Lavender Care: How to Grow Lavender in Pots and Containers

Potting Soil for Lavenders in Pots and Containers

30% horticultural sand or grit and 70% compost make up the gritty potting mix that should be used to plant lavender in pots. Grow lavender in a pot that is 12 inches across, place it in full light, and water it thoroughly every 14 days so that extra water drips from the pot’s base.

A guide table for maintaining lavender plants in pots and other containers:

How to Take Care of Lavender in Containers and Pots: Requirements:
Top lavender varieties for pots: In all temperatures, lavender varieties “Hidcote” and “Munstead” thrive in containers and maintain a compact size appropriate to the container.
Pot size Pick a pot that is at least 12 inches wide.
Pot Composition: Pots made of ceramic, clay, and terracotta perform well because of their porous construction.
How frequently to water potted lavender: If there hasn’t been any rain, water once every two weeks in the spring and summer; don’t water outdoor potted lavenders in the fall or winter.
Growing lavender in containers: The best soil structure and drainage conditions for lavender are provided by a mixture of 70% compost and 30% horticultural sand or grit.
Sunlight: For more blossoms and a deeper scent, place potted lavender in full light (at least 6 hours per day).
Fertilizer: Low fertility soils produce the greatest lavender flowers. Avoid using fertilizer.
Lavender Pruning Timing: After flowering, prune either in the early spring or the fall.
Lavender Pruning Techniques: With pruners, remove the top third of the growth, aiming for a compact, rounded shape.
Flowering: In June or July, English lavender blooms for one month. In ideal circumstances, French and Spanish lavender can bloom for around three months starting in May.
Fragrance: Of all the lavender kinds, the English lavenders “Hidcote” and “Munstead” offer the best and most coveted smell.
Warm Hardy: Only English lavenders can withstand freezing conditions and are cold resistant (USDA zone 5). Lavenders from France and Spain should be brought inside during the winter months since they can die in frost.

Continue reading to learn the best methods for care to guarantee the lavender survives the winter and how to grow lavenders in pots and containers so they produce the most flowers and the richest aroma.

Choosing a Lavender for Pots and Containers

Due to the good drainage, all lavender plants thrive in pots and containers. However, some lavender cultivars are better suited to growing in pots than others.

The English lavenders (Lavandula angustifolia) are my preferred variety of lavender and are what I suggest for container gardening:

  • ‘Hidcote’
  • ‘Munstead’

Since both of these lavenders are English varieties, which are cold hardy to USDA zone 5, they can withstand colder temperatures and the pot can stay outside all year.

In addition to having the best smell of any lavender, Hidcote and Munstead lavender also bloom beautifully in the midst of summer.

The larger varieties of lavender, like “Vera,” which can grow 3 feet across and is therefore better suited to growing in garden boarders, can grow to a size that works great in pots without having to repot them too often because they stay a relatively compact size of around 12 inches (with annual pruning).

The majority of French and Spanish lavender varieties, include well-known types like:

  • Borland pink
  • ‘Anouk’

The appropriate conditions allow these lavenders to produce flowers for up to three months while maintaining a reasonable size that doesn’t overwhelm a pot. However, compared to English lavender types, the scent is less overt.

They should be brought indoors for Winter protection as they are not as cold-hardy as English lavenders and can perish in a severe frost.

While French lavender frequently dies after 5 years even in ideal conditions, English lavender can thrive for up to 15 years or longer with proper care.

(Read my essay on the duration and timing of the lavender bloom.)

Best Pots and Containers for Growing Lavender

The ideal pots for growing lavender are made of ceramic, clay, or terracotta since they tend to be thicker and less heat-conductive than plastic and metal pots, which helps them withstand winter frost damage. Because they are porous, ceramic, clay, and terracotta also help the soil to dry uniformly and prevent root rot.

Mediterranean plants called lavenders thrive on stony, well-draining soils and need the soil to dry out in between waterings.

