All species of lavenders grow well in pots, but there are some things you should consider when choosing the right pot to grow them.
Each of these factors can make a big difference in ensuring that your lavender grows well and produces beautiful flowers and a wonderful fragrance.
Best Size Pot for Growing Lavenders
Lavenders come in a variety of sizes with cultivars such as Hidcote Superior reaching a modest size at maturity of just 16 by 18 inches (40 to 45 cm) , whereas larger cultivars such as Vera can reach sizes of 30 to 36 inches (75 to 90 cm).
However I would recommend that you plant all lavenders in pots that are at least 12- 16 inches across with the same proportional depth regardless of the size of the lavender.
This is because the pot must be large enough to contain enough soil to allow the lavender roots to remain insulated from cold temperatures. It also needs to dry quickly in the sun.
All varieties of lavenders love to grow in pots. Pots drain much faster than soils, and lavenders need to have their roots somewhat dry to avoid rootrot .
However, the pot will raise the roots (compared with lavender grown in the garden) so they are more vulnerable to extreme temperatures.
Lavenders require full sunlight in order to bloom at their best. However, this will increase the rate at the which water evaporates from soil. This is why it is important to have a large pot that can hold soil so it doesn’t dry out as fast as a smaller pot.
Too small pots can cause soil to burn, which is bad for lavender roots.
The soil also acts as insulation during winter for lavender roots. The English lavender species (Lavandula angustifolia) are cold hardy and will tolerate frost but a good sized pot with plenty of soil will help protect roots from the worst of the cold.
This will increase the chances of lavenders surviving winter. It will also help maintain a healthy plant that produces great blooms and scent (read my article for more information on caring to lavenders in winter ).).
Do bear in mind that it is easy to transplant lavender (the best time to do this is early spring) into another pot but I recommend reading my article on how to transplant lavenders successfully for all the best practices.
Good drainage in the Pot
Regardless of the design or make of the pots, it is vital that drainage holes are in the bottom. If there are no drainage holes in the bottom, water will collect and cause the lavender to drown.
It is also important to keep drainage holes as clear and clean as possible. One way to achieve this is to place a 1″ layer of gravel on the bottom of your pot. This will allow excess water to flow freely from the bottom of the pot without being blocked by compacted soil.
Another precaution is to place your pot on little stands or ornamental feet. This will raise the pot from the ground, so that water doesn’t pool at its bottom. It will also allow water to drain away from the roots.
Avoid this error!
Another mistake when potting lavender is to use the wrong type of pot that has drainage holes, but to put the pot in a container or tray to catch any excess water. This is done to prevent water leaking and dry out their patio.
Lavenders love a soak-and-dry style of watering, where they get a generous amount once every two weeks. This helps the roots to grow and makes the plant more resilient to drought.
Water will eventually have to drain from the bottom of the pot. The soil will remain moist if the water is kept in a tray. This will allow it to grow lavenders more efficiently.
Best Material for Lavender Pots
Lavenders can be grown in any type of material. However, some pots are better for lavender growth than others.
I have seen lavenders thrive in metal, wood, plastic, and terracotta-style pots.
However, I found that metal pots and containers and to a lesser extent plastic pots heat up faster in the sun and absorb all heat.
This will heat up the soil and the roots. Lavenders can tolerate being grown in plastic and metal pots because they are drought-resistant plants.
However, if the pot absorbs heat throughout the day, the soil will dry out much faster so be extra careful with watering.
Established lavenders only need watering once every two weeks (unless there has been significant rainfall) during the growing season. If you are using metal or plastic pots you may have to increase this to once every 10 days and check soil moisture regularly.
Watering lavenders can be tricky because they don’t like lots of water. However, the symptoms of overwatered lavender look superficially identical to under-watered lavender. For more information on how to find the right balance, check out my article on how to water lavenders in pots.
My personal favorite pots for growing lavender in pots are ceramic and terracotta. These pots can withstand weather better and are more durable than metal or wood.
Terracotta and ceramic pots are typically thicker than metal pots and planters. They will last longer and resist frost better than plastic pots or planters.
I recommend that you use a large ceramic or terracotta container for lavender growing. However, they are heavier than metal pots or plastic pots.
The Spanish and French varieties of lavender are less cold-hardy than English Lavenders. If you live in an area that experiences winter frosts, you might need to bring them inside.
This can be problematic with heavy ceramic pots. A lighter, more maneuverable plastic pot would be better if you need to move pots indoors or outdoors each year.
English lavenders can be left outdoors all year as they are cold hardy and tolerate frost so you will not need to move the pots every winter.
(Read my article, how to grow lavenders in pots for all the best care practices).
- The best type of pot for growing lavenders is made from ceramic or terracotta and measures 16 inches across. The base must have drainage holes so that the roots of the lavender plants can dry between waterings.
- A good sized pot contains plenty of soil which insulates the lavenders roots in winter and prevents the soil drying out as quickly in the blazing summer sun and heat.
- Lavenders can be grown in metal or plastic pots which are relatively light so they can be moved around much easier. Ceramic pots and terracotta are more resistant to the elements and do not dry as quickly in direct sunlight.
- Avoid using trays that catch water, underneath your pot as persistently moist soil leads to root rot in lavenders.
- Ideally place a layer of gravel over the drainage holes to prevent anything (such as compacted soil) hindering the drainage of excess water.