Three ‘biggest’ lavender plant mistakes to avoid – ‘essential for vigorous growth’

Gardening tips: Expert on how to grow lavender at home

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Gardeners can bring the summer into their garden or onto balconies with the purple flowers and delicate fragrance of lavender. Although the shrubs are quite undemanding overall, gardeners should watch out for a few little – but important – points when planting and caring for them. A gardening expert has shared three of the “biggest mistakes” when it comes to caring for these plants so gardeners can enjoy luxuriant growing and rich flowering of lavender for many years.

Gardening expert Kathrin Brunner at myGarden.com explained: “For Lavender to grow healthily and flower richly, there are three biggest mistakes you need to avoid when planting and caring for it.”

One of the first mistakes the gardening pro listed was pruning lavender incorrectly or not at all.

Lavender plants need to be pruned to keep them from growing out of control and to encourage new growth.

Kathrin said: “If you neglect this point or even allow the semi-shrub to grow for years untouched, you will notice that your plant grows bare from the bottom and ultimately falls apart – this also applies to lavender in a pot. 

“Once it has aged, pruning will do little to rectify this mistake. New shoots will only sprout sparsely from woody branches and the flowerage will also diminish. 

“So correct pruning is essential for vigorous, compact growth and a luxuriant pile.”

The expert advised gardeners to “lightly prune back” their lavender consistently after flowering, towards the end of August, by shortening all the shoots by about “one third” with the help of a hedge trimmer. 

In spring Kathrin suggested: “As soon as it is warm enough in the spring and no more permafrost is expected, cut back the semi-shrub by about two thirds on hand-height shoots. 

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“Always make sure that you leave a little bit of the leaved shoots and do not cut into the wood – lavender does not usually grow shoots again from leafless branches that are a few years old.”

The second mistake is planting lavender in an incorrect location and in the wrong type of soil.

There are a few things you can do wrong even when planting Lavender, for example, the Mediterranean plant doesn’t like shady places at all. 

However, it “thrives” in warm locations in full sunlight, protected from wind and drafts, says the expert.

She said: “The soil must be low in nutrients and very permeable, as lavender has an extremely sensitive reaction to excess moisture. 

“While dryness is not a problem, they whither when waterlogged, a drainage layer in the planting hole or flower pot combats this. 

“If the soil is too wet and has too many nutrients, this can also lead to plants being more sensitive to frost.”

The final mistake gardeners should avoid when growing lavender is fertilising them incorrectly. 

Fertilising lavender too heavily may cause it to grow excess foliage and never flower (particularly if the fertiliser for lavender is rich in nitrogen) or it may flat out kill it.

Kathrin said: “If you believe you are doing your lavender plant a favour with fertiliser, you are mistaken. 

“Quite the opposite. Too much fertiliser makes the plants grow excessively, i.e. with unnatural luxuriance, and become lazy-flowerers that ultimately lose their stability.

“So you should avoid giving any fertiliser or compost both to lavender in the garden and to plants on the balcony and patio.”

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