You can grow healthy lavender in pots if you have the right pots, soil, amount of water, and sunlight. Lavender plants are very delicate and require comprehensive care when repotted. If you don’t give your potted lavender the adequate care it needs, it won’t grow properly or live for very long.
This article will explain everything you need to know on how to grow lavender in pots successfully.
Does Lavender Grow Well in Pots?
Lavender does grow well in pots as long as you take care to repot and water it correctly. It’s a temperamental plant, especially when potted, so investing in the right kind of soil is essential. You’ll also need to provide potted lavender with enough sunlight to help it live longer.
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3 Simple Steps To Grow Lavender in Pots
Growing lavender in pots may seem daunting at first, but knowing the proper steps to take can make the process a lot easier.
Here are three steps to keep in mind when planning to grow lavender in pots:
- Pick a Suitable Pot
Lavender can grow a lot when adequately taken care of, so it’s essential to pick a big pot for the plant to flourish in. I recommend opting for a pot 12-16 inches wide, as this will give the herb plenty of room to grow.
When choosing a pot for your lavender plant, something to keep in mind is to make sure that your pot supports some form of drainage. While lavender needs to be consistently watered, it does not do well when oversaturated with water. A pot that supports little to no drainage can cause your lavender to get root rot, which would directly hinder your plant’s health.
To avoid this, you can add small rocks at the bottom of your pot to encourage drainage. Adding the rocks will assist the water in slowly trickling down instead of immediately oversaturating the roots. You can also choose a pot that already has holes for drainage. If you’re going to keep the lavender plant inside, make sure your pot has a saucer to catch the excess water.
- Choose the Right Soil
When choosing the suitable soil for your lavender plant, you want to opt for a potting soil mix that is alkaline and sandy. The more grit in the soil, the better, as it promotes proper drainage.
Joy Us Garden, a blog dedicated to gardening, has an expertly crafted soil recipe that is fool-proof. By combining three parts soil, one part clay pebbles, and one part pumice, this soil mixture assists in fighting root rot as it permits water to drain correctly (source).
- Add Enough Soil To Cover the Roots
You will also want to make sure that there is enough soil to cover the roots of your lavender plant completely. This step is vital if you’re keeping your plant indoors or if your plant will be outside during the colder months (source). The more soil layered over your plant’s roots, the more insulated and protected the plant will be against weather conditions that may harm its livelihood.
How Do You Care for a Potted Lavender Plant?
To care for a potted lavender plant, you should use a large pot with proper drainage, and fill it with sandy, alkaline soil to help keep the plant secure. You should also regulate the lavender’s watering schedule, give it enough sunlight, and prune it annually.
If these requirements are met, your potted lavender has a much better chance of growing successfully (source).
How Often Should I Water Lavender?
The frequency at which you should be watering your potted lavender plant depends on a couple of factors: how newly planted your lavender is and the climate surrounding it.
You should water lavender several times a week after it’s been freshly planted. After the first week, gradually decrease watering until you’re only doing so once every two weeks.
This technique will aid in combating the initial “shock” that your plant may go through.
After the first week, you can begin watering less frequently by gradually spreading out the intervals. Start by only watering once a day, then every few days, and then every two weeks, once three months have passed.
For the most part, the less you water lavender, the better. Lavender is considered a “drought-resistant” plant, which means that it can handle little to no water for quite some time.
The best way to figure out if your potted lavender needs to be watered or not is to touch the soil. If it feels dry to the touch, you can go ahead and water it. If the soil still feels slightly moist, do not water it. Let it completely dry out first.
I recommend watering your lavender once a week to once every two weeks, depending on soil dryness.
Lavender thrives in hot weather, so you’re going to need to pay extra close attention to your potted lavender plant in the colder months. Less sunlight means that the plant won’t dry out as fast, so you’ll need to refrain from your usual watering schedule.
In the winter, your plant may only need to be watered every 4-6 weeks, on average.
Does Lavender Need Full Sun?
Lavender is naturally found in warm, Mediterranean climates, so your potted lavender is going to need a lot of sun.
Lavender does need full sun to thrive and grow healthily. Potted lavender requires at least 6-8 hours of sunlight so it can soak up all of those rays. If you can’t provide full sun for the full 6-8 hours, you can also use LED grow lights.
Giving your lavender plant enough sun will promote growth and health, and it will also assist in absorbing excess moisture from your plant, thus preventing root rot (source).
As previously mentioned, potted lavender does not do well in cold weather. If you have to bring your plant indoors for the winter, you can use LED grow lights to compensate for the temporary lack of sunlight.
Should I Trim Potted Lavender?
Trimming, otherwise known as “pruning,” your lavender plant is an important step in taking care of your plant.
You should trim potted lavender at least once or twice a year. Pruning potted lavender helps prevent wood from sprouting out of the plant’s shrub, which could hinder the stalks from growing. Maintenance trims will also keep the plant healthy and promote continuous growth.
When pruning your plant, do not directly cut the wooden areas. Instead, remove the leaf sets above these sections of your plant. Make sure your shears are clean when pruning. Read more on pruning to stimulate growth.
