When given the best care, lavender subshrubs can live for 10 to 15 years. Non-English lavenders won’t survive more than a year if left outside in cold climes owing to frost. French lavenders have a tendency to live substantially shorter lives than English lavenders, with 5 years being thought of as a long life.
If they are properly cared for, lavender plants can live for a very long time. Despite the fact that lavenders require little maintenance, it is still vital to mimic some of the growing conditions found in their native Mediterranean region. It should be emphasized, however, that lavender does not require a Mediterranean environment to thrive for a long time.
Continue reading to find out how simple it is to recreate the ideal circumstances for growing lavender so they can last and bloom for up to 15 years.
Table of Contents
How to Ensure Lavenders Live Longer
- Pick lavender that is appropriate for your climate.
- Plant lavender or prepare the soil for planting lavender (in terms of drainage, fertility, soil pH)
- Only water established lavender during dry periods; do not feed lavenders.
- For optimum results and to survive longer, lavender need full sun.
- Lavender should be pruned twice a year for maximum longevity.
Choose the Right Lavender for your Climate
When choose the variety of lavender to grow in your yard, this is the most crucial consideration. Only the English lavender species (Lavandula angustifolia) can successfully withstand frosts, snow, and ice throughout the winter.
English lavenders are more tolerant to seaside air and do better in windy and exposed locations. However, they are not genuinely salt tolerant plants.
Lavender species from France and Spain, which do not withstand cold weather and can perish in the first frost of winter, are much better suited to Mediterranean climates. This is why perennial lavender, which can thrive for many years, is frequently misidentified as an annual.
Only French and Spanish cultivars should be grown in pots if you live in a chilly climate. All varieties of lavender will thrive in pots since they have ideal drainage characteristics. The greatest benefit of potted lavenders, though, is that you may bring them inside for safety throughout the winter before the first frost and then put them back outside for the spring and summer.
(Read my post on growing lavender indoors for additional details and best methods.)
Since lavender is a native of Europe’s hot and dry Mediterranean region, there are no species that thrive in continuously humid temperatures. In humid climates, lavender plants don’t often live very long and are much more prone to fungal disease.
The Best Soil for Lavender to Live a Long Life
Lavender plants need the correct soil conditions to grow for a long time.
All varieties of lavender are indigenous to the Mediterranean area of Europe, where they are adapted to sandy soils with low fertility that drain fast and hold little rainfall.
You must mimic the soil characteristics of the lavender’s native range to guarantee that it thrives for the longest feasible time.
If lavenders are planted directly into damp, organically rich soils or soils that hold water through clay, they won’t survive for very long.
Therefore, adding coarse sand or grit to the soil will help lavender develop successfully. Avoid using fine sand since it won’t maintain the appropriate porous structure that permits air to the roots and efficient water drainage.
If lavender is planted in soil that retains water, the plant will get root rot from a fungus and won’t last as long as it should.
When planting lavender, make sure that the potting mixture contains at least 30% sand or grit. Having too much sand or grit is preferable to not having enough.
Lavender thrives on chalk soils because they drain well, retain minimal moisture, and are alkaline rather than acidic.
soil pH In excessively acidic soils, lavenders won’t survive for very long. The optimal soil pH for lavender is between 6.5 and 7.5, which implies that while it will tolerate a little amount of mild acidity, it actually prefers neutral or slightly alkaline soil.
This is a reflection of the soil characteristics that lavenders natively inhabit along Europe’s Mediterranean coast.
It’s crucial to determine your garden’s soil pH if you want to grow lavender that lasts for many years. If the pH of the soil is less than 6.5, you will need to add garden lime or wood ash to the soil to elevate the pH to neutral or alkaline, which is necessary for lavender growth.
Water Infrequently and No Fertilizer for Healthy Lavender
Lavenders are a relatively low maintenance shrub that prefers neglect to care once the appropriate circumstances are in place. Overwatering is the most frequent cause of lavenders not living as long as they should.
In Southern Europe’s dry Mediterranean region, where it rains infrequently, especially in the spring and summer, lavender plants have evolved to survive.
