One of the most important requirements for growing lavender (lavandula) is proper soil. Lavender does best in well drained soil where it gets a minimum of 6 hours of full sun, with a pH of 7.0 or greater. Take a soil sample to your local Cornell extension or purchase a good pH meter at your local nursery store. You can make your soil have a less acidic pH by adding lime. I recommend adding lime twice a year as it can take 6 or more months for lime to react in the soil. Hydrated lime is faster acting than ground limestone. I add it in the fall and again in the spring.
The following is a list I have created to give you success growing lavender in zone 5 or lower. See Zone Chart below:
1. Make sure planting bed is free draining and in full sun, minimum 6 hours a day.
2. Check soil pH and amend planting bed prior to planting if possible. pH of 7.0 or greater required.
3. Buy your lavender plants from a reputable grower who propagates their own stock in your zone. This ensures the plants have been
acclimated to wintering over in your area and are also true lavender varieties from parent stock. Ask for varieties hardy in your
4. Apply lime fall and spring.
5. Avoid using bark mulches; these are too acidic and retain moisture close to the plant crown. White stone is much better as it
reflects the sunlight into the center of the plant, keeping it healthy.
6. If you want to dry out the lavender flowers, pick them in the morning after the dew has evaporated, but before the sun has been
on them too long. This is when the oil content is at its highest.
7. Deadhead old flower stalks. Earlier varieties give a second bloom.
8. In the late fall and early winter (when nights have been in the upper 30's for an extended time) the plants go into dormancy;
give them a buzz cut (1"-2" trim all around) to prepare them for the winter's snow fall. This will tighten them up and prevent the
snow from pushing them apart. It will also ensure healthy growth in the spring.
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