7 simple rules of gorgeous lavender
Let me confess my love today. In love ... for lavender. One of the best unpretentious, evergreen and flowering shrubs that can be successfully grown in your garden. And if someone thinks that lavender is a resident of the Mediterranean, or at least the south, then you are mistaken. Lavender grows well in more northern regions, even in the suburbs. But in order to grow it, you need to know some rules and features. They will be discussed in this article.
1. Lavender in garden design - everywhere appropriate
Here you have many options. I like to build on the natural habitat of a plant. In nature, lavender grows in dry and rocky areas. Therefore, individual bushes scattered between the stones will look organic and quite natural.
From lavender you can create magnificent borders along the paths. Not only is it beautiful, but touching these bushes with your foot, you will hear an unforgettable aroma, even when there are no flowers on it.
Their height may vary depending on the variety you choose. Let's say Blue scent grows by 30 cm, and Hidcote giant for all 60, or even 70 cm. By the way, such borders from lavender can be made not only along the paths, but also along not very attractive places, reliably covering them, for example, along the concrete foundation of the house or around the cesspool.
Lavender goes well with other plants and can be used to create mixborders. Either combining it with plants blooming in blue-violet colors, or, conversely, using contrast, next to plants blooming in yellow.
Compositions with plants that have a similar color (silver - gray) and foliage texture look good: Bieberstein's stalk, santolina, sage, etc. The main thing is that companion plants do not block sunlight from lavender.
The combination of lavender with roses is considered classic, creating a harmonious unity of both color and aroma. But there is one subtlety here. In addition to the fact that you can not block lavender from the sun, a rose, to put it mildly, has slightly different (directly opposite) requirements for soil composition and watering. When creating such a composition, you should carefully consider everything.
Even if you decide to grow one bush of lavender, then there is a place for it, either as a tapeworm on a mown lawn, or as a plant in a large container (at least 2 liters) in a recreation area.
By the way, you can decorate the recreation area with a small spicy-aromatic flowerbed, where, along with lavender, you can include rosemary, sage, mint, yarrow, oregano. And if some of these plants do not winter in your open ground, then in such a bed for the summer you can place containers with them. In addition to beauty and aroma, you might scare mosquitoes away.
In principle, you can try to grow lavender among garden crops to deter harmful insects. And I, in addition to my growing 16 bushes, have a dream - a whole lavender field ...
2. For luxurious lavender, the right place
If you, like me, decided that there should be a lot of lavender, then you should keep in mind that you need to plant the bushes at a certain distance from each other, and it depends on the particular variety (it is worth studying them).
Let's say there are lavender bushes growing in diameter up to 30 cm in the adult state, which means that it is better to plant them with the same distance - 30 cm. And if the variety grows to 70 cm, then it is worth making a distance of 70 cm between them. That is, when When planting, you must follow the rule when the edges of the bushes will be in contact, but not crawl on top of each other.
Lavender loves neutral or slightly alkaline soil. If on your site the soil is slightly acidic, it is necessary to neutralize them before planting, adding special components (sold in garden stores), say, dolomite flour.
Lavender in no case will not tolerate stagnation of water, water should quickly leave the root zone, the soil should be light. The sun is what lavender really needs! Open and sunny landing sites guarantee good growth and plentiful flowering. In partial shade, she will also survive, but will look less impressive.
Not only should the sun bake lavender from above, it is advisable to arrange heating for it from below. To do this, unusual materials are used as lavender mulch: neither compost, nor peat, nor God forbid, manure, will do. Stones, gravel, pebbles, marble chips (if finances allow) - the best mulch for her. Heated during the day, at night the stones give their heat to lavender.
3. Lack of care - optimal “care”
Lavender care, as such, is virtually nonexistent. No fertilizers, moreover, lavender prefers to grow on poor soils. It can also do without irrigation; the “heavenly” irrigation is quite enough for it. The only thing she needs is pruning.
4. Pruning - at least after flowering
Of course, a matter of taste, it is possible without pruning, but, in my opinion, you need to prune lavender regularly. Without pruning, the bush is exposed and loses its decorativeness, which we love to consider in Internet pictures. At least once a season, lavender is pruned (after flowering). Young shoots are shortened by 1/3.
