Lovely Lavender: How to Grow this Sun-loving Perennial

Lavender is revered for its soothing fragrance, beautiful colour, and low-maintenance qualities. Thinking about adding this sun-loving perennial to your garden? You have come to the right place.

Clouds of aromatic blooms on silvery grey foliage make a statement in any garden design; from contemporary to traditional landscapes, lavender will take your garden to the next level thanks to its architectural shape.

Lavender Munstead

If you have a small patio or balcony, you can enjoy this plant in containers. It’s a good idea to put some small stones at the bottom of the container to ensure proper drainage.

For optimal impact, place them near doors so that your guests are greeted with the fragrance when they enter.

Where to Plant

Bee on lavender plantThis perennial can be planted in rows to create a charming hedge or planted along pathways to create an aromatic entrance to your patio or front entrance.

Always follow the plant tag to see how much the variety will spread; there needs to be enough space between plants to allow for proper air circulation.

When planting lavender, keep in mind it needs a minimum of six hours of sunlight.

Once established, lavender is drought tolerant and works well in xeriscaping.

This perennial prefers soil that has good drainage and dry, sandy soil as opposed to nutrient dense soil.

Clay soil can be tough on lavender; therefore, try planting in a raised bed or container where necessary.

Lavender is low-maintenance, so no need to fertilize or add mulch as this will cause the plant to retain too much moisture in the roots, which can lead to root rot.

While lavender attracts pollinators, it acts as an effective deterrent against deer and rabbit.

Pruning Lavender

After the threat of frost in spring, prune back by one third; pruning will help stimulate vigorous new growth in the center of the plant. Every cut produces a minimum of two shoots, which helps to thicken the plant, giving it a more attractive form.

Spanish lavender offers a different fragrance and flavour, but will not survive winter and are sold as annuals.

The Best Varieties

Lavender is native to the Mediterranean, however some species are hardy enough to survive our Canadian winters.  Here are some of our favourites.

New for 2018: ‘Big Time Blue’ Lavender
Part of our new Fragrant Garden Collection, this variety is rich in nectar; bees and butterflies will love it while you enjoy the fragrant flowers from summer to fall. The blooms are also strikingly bigger on this variety compared to others.

‘Superblue’ Lavender 

This compact variety has grey-green foliage with violet-purple flowers. It is part of our Sheridan Garden Classics Bee-nifical Garden Collection and makes a great addition to mass plantings, herb gardens, and rock gardens.

‘Hidcote’ Lavender
A Sheridan Garden Classic, this upright growing perennial has silvery-green foliage with bluish-purple flowers that blossom all summer. This is one of the most aromatic varieties you can plant.

‘Munstead’ Lavender
Another popular variety of lavender is ‘munstead,’ which has green foliage and blue flowers more vibrant than other varieties of lavender. It also has a longer blooming period (June to September), so you can enjoy the fragrance and colour a bit longer through the warm months.

‘Platinum Blonde’ Lavender
Beneath the lavender blooms spikes, this one of a kind lavender has foliage of yellow and green variegation.

‘Rosea’ Lavender
Did you know not all lavender is purple? There is also a pink flowering variety called rosea that has green foliage and fragrant light pink blooms, which appear from June to August.

Enjoy Lavender Through Every Season

Lavender is more than just a treat in the garden; it can be added to recipes (everything from cookies, to drinks), and even used to create essential oils.

Dried lavender can be hung anywhere in your home, but one of the most popular places is in the bedroom, as it helps with relaxation, sleep aid, and reducing anxiety.

Take a handful of cuttings when there are a few open blooms (the oil is held inside the buds). Then tie up the stems with an elastic or twine and hang upside down in an area with good air circulation for six to eight weeks.

If you want to try cooking with this plant, try these shortbread cookies from Renne’s Garden.