Due to its more porous structure, clay, ceramic, and terracotta pots are able to dry the soil more uniformly, but they also do not heat up as quickly in direct sunlight. In colder weather, they can also better protect the roots of the lavender plants, which is crucial because many lavender species cannot withstand subfreezing temperatures.

Pick a pot or container with a depth that is roughly equal to its width, 12 inches across.

This size pot can hold enough soil to protect the roots from frost and provide protection for their cold-sensitive tissues. It also gives the roots room to grow and access nutrients and hydration.

To avoid root rot, always check the pot or container’s base for drainage holes that will let excess water drain after watering.

If your potted lavender is on a patio, I suggest elevating the pot by a few inches using feet. This will allow water to drain easily from the bottom of the pot without collecting beneath it.

It should be noted that lavender should be cultivated in full sunlight, and if the pot is substantially smaller than 12 inches wide, the soil will heat up and dry out too quickly for the roots of even the drought-tolerant lavender to absorb any moisture.

(For examples, see my article on picking the ideal pot for lavender.)

How To Water Lavender in Pots

Lavender should be given a very thorough soak so that any extra water runs out the pot’s drainage holes. In order to reach the moisture, this pushes the roots to enlarge deeper into the earth, which strengthens the lavender’s tolerance to drought.

Lavender is more susceptible to drought stress if you water it too little, which results in the roots growing close to the surface and moistening only the top inch or two of the potting soil.

To ensure that the soil is evenly saturated and that the roots have access to the moisture they need, water thoroughly until water begins to emerge from the holes in the base of the pot.

Never water above the soil surface; always water at the soil level. If you water your plants from above, you risk creating a damp microclimate that increases the risk of fungus, which causes the leaves to turn gray.

How Often to Water Lavender in Pots

In the Spring and Summer, give established lavender plants in pots and containers a thorough watering every two weeks. In the fall and winter, established potted lavender does not require any more watering. For the first year following planting, give newly planted potted lavenders one week’s worth of water.

In pots and other containers, lavender: Watering a Potted Lavender Plant:
Lavender Plants Just Planted: During the spring and summer, drink water once a week. In the fall or winter, avoid watering.
Long-standing Lavenders: In the Spring and Summer, if there hasn’t been much rain, once every two weeks.
Fall and Winter Potted Lavender: In the winter, lavender seldom ever needs watering since root rot is more likely. In the fall and winter, lavender normally gets all the moisture it needs from the surroundings.

Herbs that can withstand drought and have adapted to the hot, dry climate of the Mediterranean region of Europe include lavender. Because they truly grow in the hottest, driest months of the year, they do not need watering as frequently as most potted plants.

The regular cycle of rainfall followed by a time of drought that lavenders typically encounter in their native environment can be replicated by watering with a really good soak and then letting the soil to dry out over a period of 2 weeks.

Delay watering until the soil has dried if there has been a lot of rain or many cloudy days.

As with all Mediterranean herbs, lavenders are extremely susceptible to overwatering. Therefore, if you water potted lavender too regularly, you’re encouraging root rot, which makes the plant brown and eventually causes it to wilt and die back.

If you’re unsure whether to water your potted lavender, wait a few days before doing so to make sure the soil has had time to dry out.

(For a detailed explanation, see my article on how often to water lavender.)

Watering Newly Planted Lavenders

Lavender is only susceptible to drought when it is initially planted since the roots require some time to grow and become more effective at absorbing moisture.

However, they can be successfully planted at any time between the Spring and Summer. The best time to plant lavenders in pots is in the Spring as the lavender has some time for their roots to form before the more intense Summer sun and heat.

Throughout the Spring, Summer, and into the Fall, give newly planted lavender plants a really good soak once a week. By giving newly planted lavender plants a good bath once a week, you can encourage the development of the plant’s roots, which will make it more drought tolerant as it grows.

It is crucial to plant lavender in pots that are 12 inches across, preferably made of clay, ceramic, or terracotta, as smaller pots can dry out too quickly for newly planted lavender. The porous structure of clay, ceramic, or terracotta also helps these materials dry out evenly, which helps to achieve the ideal moisture balance for potted lavenders to thrive.