But I cut it twice a year. In the spring - before the start of growth, and after flowering. The most important thing to remember is that you should not trim the lavender too much, affecting the lignified parts. The plant may die.
5. Harvesting - at the right time
Why do we grow lavender on our sites? Of course, this is an excellent element of garden design, and beautifully flowering, and fragrant. But you can harvest from lavender. If you cut the first flowers, then closer to autumn, wait for the second wave of flowering. Although, it’s up to you to decide whether these flowers will decorate your garden or your home.
Excellent dried flowers are obtained from lavender flowers, but in order for them to stand well in a vase before the new season, cut flower stalks at the very beginning of flowering, when not all the flowers opened.
If you want to use lavender flowers for making tea, cosmetics, etc., then you should cut them at the time of full and maximum disclosure of all colors. At this time, the content of essential oils is maximum. Cut flowers with peduncles are bundled and hung to dry flowers down in the room.
For the use of lavender as a medicinal plant, read Article 9 of medicinal plants to relieve anxiety and treat insomnia.
6. Shelter for the winter - optional
In the southern regions, lavender feels great even without shelter. Moreover, many gardeners are reinsured and, in fact, only make it worse. In warm climates, with mild frosts, under the shelter on lavender, fungal diseases begin to develop, or it vomits.
In the northern regions, shelter is usually indispensable, but it is difficult to make recommendations on the regions. You should either study the experience of the neighbors growing this chic shrub, or actively propagate it and conduct experiments with shelter.
There is good news for all northern lavender lovers - it is quite possible to grow lavender at home in a pot. Yes, for the summer it is worth taking it out to the sun, and in the winter to keep it on a cool windowsill. The container for the normal development of the plant should be taken high, as its root goes deep.
7. Propagate lavender yourself
If you decide to get this wonderful plant, then the easiest way is to try to grow it from seeds. The selection of seeds in garden shops is large, just keep in mind that there are different types and varieties of lavender, characterized by their frost resistance, height, width of the bush and even the color of the flowers. It is believed that for most non-southern regions it is better suited. narrow-leaved lavenderas more frost-resistant.
So, the seeds have acquired. You can sow them in the spring in a container and wait for seedlings. But, from my own experience, I will say that germination increases noticeably with 30 days of stratification - lavender will grow more and more amicably.
How to stratify lavender seeds? Yes, very simple. Place the container with sown seeds in the refrigerator or basement at a temperature of about + 4 ... + 5 degrees. Maintain the soil constantly in a wet state - just wrap the container in a plastic film. After a month, get out and put in the heat, shoots will not take long to wait.
Read more about stratification in our article 6 rules for stratification of seeds at home.
After the appearance of the first true leaves, seedlings need to be peaked in separate cups. So at one time you can get a lot of lavender seedlings at once. And there should be a lot of lavender!
There are other breeding methods. You can cuttings and root shoots, you can pin layering to the ground, you can divide the bush, or you can just sprinkle the plant with earth in the fall, completely filling the space between the stems. Closer to summer, you will find that there are many rooted branches inside this earthen mound. Cut and plant. In general, all methods are good for propagating lavender.
Interesting facts about lavender
Lavender is not only shades of purple, but also white and pink.
Since the 17th century, lavender began to be grown in France for the production of perfumes. Maybe try it? If not perfumes, then lotions or soap with lavender can definitely be done by everyone.
Lavender is a good honey plant.
Lavender bushes gradually grow old and exposed - after 5-6 years, they should be replaced.
If you boil 3 tablespoons of dried lavender flowers, 2 cups of milk and 0.5 cups of honey, you get a soothing and fragrant bath elixir.
You can do this: in a glass for mojito, mash pestle with fresh mint leaves, a slice of lemon, a spoonful of honey and a handful of dried lavender flowers. Pour all this mineral water with ice. In the summer heat, between breaks of potatoes - what you need! Or maybe try dry wine or champagne instead of water? Have a good mood!