Learning how to grow lavender in the garden is not difficult.
Lavender comes in many cultivars all of which add variety and delight to any herb or flower garden.
Most lavender varieties are perennials hardy to zones 5-8. All they need to be happy is a sunny dry location.
Winters where freezing temperatures are below -20 degrees F will need protection in the winter months.The hardiest varieties are the L. angustifloia and L. xintermedia.
Foliage ranges from light green to silver and blue green with flowers of various shades of purple, pink and white.
The flower spikes can be dried and used in sachet and flower arrangements.
Lavender flowers can be eaten and used to flavor ice cream, teas and cookies.
Lavender oil is considered the Grandmother of oils. It has sooths and calms the nerves and has antiseptic properties.
Lavender can be grown from seed or cuttings.
Start seed indoors 10 weeks before spring frosts are done. Plant seeds in containers in moist potting soil. Place clear plastic over the containers to keep the seeds moist. Lavender seeds need light to germinate.
Remove the plastic after the seeds germinate. When the plants are 4 to 6 inches they are ready to plant outside.
Place lavender in a sunny location with good drainage. Mature lavender will spread to several feet so place young plants 2 to 3 feet apart.
To propagate from lavender plants, gather cuttings from stems of mature plants in the spring or fall. Choose soft wood from the current year’s growth. Trim off leaves from the bottom of the stems. Place the end of the stem in moist starting soil with good drainage.
Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Roots will develop over 5 to 6 weeks. Once the cuttings are established with new growth they can be carefully planted outside the same as the seedling transplants.
The second season the lavender stems will become woody. Lavender flowers best the second year. If you pinch off flower buds the first year the energy will go to growth. The second year and beyond the flowers will be prolific.
For dried flowers to be used in arrangement, cut flower stems when the flowers are not quite open. This will give you the best color for your projects.
For flowers to be used in sachets and flavorings cut the flower spikes when the first few flowers on the top of the stem are open and the rest are beginning to open.
Lay the stem out on a cookie sheet to dry or gather into bunches and hang upside down in a warm location that has good ventilation.
Dried lavender flowers can be used in soaps, and cooking. they add a nice flower scent to cooked rice or an infused tea.
In cooking just add a few teaspoons to your water when cooking rice. For soaps add them after the soap traces.
Sprinkle some flowers on your salads or add to homemade salad dressing.
How every you use lavender it will bring a calming to your life.