Types of Lavender Plants You Can Pot and Grow
While all lavender may be indisputably beautiful, its needs, uses, and temperament vary depending on its type. So, it’s crucial to pick the correct type of lavender for you.
There are several types of lavender you can pot, such as:
- English lavender
- French lavender
- Spanish lavender
- Lavandin hybrids
- Portuguese lavender
English lavender, also known as “Lavandula angustifolia,” grows incredibly fragrant and sweet-smelling. This makes it an excellent choice for growers that plan to use their lavender for culinary pursuits.
English lavender is also the most cold-tolerant of the lavender types. This means that if you’re looking to grow lavender in a climate that doesn’t get too much sun, this variation of lavender will be your best bet.
French lavender, also known as “Lavandula Dentata,” has a much lighter scent than its other variations, especially the English one (source).
Yet, what french lavender lacks in scent, it makes up for in its beauty. It is incredibly eye-catching, with its vibrant purple spikes and brightly colored leaves. So, if you’re looking for visually striking lavender, this type is for you.
French lavender functions best in a warm climate and requires full sun, so they are not ideal for colder climates as they are unlikely to survive winters. When grown in the correct climate, this type of lavender can bloom all year round, especially in the early summer to fall.
Spanish lavender, otherwise known as “Lavandula stoechas,” produces a beautiful pine-cone-shaped flower that can be purple or pink. This type is also known for its “ears,” which sprout from the top of the flower, making them visually striking. According to Gardenia, they can also bloom continuously from mid-spring to late-summer.
While Spanish lavender flowers have a subtle scent comparable to eucalyptus, their leaves are known for their rich fragrance. This type of lavender is often used when making essential oils, making it the ideal type for those breeding lavender for aromatherapy purposes.
Spanish lavender can grow relatively well in humid climates, so if you live in an area with a lot of humidity, this is the ideal type for you (source). This type of lavender is not recommended for those looking to grow potted lavender in colder climates.
Portuguese lavender, also referred to as “Lavandula latifolia” and “spike lavender,” is considered more fragrant than the English variation. It is ideal for those seeking to grow lavender for essential oils, soap-making, and aromatherapy.
This kind of lavender blooms pale purple flowers on long stems with evergreen leaves. Portuguese lavender blooms a lot from late spring to late summer.
This type has difficulty growing in the shade, so it needs as much sun as possible. This type is not ideal for cold, shady climates, as Portuguese lavender thrives on dry soil (source).
Lavandins, also known as “Lavandula,” are a blend of English lavender and Portuguese lavender, thus combining properties from both types. The purpose of this hybrid is to combine the English lavender’s resistance to the cold and the Portuguese lavender’s ability to withstand high temperatures. Due to these properties, lavandins are ideal for those seeking a variation of lavender that isn’t as temperamental as the rest.
Lavandin can range in color, producing flowers that can range from deep purple to pure white. This type is also highly fragrant, with both its flowers and leaves producing a rich scent. This type produces tall spikes and is known for growing faster than other lavender types.
This type of lavender is great for aromatherapy purposes. Lavandin oil is used for soaps, cleaning products, and even perfume.
Why Is My Potted Lavender Dying?
As previously stated, lavender does not grow well if it’s overwatered.
Your potted lavender may be dying because it’s been overwatered or is kept in an overly humid environment. You should regulate your plant’s watering schedule and keep it in a dry place. These techniques should prevent too much moisture from building up in the plant which would reduce its lifespan.
When the soil that your lavender is potted in gets oversaturated with water, it can produce two types of fungi that may affect your plant. These fungi are called botrytis (mold) and phytophthora (root rot). They can destroy the health of your plant and ultimately kill them.
While overwatering is the leading cause of death when it comes to potted lavender, humidity is another sneaky culprit that can cause your plant to die.
While Spanish lavender can survive in humid climates, other lavender types require a drier climate to survive. So, if you don’t have Spanish lavender, you need to control the humidity in your plant’s environment.
How Long Does Potted Lavender Last?
Some potted lavender, such as English lavender can last up to 15 years, while less durable types of lavender, such as French lavender, can only live up to 5 years. The length at which potted lavender can last relies on what kind of lavender is planted and the conditions it’s kept in.
Potted lavender longevity varies depending on how the lavender is cared for, as well as what kind of lavender is being grown.
You can help to ensure the longevity of your lavender plant by providing it with a full-sun environment.
Longevity also depends on how often you prune your lavender. You must prune your lavender at least once a year for it to live a long, happy life.
However, some species of lavender – such as French lavender – may still only survive for up to 5 years, even with proper care and conditions.
If you are looking to grow potted lavender, you can rest assured that it can grow very well with the proper care. While temperamental, potted lavender can grow beautifully indoors or outdoors when its unique needs are met.
To successfully grow potted lavender, you need:
- A roomy pot and alkaline, rocky soil to promote drainage.
- A controlled amount of water to prevent root rot.
- 6-8 hours of sunlight (can be substituted with LED grow lights in colder seasons).
Taking all of these things into account when growing your potted lavender will help your plant retain its health and thrive.
Learn what to grow with Lavender in our extensive list of Herbs That Grow Well Together.