Lavender planted in pots in the summer should preferably be watered more frequently as a result of the bright sunlight and high temperatures.

Potting Soil for Lavenders in Pots and Containers

Lavenders are indigenous to areas like Spain, France, and Italy, where they thrive in soils rich in grit and organic matter and high in inorganic content.

The most crucial feature of lavender potting soil is to allow for proper drainage around the roots, as moist soil encourages the growth of pathogens that cause fungal diseases like root rot, which is the most frequent cause of lavender death.

Growing lavenders in pots is an excellent option because they naturally have greater drainage than dirt in garden borders. However, in climates with heavier rainfall or higher humidity, the faster the drainage, the better.

Accordingly, it may be essential to add up to 50% compost and 50% horticultural sand or mix to offset the effects of increased rainfall, which may result in soil that is too wet for lavender to endure. Simply stir the sand and compost in the container to spread them evenly.

Watch the video I made to learn how to make the ideal potting mixture for lavender plants:

When making your lavender potting soil mixture, be generous because too much grit is always preferable to not enough.

Lavenders also need medium to low fertility soil since they grow a lot of foliage but no flowers in nutrient-rich soils.

Additionally, too much nitrogen lowers the concentration of essential oils in the leaves, weakening the potency of lavender’s characteristic perfume.

Lavender has developed a special adaptation for growing in low soils, and it really does well there.

The compost balances out the lack of nutrient-rich sand or horticultural grit in the potting mix to mimic the lower fertility soil conditions of the lavender plants’ natural habitat, where they thrive.

To learn how to save a dying lavender plant, see my post.

Locate Potted Lavender in 6 hours of Sun

Put your potted lavender in a spot that receives direct sunlight. In the Mediterranean, lavender has evolved specifically to grow in conditions of 6 hours or more of bright sunlight. The aroma from a lavender plant’s leaves grows stronger the more sunlight it receives. In the shade, lavender does not do well to thrive.

The majority of commercial lavender is grown in the South of France, where it thrives in open spaces and can withstand intense sunlight.

With the hottest and driest years, the lavender blooms and smells the strongest, producing the maximum concentration of essential oils for the commercial lavender industry.

The lavender will grow leggy, with fewer flowers, and with less smell if it receives too much shadow. Locate your potted lavender in the sunniest part of your patio or garden.

(Read my post to find out why lavender isn’t in bloom.)

Does Potted Lavender Require Fertilizer?

Lavender flourishes on soils that are generally poor in fertility and have a high sand or grit content since it has evolved to grow there.

Additional fertilizer is incompatible with the ideal environments to which lavender has adapted and may even endanger your plant.

Lavender produces fewer blooms and has considerably lower levels of the essential oils that give it its perfume when fertilizer is introduced.

Additionally, when there is too much nitrogen in the soil, lavender develops droopy growth and is much more susceptible to pests and disease.

Use a potting mix that contains at least 30% horticultural sand or grit to encourage flowering and steer clear of fertilizer as this can hurt your lavender to get the most out of your potted lavender by recreating the lower fertility conditions of its native Mediterranean area.

Pruning Lavender in Pots

All varieties of lavender need to be pruned every year to lengthen their lives and keep them from looking scrawny. Either in the early spring or the fall, cut back the top third of the lavender plant’s growth. To assist it better withstand weather and guarantee that the lavender blooms are presented uniformly, aim for a rounded, compact shape.

I personally advise pruning your lavender in the early spring, typically in March or April, since lavender only produces flowers on fresh growth.

Spring pruning encourages lots of new growth, which allows for the presentation of more flowers.

I’ve personally tried pruning in the spring and fall, and I’ve always noticed that the lavender I prune in the spring has more flowers and a stronger scent because of all the new growth.

Every year, prune the top third of the lavender’s growth to keep it from being leggy. Once leggy and out of control, lavender produces fewer blooms and has a shorter lifespan.

Because the older wood at the base of the lavender plant does not regrow, avoid trimming into it.