You should strive to mimic the watering conditions as closely as you can to ensure lavender survives as long as possible. Lavender plants that have been established won’t require water unless it is really hot outside and there hasn’t been any significant rainfall in the past two weeks. Lavenders are quite tolerant of heat and can survive drought-like circumstances rather readily, even if there hasn’t been any rain for a two-week period.
Because pots tend to dry out more quickly, lavenders in containers will need to be watered once every two weeks. However, keep in mind that lavenders prefer dry soil to wet soil, so check the moisture level of the soil with your fingertips. Skip watering for a few days if the soil is still very damp.
During their winter dormancy, lavender plants typically don’t require any water at all and may easily get enough moisture on their own.
For winter protection, lavender brought indoors needs to be watered once every four weeks.
For best longevity, lavender plants should be planted in low- to medium-fertility soil. They are accustomed to growing in soils that are sandy or gravelly by nature. The amount of nutrients that sand and gravel add to the soil is very minimal.
Contrary to popular belief, lavender thrives in these unfavorable low fertility environments. Lavender’s lifespan will be drastically shortened if it is planted in higher fertility soil that is rich in organic matter or if it is routinely fed.
When lavender is grown in soils rich in nutrients, it will wilt-like and turn yellow (an indication of too much nitrogen).
(If your lavender has experienced this, read my guide for more details on how to address the issue.)
Because they have adapted to grow in soil with decreased fertility, established lavender plants do not require any further feeding. Fertilizing lavender is likely to result in excessive development of foliage, a lack of blooms, and a shorter life span for the plant.
Sunshine for Lavender Longevity
For lavender to thrive and live as long as possible, it needs full sun. Don’t skimp on sunshine if you want your lavender to reach its maximum potential in terms of growth, scent, oils, blooms, and longevity.
During the growing season, lavender may survive with 6 hours of sunlight per day, but the fewer hours of sunlight they receive, the fewer blooms they will produce.
Lavender cannot survive in complete shade and cannot endure partial shade for very long.
If they are to survive for their maximum lifespan of 10-15 years, lavender plants require full sun.
Prune Lavenders Regularly for Longevity
However, if you want a lavender to live as long as possible, you should ideally prune it twice a year with the aim of achieving a mound shape in appearance in order to avoid weather damage. Lavenders thrive on neglect in terms of hydration and fertilizer.
It is essential that you just trim the top third of the plant’s softer, more flexible green growth and avoid going all the way down to the plant’s brown wood at the base.
Lavender’s woody root does not regenerate after being cut, and moisture damage and the weight of winter snow are much more likely to cause it harm.
Throughout the life of the plant, the wood continues to develop. Similar to how pollarding a tree annually will improve its longevity, regular pruning slows down the growth of wood and lengthens the life of the plant.
Read my post on the significance of trimming lavender to reduce the rate of woody growth for more details on this subject.
- If properly looked for and grown, English lavenders can live up to 15 years.
- Even with proper care, French lavenders often only live for 5 years.
- When lavender is grown under conditions that resemble part of its natural Mediterranean habitat, it is at its healthiest and blooms the best.
- Lavender prefers soils that are sandy or chalky, alkaline, low fertility, and quickly drain.
- Whether or not lavender plants are put in direct sunlight is one of the most important elements affecting their longevity. Lavender plants will be healthier and able to produce more blooms and oil when they are exposed to more sunlight.
- Lack of fertilizer and watering are ideal conditions for lavender growth. Lavender plants that have been established just need watering during dry spells; no feeding is necessary.
How long does lavender stay in bloom?
Do you deadhead lavender to keep it blooming?
Deadheading them as soon as possible in August will allow them to bloom again in September, substantially prolonging the lavender flowering season and giving grateful bees and butterflies extra nectar and pollen.
How do you keep a lavender plant blooming?
Plant lavender in full sun, in sandy soil, then cut it in the spring to encourage new growth that will sustain more blossoms. Lavender plants can become stressed from excessive watering and fertilizer application, which results in fewer blooms.
Do lavender plants bloom more than once?
The most popular variety, English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), is hardy to USDA Zone 5. There are countless variants in a wide range of sizes and hues, including white, pink, blue violet, and various shades of purple. It frequently has two blooms in one season. Laudanums (L.