Posted by Wayne Robinson
Lavender

Today, Lavender is mostly recognised as a bee-friendly garden shrub than as a herb. Lavender fits in any garden situation but it will not tolerate wet boggy soil conditions.

This plant is a wonderful aromatic sensory shrub with grey-green pinnate leaves along slim flower stems with spikes of mauve flowers. Not only is it a bee-friendly mediterranean herb plant, the flowers are used in culinary dishes but Lavender is best known for its health benefits of smoothing oils and dried flower little pillows.

How, Where & When

Start the seeds indoors Feb-Apr and place the seed tray on a heat mat or in a warm location, ideally 15-20C so that your lavender seeds germinate in about 14 days. Rather than a traditional potting mix, use a very light mix or fine vermiculite that drains very quickly. The seedlings will germinate in about two weeks and will take a while to look like lavender. Make sure that the lavender seedlings get sufficient water, but do not let them stay damp, and place them in full sunlight for maximum health.

Alternatively

Sow direct where they are to flower in early autumn. Sow in shallow drills of 3mm or sow in small pots that should be kept a sheltered position like a cold frame until the following spring. Germination takes place following spring, when conditions are favourable. Lavender prefers moisture retentive soil to germinate in but as the plant gets older will require slightly poor free draining soil and positioned in full sun.

Distance

Final planting distance the following spring should be kept at 30cm between plants.

Regular Care

A low maintenance plant that requires little attention and it will appreciate a gentle prune once the flowers have faded by late summer.

Harvest

Harvest the stems when the flowers have just started to open in early summer.