How to Grow And Care For Lavender in Pots and Containers

Pots for lavender are made of an easily draining, gritty mix comprised of 70 percent compost and 30 percent horticultural Sand or grit. Plant lavender in pots that measure 12 inches in diameter in full sunlight and keep it watered every 14 days, with regular watering to ensure that the excess water drips off the bottom in the container.

Table of reference on how to take care of lavenders in containers and pots:

Learn the best ways to grow lavender in containers and pots, to ensure they will give the best scent as well as the largest flowers. Also, you will be able to discover the most effective methods of care so that the lavender is able to survive winter…

Choosing a Lavender for Pots and Containers

All lavender plants thrive in containers and pots because of the ideal drainage conditions, but there are certain cultivars of lavender which are better suited for being grown in pots than others.

My personal favorite lavender I would recommend growing in pots is those of the English lavenders ( Lavandula angustifolia):

  • ‘Hidcote’
  • ‘Munstead’

Both are English lavenders, which means they can withstand colder temperatures (cold tough up to USDA zone 5) which means the pot is able to be kept outside all year long.

Hidcote and Munstead lavenders also possess the most exquisite scent of all lavenders. They also show beautiful blooms during the summer months.

They are also a small size, averaging around twelve inches (with annual pruning) so they can increase in size to a point that is great for pots, without the need to repotte them as frequently, as is the case with more invasive kinds that are available (such as Vera) that can reach three feet wide and therefore is better suited for growing in garden boards.

Another great option for pots are the many kinds that are available of French as well as Spanish lavenders, with well-known varieties like:

  • Bandera pink
  • ‘Anouk’

The lavenders are a nice size and do not take over the pot. They can bloom for as long as 3 months if you have the proper conditions. However, the scent is not as strong as the English variety of lavender.

lavender with love heart

It is important to note that they aren’t as hardy to cold as English lavenders, and the pots must be kept inside to provide Winter protection since they could be killed by a heavy frost.

English lavender can also live for up to fifteen years and more if they are given proper care, whereas French lavenders typically end up dying after five years, even in the best conditions.

(Read my article on what time and how will lavender bloom for how long?)

Best Pots and Containers for Growing Lavender

The most suitable pots to grow lavender are clay, ceramic or terracotta pots since they don’t emit the same amount of heat as metal and plastic pots. They also tend to be a bit thicker , which makes them more resistant to frost damage during Winter. Terracotta, clay, and ceramic are also porous, which helps to dry the soil evenly, preventing root decay.

Lavenders are Mediterranean plants that thrive in a sand-like, well draining soils and require that the soil dry between periods of watering.

The clay pots, ceramic and terracotta can dry the soil more evenly due to their porous restrictions, but don’t heat up so quickly in full sun. They also shield the lavender’s sensitive roots from cold during colder temperatures, which is crucial since some varieties of lavender do not take to freezing temperatures.

Pick a container or pot for your lavender that measures approximately 12 inches wide and has the same depth.

The size of this pot can hold enough soil to act as an protection from frost for roots that are sensitive to cold and gives the roots room to grow properly and access water and nutrients.

Make sure the container or pot has drainage holes at the base so that excess water can be able to escape after watering, to avoid root decay.

If the lavender you plant is located on a patio, I suggest putting the pot on a foot to raise it about an inch above the ground. This allows water to flow easily out of the base, without getting soaked underneath.

It is important to note that lavender should be grown in full sun . If the pot is smaller than 12 inches in diameter, the smaller pot that has less soil will get hot and dry out too fast for the perennially drought-tolerant lavender’s roots to absorb any moisture.

(Read my article on selecting the ideal pot to grow lavender for some examples).

How Often to Water Lavender in Pots

Pots of lavender that are established in water and containers every two weeks in the spring and summer by giving them a good irrigation. Potted lavender that is established doesn’t require any extra watering during the fall and winter. The newly planted lavender plants should be watered each week for the first year following the planting.

Lavenders are drought-resistant plants which have adjusted to the dry and hot Mediterranean area of Europe. They do not need regular watering like the majority of potted plants since they thrive even in the hottestand most dreary seasons during the summer.

The process of watering the soil with a well-drained soil and letting the soil dry over two weeks mimics the normal cycle of rain and then a time of drought that lavenders usually experience in their natural habitat.

If you have experienced significant rain or several overcast days, then you should hold off watering until the soil is dry.

