How to plant and care for lavender

*This is a general guide that has been gathered over 5+ years of lavender growing and tending. I am not an "Official" lavender farmer. Seek one for more "Official" information.

Two things kill lavender plants: over watering{once established} and cutting into the "hard wood". 

1.) First, go to your local lavender farm and pick up a lavender bush before right before the blooming season in mid May. My local spot is Seven Oaks Lavender Farm in Catlett, VA. During this time, lavender farms are typically open on the weekends and you can swing by to pick up your lavender plant. Most lavender farms "officially" open in June. At this time, you can pick lavender. Picking lavender is fun, but I personally prefer doing it from my own back yard!

2.) Find a nice sunny spot for your lavender bush. Lavender requires full sunlight and well drained soil. A raised bed in full sunlight is the perfect location for your new lavender bush. Lavender also loves sand! So, I positioned the kids sandbox right next to my lavender bushes. Pretty smart, eh? :}

3.) Create a pitcher's mound. Lavender likes to sit atop, like a Queen looking down from her thrown. The mound helps keep excess water away from the lavender's delicate root system.

4.) Plant your lavender bush. Dig a hole slightly bigger than the plant itself. At the bottom, place small stones to encourage drainage and thus preventing root rot. Lavender loves sandy loam soil! A mixture of new Organic garden soil, the present soil in your garden, and a mixture of sand(or peat moss) will make your lavender a happy bush!

4.) Water your plant in and leave it alone for two weeks. The inclination when you first plant any plant is to water it every other day. If it has been especially hot during the second week of planting and your lavender is drooping do a water test. Lavender is really responsive to watering within the first 10 minutes if it actually needs it.

Water slightly and check back 10 minutes later. If it is still drooping leave it alone! It may simply be experiencing transplantation shock and it needs time to recover. If your lavender is standing straight up after the 10 minute re-check, water a little more and leave it alone. Lavender is like a crock pot. Set it and forget it. IF you try and tend to it too much then you will probably kill it.

5.) Harvesting and trimming. These two typically go hand in hand. Your lavender plant will typically produce a summer and fall harvest. You want to trim above the hardwood or "woody" portion of the lavender during these times of harvest.

You CAN enjoy lavender wafting in the breathe with these tried and true steps. Enjoy the process and the fruits of your labor will be an overflowing field of lavender! *Sniff, sigh, awesome*


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