An instructional video about pruning lavender plants in pots may be found on YouTube:

Lavender plants do not bloom as much and get leggy if you do not prune them annually.

How to Increase Lavender Flowers

Plant your lavender in a low fertility, well-draining, gritty potting mix, and place it as much in the sun as you can to boost the quantity of flowers it produces. Pruning lavender at the beginning of spring will encourage new growth, which will produce more flowers. Lavender blooms on new growth.

In their native Mediterranean zone, lavenders flower most and emit their richest smell during the hottest, sunniest, and driest years.

While a Mediterranean climate is not necessary to produce lavenders with an abundance of blooms, you do need to mimic their optimal environments.

  • Put your potted lavender in your garden’s most sunny location. For the optimum development, aroma, and flowers, lavender plants need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day.
  • Lavenders should be planted in potting soil that has at least 30% sand or grit by volume. In order to replicate the average soil fertility of the lavender’s natural range and to encourage flowering, this balances the compost’s fertility. The lavender produces fewer blooms and has less concentrated essential oils, which are what give the plant its distinctive scent, if the potting soil has been fortified with nutrients.
  • In the spring, prune the lavender. Pruning in the beginning of spring encourages lots of new growth, which improves flowering because lavender blooms on new growth.

In years of greater temperatures and more sunlight, which are out of a gardener’s control, lavender blooms more. But a terrific idea I learned from commercial lavender producers is to mulch your lavender with white stones or plant it in a spot in your garden that reflects a lot of light (such as a patio with light colored slabs).

This causes your lavender to reflect more light, boosting its brightness and promoting flowering and aroma. Increased evaporation from the area around the foliage due to increased light and heat also lowers the danger of fungal illness.

(Read my article on how to increase lavender blooms for further advice on blooming.)

When does Lavender Flower?

Species of lavender: How Soon Will It Bloom? How much time does it flower? favored varieties
Lavenders in English June/July middle. lasts 4 weeks in bloom. Hidcote and Munstead
French lavender plants from May to September. under optimum climates, blooms for up to three months. Regency Splendor ‘Anouk’ and ‘Ballerina’
Blended lavenders June/July lasts up to two months in bloom. “Provence” and “Grosso”

The exquisite blue flowers on English lavenders bloom in the middle of June and stay for about a month.

The popular varieties, such as “Hidcote” and “Munstead,” stay a more compact size, making them ideal for pots and containers, even though English lavender does not bloom for as long as French lavenders do. They are also much more cold hardy, live for 15 years or more, have a finer fragrance, and are much more cold hardy.

In a Mediterranean environment, French lavender can flower for three months and last much longer, but the aroma is weaker.

While hybrid lavenders, like “Grosso,” tend to grow very large and may require repotting more frequently, they can flower for about 2 months starting in June or July and have a powerful aroma.

Potted Lavender Care in Winter

Potted Lavender Care in Winter

If they are in a well-draining potting mix, English lavenders can be left outside in the winter in a sunny area and thrive in below-freezing conditions. Since French lavenders can’t stand the cold, the pot needs to be taken indoors before the first frost of the winter.

The only lavender cultivars that can actually withstand cold and snow are English lavenders and a few hybrids like “Grosso,” provided the soil is well-draining.

A lanky lavender has a higher propensity to break up or become harmed under the weight of snow, whereas compact lavender resists weather much better, therefore it is still vital to prune your potted lavenders annually.

Do not water your lavender throughout the winter as this is when it is most susceptible to root rot, which is common in cold, wet soils.

This emphasizes the significance of adequate drainage and a good potting soil that is grittier to effectively channel excess rainwater away from the roots.

If you live in a region with a very cold environment, planting lavenders in larger pots or containers is frequently preferable since they can hold more soil, which insulates the lavenders’ sensitive roots from the cold during the winter.

Bring your potted French lavenders indoors during the winter in frigid locations and position them in a sunny window.

Locate them ideally in a heated greenhouse where the temperature stays above freezing and the lavender receives the most light.