Lavenders (as as with other Mediterranean plants) are extremely sensitive to excessive watering. if you water your potted lavender frequently, it can cause roots rot, which transforms the lavender into a brown and causes it to turn brown and fade away.

So if you are unsure the need to water your lavender pot you can delay watering for several days until you’re sure that your soil is dry. the chance to dry out.

(Read my article on what is the best time should you wash lavender to get the entire guide).

How To Water Lavender in Pots

The lavender should be given a large amount of water to ensure that the excess water flows out of the drainage holes to the bottom of the planter. This helps the roots expand further into the earth in order to gain access to the water, which improves the resistance of lavender to drought.

If you water your lavender in a way that is too light, just the upper inch or two of the soil that you are potting is moist, which results in the roots growing close to the surface. This can make lavender more susceptible to stress from drought.

A good soak of water to ensure that water is able to emerge from the holes at the bottom of the pot will ensure that it is moist, so that roots have access to the water they need.

Always water the at the soil’s level, instead of over-watering. If you water over the top, this could create a humid microclimate surrounding the plant, which increases the chance for fungal diseases that causes the foliage to turn gray.

Watering Newly Planted Lavenders

The only time that lavender is susceptible to drought is when it’s newly planted because the roots require time to grow and absorb water more efficiently.

The ideal moment to start planting lavender in pots during the spring, as the lavender will have time for the roots to grow prior to the intense summer sun and heat, but they can be successfully planted anytime throughout the Summer and Spring seasons.

The lavender plants you have just planted should be watered with a regular soak every week from Spring through the summer months and through to fall. The watering of newly planted lavenders by giving them an adequate soak every week encourages the roots of the lavender to grow and it will be more resilient to drought as it grows.

It is important to emphasize that it is important to plant in the lavender in pots that are 12 inches in diameter and prefer clay, ceramic or terracotta container because smaller pots may dry out too fast for newly planted lavender. Also, the clay ceramic, terracotta or ceramic materials are evenly dried out because of their porous nature that helps achieve the ideal level of moisture needed to allow potted lavenders to flourish.

If you plant lavender in pots during Summer, it is more likely to see water in bright sunlight and temperatures that are high, and then you will notice that some of them begin to drop.

Potting Soil for Lavenders in Pots and Containers

The most suitable potting soil to plant lavender plants is a mixture comprising 70% compost and 30 percent horticultural sand, or grit. The combination of sand and compost recreates the soil texture of the native lavender environment and a porous, light soil structure that permits adequate drainage and effective root respiration.

Lavenders are native to regions like Spain, France and Italy which have soils that have a high organic content , with a lot of organic matter and grit.

The primary feature that lavender pot soil has is that it will permit adequate drainage around the lavender’s roots since damp soil creates the conditions that cause fungal disease pathogens like the root decay that can be one of the main and frequent cause of lavender dying.

Pots naturally have better drainage conditions than the soil of garden boarders They are therefore an ideal way to plant lavenders. However, in areas with higher humidity or more rainfall, the quicker the drainage, the more efficient.

This could mean as much as 50 percent compost and 50 percent mixed horticultural sand or mix could be required to counteract the effects of more rain, that can make the soil too wet for lavender to withstand. Mix the compost and the sand into the pot until they are evenly dispersed.

Check out the video I made that demonstrates how to make the ideal potting mix for lavenders:

A lot of grit is better than not enough, so make sure you have plenty of it when making your lavender mix of potting soil.

The lavenders also require low to medium fertility soils as the nutrient-rich soils can cause lavenders to develop many leaves without flowers.

A high intake of nutrition (particularly nitrogen) can also reduce the amount of essential oils within the leaves, which diminishes the intensity of the distinctive scent of lavender.

Lavender has been specially adapted to being grown in soils with poor drainage and thrive in the conditions.

The sand, or horticultural grit in the potting mix don’t provide much nutrition to soil, which helps to restore the soil’s lower fertility conditions of the native lavender habitat, where they thrive.

(Read my article on the best way to bring back the flowering lavender that is dying).

Does Potted Lavender Require Fertilizer?

The lavender plant has adapted to grow in soils that have a high amount of sand or grit which is fertile. It is in these soils that lavender flourishes.

The addition of fertilizer goes against the ideal conditions to which the lavender has adjusted and could cause harm to the lavender.

When you add fertilizer, lavender shows less flowers, and the amount of essential oils within lavender leaves (which is the reason for the scent) is significantly less.

The lavender also becomes droopy and is more prone to disease and pests when there is a lot of nitrogen in the soil.

