Growing lavender

booberry85(5)May 9, 2005

I was given a beautiful healthy lavender plant by my mother-in-law. How do you grow it? I think its a perennial but not very hardy in upstate New York. I had a neighbor who had quite the green thumb but not when it came to lavender. Any help would be appreciated.

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lblack61(z5 NY)

It depends on the type of lavendar you have, boo. French Lavender is too tender to be perennial here. But English Lavendar is very hardy in my area.
I have one plant that will be 3 years old this year and is getting green right now. I have two more that are called "Twickle Pink" that I planted last year that are also getting green now. I also wintersowed a few lavendar seeds that will hopefully come up every year on their own.

I might be in a micro-zone, because I'm near Lake Ontario, but I think they may do well where you are also. If in doubt, mulch them in the fall.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2005 at 12:10PM
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They do not like to have wet feet. Keep them on a slight mound of soil and a bit dry. Full sun.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2005 at 10:01PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

They do not like acid soil. Most people on the east coast who struggle with lavender have pH problems. With the proper pH, they can handle a fair amount of wet, heavy clay and cold. Otherwise, they are already stressed and it doesn't take much to kill them off.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2005 at 9:22AM
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Thanks! My soil is heavy clay, wet and acidic! Maybe I'll buy it a bigger pot and some potting soil!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2005 at 10:18PM
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lblack61(z5 NY)

The three lavendar plants I have so far are all in an area of the yard where the soil has barely been worked and they get full sun (sun all day). They seem to be pretty happy there. The two I planted last year are doing great now and the one that's been there for two years is doing great also.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2005 at 10:53AM
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hammerl(z5-6 Amherst NY)

This is the first year I've had lavender survive -- I bought two plants and tried two different beds last year, both ironically just a few yards removed from where the others all died. Meanwhile, my sister, 1.5 miles northwest, has a plant that's at least seven years old, maybe older, that always survives and blooms its head off. While her soil is a red clay (yes, looks like Georgia), it's in a slightly raised bed. I have some clay (a greenish-brown), but a lot of topsoil before you even get a hint of it (you really need to dig deep with a shovel). None of the locations has bad pH, but the yard tends to be on the wet side. I now have it in a slightly drier area. I'd say that's the big thing for mine, no wet feet.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2005 at 5:01PM
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How do you prepare lavendar for winter? Do you cut it to the ground? Or just cover it?

    Bookmark   March 14, 2006 at 10:37AM
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Aurore(Zone 4/5 NY)

Lavender is fussy for me. I grew English lavender from seeds. There were hundreds and they germinated extremely well. That's where the ease of growing them stopped. I lose a few each year. Mostly I let them grow and trim off the dead branches in the spring once the new growth has appeared. Something about trimming them though can cause them to die. Since they are so easy to grow from seed I should probably start some more because it takes about three years before they are mature to bloom. By then most of what I have may be gone and I'll be ready for some more.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2006 at 2:47PM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

well I tried them last year from seed and got one seed to germinate and then it died. The container is still sitting out by the garage. I will stick with my salvias and agastaches.


    Bookmark   March 16, 2006 at 9:09AM
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laurelin(z5a/4b Upstate NY)

I have lavender growing by my front steps and the end of a retaining wall - full sun, a little alkaline (from the concrete the steps are made of, and in the retaining wall mortar), on the dry side. So far I seem to get a lavender plant to look nice for 3-4 years, then I have to replace it - I guess that's not unusual in our climate. I have the variety 'Munstead,' which is supposed to be hardier than other varieties. I prune it for shape after it flowers the first time in the summer; sometimes it reblooms a little in August/September. I prune it hard in the spring, back to about 6", or to where I can see new growth beginning. It's one of my favorite fragrant plants, so it's worth a little bit of fussing.


    Bookmark   March 18, 2006 at 5:53PM
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luvahydrangea(Albany, NY 5)

I have lavender growing along my front walkway and just about anywhere else I can think of to stick it. I love lavender. Its planted where it gets 6-7 hours of afternoon sun. Our soil is very sandy so always dry, no clue about ph, but I would say sand and lots of sun is ideal. As someone else mentioned, good drainage is so important. They don't really like to get moved around either.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2006 at 7:28AM
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lblack61(z5 NY)

digger77 5,
I have to say I do absolutely nothing to mine. It seems the wind does cover them up a little (just at their feet) with leaves and they are against the house (and in a southern exposure), which probably gives them some kind of protection in the winter.
I don't do anything to them except in the spring, I think I trim down the dead stuff, once some new growth starts to appear.
I have the "Twickle Purple" and an English Lavendar that I purchased as seedlings. I'm starting some from seed this year.
I started some last year, but it was so dry and I had so many plants to get in the ground, I didn't tend to them and they died.
When I purchased the English Lavendar 4-5 years ago, I bought another type as well...I think it was French. It didn't even make it through to mid summer. It didn't like the heat or sun exposure like the other.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2006 at 11:55AM
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I wintersowed lavender last year; to my great surprise I got a lot of seedlings. It was one of the english varieties, perhaps Munstead. They're doing great this spring. I think they are classified as a sub-shrub, btw.

I previously purchased a lavender plant (Jean something-or-other) a few years ago and thought it had died over its first winter. Lavender takes a long time to green up in the spring and I thought it was a goner. Once it started turning green, I then foolishly pruned it. It nearly expired. Now I just leave the darn thing alone and it has rewarded me by getting big and bushy and a joy.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2006 at 12:20PM
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I have new lavendar plants, have read many of the questions here about drainage, sun and Promix, but I'm beginning to wonder about my zone. Will these plants thrive here in north Florida, zone 8b in a dry sunny spot, or am I going to be wasting my time? Quite humid here. . .

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 7:53PM
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Unfortunately, I have long since killed my lavender plant. However, I always appreciate it when I see other people growing it. I have a neighbor who has a much greener thumb than mine and her lavender always only lasted a season. It must have been French lavender.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 7:49AM
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I have a patch of about 6 plants of English lavender, L.angostifolia, that are at least 10 yrs old and continue to look well. They have woody stems which is fine with me because they continue to bloom and are very fragrant. They're planted in an area near some old stone steps where the drainage is excellent.
In spring, once I see new growth I cut back all the dead stems down to new growth, and remove fall leaves that get caught in the branches.
It's important to not be too tidy with lavender, it looks good when the plants are mature, like tiny little trees. This old planting only gets about 16 inches tall.
I love lavender and would not be without it.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 8:45PM
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I'm going to try growing lavender once again. Any suggestions on where to get plants? I'd prefer to get locally (central NY). Does Chuck Hafners carry it (N. Syracuse)? Dickmans Nursery (Auburn)? Lowes? Home Depot?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 2:18PM
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