To keep indoor lavender alive till spring, water it thoroughly once every 4-6 weeks over the winter.

In cold climates, I personally advise planting English lavenders in pots because they are much simpler to care. This is especially true if you don’t have the space to bring the pots inside during the winter.

(Read my article on caring for lavender over the winter for a complete list of best methods. Additionally, I have a specific article on how to take care of French lavenders, which need more care and attention throughout the winter than other varieties of lavender.

Key Takeaways:

  • The best lavender kinds to grow in pots are “Hidcote” and “Munstead.” The lavender varieties “Hidcote” and “Munstead” offer an abundance of fragrant blooms and maintain a compact size that is appropriate for the pot or containers because they are cold hardy.
  • The finest pots for lavenders are made of ceramic, clay, or terracotta since they are porous and let the soil to dry out evenly. To guarantee that the container has the ability for adequate dirt to insulate the roots of the lavender throughout the winter, use a pot that is at least 12 inches across.
  • Lavender is a drought-resistant herb that has to be watered only when the soil surrounding the roots has dried out. Lavender should be watered thoroughly, allowing excess water to drip from the pot’s base. After the soil has dried, lavender should be watered once more.
  • To encourage healthy root development, water newly planted lavender once every week for the first year. Once it has established itself, water once every two weeks after the first year. In the Fall and Winter, avoid watering outdoor potted lavender because they get all the moisture they need from the surroundings.
  • Plant lavender in potting soil that contains 30% horticultural grit or sand and 70% compost. The coarse potting mix replicates the lower fertility soil conditions of the lavender’s natural environment and makes sure the soil has a porous, aerated structure that allows for optimum drainage.
  • Lavender in a pot should be placed in direct sunlight (at least 6 hours or more). Your lavender will produce more flowers and have a greater aroma the more sun it gets. In the shade, lavender does not do well to thrive.
  • Lavender in pots doesn’t need fertilizer. Lavenders thrive in their original Mediterranean climate because they are accustomed to grittier, lower fertility soil. Fertilizer makes lavender produce fewer flowers, loses scent, and becomes languid.
  • After flowering, prune lavender in either the early spring or the late fall. For increased longevity and to avoid a leggy appearance, prune lavender every year. To encourage flowering, prune the lavender’s top third of growth into a compact, rounded form.
  • In June or July, English lavender blossoms, which linger for about a month. French lavender blooms begin in May and, under ideal circumstances, can continue for around three months. French lavenders don’t have as strong of an aroma as English lavenders.
  • French lavender is cold sensitive and dies back in the presence of frost and freezing temperatures, whereas English lavenders are cold hardy and may be kept outdoors in pots all year. Before Winter, bring French lavender inside. Water indoor lavenders once every 4-6 weeks instead of outside lavenders during the winter.

FAQ

Do lavender plants need big pots?

A large pot will allow for this growth since lavender plants can get as big as a small shrub. The container sizes you should look for are 12 to 16 inches. Avoid looking at a pot that has a saucer connected because this will prevent effective draining.

How do you maintain potted lavender?

Place your lavender plants that are growing in containers somewhere that receives full light (at least eight hours per day) and give them minimal water. Between waterings, let the soil dry up, but don’t let it get to the point where the plant starts to wilt. Many types of lavender won’t survive a cold winter since they prefer heat.

Can lavender grow in shallow pots?

Keep in mind that lavender has shallow roots, therefore a tall pot is not necessary. The root system’s average depth and spread are 8 to 10 inches. Success with lavender, whether it is planted in the ground or a pot, depends on excellent drainage.

Can lavender grow in small pots?

Tiny-growing varieties of lavender are best for pots because they maintain a naturally compact and small form. Larger types of lavender can also be grown in containers, but they must either be put in a larger container or relocated to the garden after a few of years.

Does potted lavender come back every year?

A Low-Maintenance Perennial Is Lavender It’s a terrific investment because this beauty will return to your garden every year for roughly three to five years. This is what? However, I want to advise you to always pick plants that flourish in your plant hardiness zone before you make any plant purchases.

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