To make the most of your lavender plant try to recreate the low fertility conditions that it has in its native Mediterranean area by making use of a potting mix that contains at least 30% of horticultural sand or grit. This will encourage flowering. Also, do not use any fertilizer since it can cause harm to the flowering lavender.

Pruning Lavender in Pots

All varieties of lavender require a regular pruning in order to extend their lifespan and keep them from appearing leggy. Prune the upper third the lavenders’ growth in either the spring or in the fall. back. Try to get a round compact form to help keep the weather at bay and ensure that the lavender blooms are evenly displayed.

The flowers of lavender only appear when it is growing new, that is why I personally suggest pruning your lavender early in the Spring, typically in March or April.

Pruning in spring helps encourage lots of new growth, from which additional flowers could be showcased.

I’ve personally tried pruning in spring and fall and have generally seen more blooms on the lavender I trim in the spring due to the fresh growth, as well as an increased scent.

Prune the top third of the lavender’s development each year to avoid the lavender from becoming leggy. when it becomes excessively swollen and droopy, it has less flowers and doesn’t last for as long.

Do not cut into the more woody portion of the lavender closer to the base, as the older wood will not regenerate.

Check out this YouTube video for an illustrated guide to pruning potted lavenders:

If you don’t prune the lavenders every year, they become droopy with less flowers and don’t last as long.

Find Potted Lavender within the 6 hours of Sun

Place your lavender pot in a location that receives full sunshine. The lavender plant is specially adapted to developing within six hours or more of intense sunlight within the Mediterranean. The more sunlight an individual lavender gets, the more intense the scent of the leaves. The lavenders don’t thrive in the shade.

Lavender is a plant that thrives in open spaces and can withstand scorching sunshine throughout the South of France which is the region where the majority of commercial lavender is produced.

The scent of lavender is the strongest and blooms the most in bright, sunny weather. the hottest and dry seasons producing the highest amount of essential oils needed for the commercial lavender business.

If your lavender is in too much shade , it will become sloppy and have less blooms as well as less scent. Locate the most sunny area of your patio or garden to find your lavender pot.

(Read my article, why lavender isn’t flowering?)

How to Increase Lavender Flowers

To increase the amount of lavender flowers, plant them in low fertility, well draining, granular pot mix and then place your lavender in an area that receives the most sun you can get. The lavender flowers appear on the growing plants, so cut back lavender in the beginning of spring to encourage the growth of new plants, which will show more flowers.

Lavenders bloom the most and emit the most intense scent in the most hot, sunniest and dry seasons in the indigenous Mediterranean range.

While you don’t need an Mediterranean climate to cultivate lavenders that show a lot of flowers, you will have to mimic the ideal conditions.

  • Plant your lavender pot in the sunniest area in your garden. The lavenders require at least 6 hours of sunshine or more to get the best bloom, fragrance and flowering.
  • The lavenders should be planted in the soil mix (at minimum 30 percent grit or sand by volume). This helps balance the soil fertility to replicate the normal fertile soil of lavender’s native habitat, which encourages blooming. When the mix is enhanced with nutrients, the lavender will produce less flowers, and the essential oils (which are the reason for the scent) are not as concentrated, so the lavender doesn’t smell as powerful.
  • Pruning lavender in spring. Lavender flowers on new growth, and pruning in the springtime encourages lots of new growth, which boosts the flowering.

The blooms of lavender are more prominent in the years with higher temperatures and sunshine, which is out of the control of a gardener. But a good tip I learned from the commercial growers of lavender is to put a white stone mulch in the area around your lavender , or put it in a spot of your garden that absorbs lots of sunlight (such for a terrace that has lighter colored slabs).

This helps reflect more light onto the lavender plant, consequently increasing its intensity and enhancing the blooming and scent. The increased light and heat aids in promoting evaporation the foliage, which decreases the chance of developing fungal diseases.

(For additional tips for blooming check out my article on how to boost the number of lavender flowers).

What is the date for Lavender Flower?

English lavenders bloom in the middle of June. They are adorned with beautiful blue flowers that last around a month or so.

While English lavenders don’t flower longer than French lavenders however, they are cold-hardy, last for a 15 or more years and have a more delicate scent and are popular varieties like ‘ Hidcote‘ as well as ‘ Munstead which are smaller in size, which makes them perfect for containers and pots.

French lavender flowers last much longer, and it can bloom for three months in the Mediterranean climate, but the scent is not as strong.

