns, it might be safer to wait until spring.
Lavender Plant Variety Impact on Planting Times
The best time for planting lavender can vary depending on the specific type and your local climate. Here are some common lavender varieties and their ideal planting times:
- English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia): This is the most common type of lavender and includes varieties like ‘Munstead,’ ‘Hidcote,’ and ‘Lady.’ Plant English lavender in the spring, after the last frost date in your area, or early fall, around September.
- French Lavender (Lavandula dentata): French lavender is often considered less hardy than English lavender. It’s best to plant it in the spring after the last frost date to give it an entire growing season to establish itself.
- Spanish Lavender (Lavandula stoechas): Spanish lavender has distinctive bracts on its flower spikes. It’s also best planted in the spring after the last frost as it is much more cold-sensitive.
- Lavandin (Lavandula x intermedia): Lavandins are hybrids of English and spike lavender, often more cold-hardy. Plant them in the spring or early fall, like English lavender.
- Spike Lavender (Lavandula latifolia): Spike lavender is known for its strong camphor scent. It’s typically planted in the spring but can handle a little more cold than other lavenders.
- Portuguese Lavender (Lavandula luisieri): Portuguese lavender is well-suited to hot, dry climates and should be planted in the spring or early fall.
- Lavender ‘Grosso’: This lavandin variety is known for its strong fragrance. Plant ‘Grosso’ in the spring or early fall.
When planting lavender, choose a well-draining soil and a sunny location. Lavender thrives in full sunlight, good drainage, and soil that doesn’t retain excessive moisture. Water newly planted lavender regularly to help establish its roots, but once established, lavender is quite drought-tolerant.
It’s important to note that local climate conditions and frost dates can vary, so it’s a good idea to check with your local gardening center or cooperative extension service for more precise planting guidelines specific to your area. Or use this handy interactive map to help figure out your growing zone.
Conclusion: When to Plant Lavender
Lavender is one of our favorites, and we’ve started growing the plants in every house we’ve moved into in the last 15 years (there have been a few). We’ve lived all across Canada, from Vancouver to Nova Scotia (where we are now) and everywhere in between, and although lavender can be picky, it can do well so long as it has time to establish a sound root system.
Planting in the spring has always been my go-to, but growing in the fall would work fine in slightly milder climates.
Learn More about Lavender Plants:
We have loads of lavender growing and utilization information for you; check out these posts!
- How To Grow Lavender in Containers
- The Best Lavender Companion Plants For Your Garden
- How To Dry Lavender (Preserving Methods And Tips)
- What To Do With Dried Lavender This Harvest Season
- How to Grow Lavender Indoors
Can I plant lavender in any season?
While lavender can be planted in various seasons depending on your location, the ideal time to plant is typically spring or fall. These seasons provide favorable conditions for root development without subjecting the plants to extreme temperatures.
How long does it take for lavender seeds to germinate?
Lavender seeds usually germinate under optimal conditions in around 2-3 weeks. However, it’s important to note that some varieties of established plants may have more extended germination periods, so be patient during this process.
- Learn More: Check out our complete guide on how to grow lavender from seed to transplant.
Can I grow lavender indoors?
Yes! Lavender can be successfully grown indoors with adequate sunlight (at least 6-8 hours per day) and well-draining soil. Consider using a grow light if natural sunlight is limited.
How often should I water my lavender plants?
Lavender plants are drought-tolerant once established and prefer infrequent watering rather than being constantly moist. Water deeply but sparingly, allowing the soil to dry out between watering sessions.
Is it necessary to fertilize lavender plants?
Lavender is a low-maintenance plant that doesn’t require heavy fertilization. Excessive fertilizer can harm its growth. A light application of balanced organic fertilizer in early spring should provide the nutrients for healthy lavender plants.
Remember, each lavender variety may have specific requirements, so always refer to the instructions provided with your chosen cultivar for the best results. Happy planting!