Hybrid lavenders like ‘ Grosso is able to bloom for about 2 months beginning in July or June and emit a strong scent, however they can grow quite large , and may require regular repotting.

Potted Lavender Care in Winter

How to take care of your lavender plant in winter is dependent on the particular lavender species because of their different ability to withstand cold temperatures.

English lavenders are kept outside during Winter at a bright spot and are able to withstand frigid temperatures, provided they are planted in a well draining pot mix. French lavenders are not tolerant of freezing temperatures or frost, so the pot must be moved indoors prior to when the frosty first day of winter.

English lavenders as well as some hybrid lavenders like ‘ Grosso‘ are the only varieties of lavender that are able to withstand snow and cold so long as the soil drains well.

But it is vital to trim your lavender plants every year as the leggy ones have more potential to break into pieces or be damaged by the pressure of snow, whereas smaller lavenders can withstand weather better.

Do not water your lavender in Winter because this is the time of year at when lavender is most at chance of developing root rot, which is common in damp cold soils.

This is a reminder of the importance of proper drainage and a compact potting mix that allows excess moisture to drain from the roots effectively.

If you live located in an extremely cold climate, planting lavenders in larger containers or pots is usually the best option as larger pots will have a higher capacity for soil, which serves as an insulate for roots that are sensitive to cold in winter and increases the longevity of lavender plants.

In colder climates, bring your French lavenders in pots in Winter and place them in a bright window.

It is best to place them in an area that is heated and keeps the temperature at or above freezing , and where the lavender will get as much sunlight as is possible.

The lavender in your home should be watered once every 4-6 weeks , followed by regular watering in Winter to ensure that the lavender is maintained until the beginning of Spring.

Personally, I would recommend planting English lavenders inside pots when in colder climates since they are easier to care for, especially when you don’t have enough space to bring pots inside in winter.

(For the most effective methods, read my article about taking care of lavender during winter. There is also a particular article about taking care of French lavenders that require more attention and care during winter than other lavenders).

Key Takeaways

  • The lavender varieties ‘ Hidcote as well as ‘ Munstead‘ are the most suitable varieties of lavender to grow in pots. The lavender varieties ‘ Hidcote as well as ‘ Munstead‘ are both cold-hardy, and can be planted outdoors throughout winter long, producing lots of flowers that smell wonderful and remain in small in size, which is proportional to the container or pot.
  • Terracotta, clay and ceramic pots are the ideal pots for lavenders since they’re porous, which allows the soil dry out equally. Pick a pot that’s minimum 12 inches wide to ensure that the pot is large enough to hold the soil to protect the lavender roots during winter.
  • Lavender is a drought-resistant plant that is best watered after the soil is dry surrounding the root. Make sure to water lavender thoroughly, so that the excess water drips off the bottom of the pot, then wait until the soil is dry prior to repeating the watering.
  • The lavender you plant should be watered every week during the first year to encourage good root growth Then water every two weeks following a year after it is established. Don’t water pots for outdoor lavender during winter or fall because they get all the moisture they need from the surrounding environment.
  • The lavender plant can be planted in a potting mix made of 70 percent compost, and the rest is horticultural grit , or sand. The grit-based potting mix will ensure that the soil is porous, aerated and porous structure that permits good drainage and mimics the low fertility soil conditions found in the native lavender habitat.
  • Plant your lavender pots in a spot that receives full sun (at minimum six hours, or longer). The more sunlight your lavender gets, the more flowers it will show and the more intense the scent emanating from the foliage. Lavender is not a good plant in shade.
  • Potted lavender doesn’t require any fertilizer. The lavenders are adapted to the grit soil with low fertility in their natural Mediterranean environment , where they thrive. Fertilizers cause lavender to show less flowers, reduces the scent and makes them look droopy.
  • Pruning lavender is best done in the spring or in the late Autumn after the flowering. Pruning lavender every year will prevent the appearance of a leggy plant and extend the life of the plant. Cut back the top third of the growth of the lavender to a compact, rounded shape to encourage flowering.
  • English lavender flowers bloom in June/July, and they last about a month. French lavenders bloom in May and can last for around 3 months under the right conditions. English lavenders are more fragrant than French Lavenders.
  • English lavenders are hardy to cold and can be grown outdoors in pots throughout the year, while French lavenders are sensitive to cold and will die back because of frost and temperatures that freeze. Bring French lavender indoors before Winter. Don’t water your outside lavenders in winter However, you can water your indoor lavenders every 4-6 weeks.

 

Stephanie

Stephanie

Went from a bad gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)