Lavender Hidcote (Lavandula Angustifolia), is an English lavender. It is known for its strength, fragrance and ability to withstand the cold winters. Hidcote is a popular choice for commercial growers as well as gardeners due to its low maintenance. It is often used as a decorative hedge.
Here’s a quick overview of the care and growing requirements for lavender hidcote.
Continue reading to find out where to plant Hidcote and how to water it.
Where can I plant
Hidcote lavenders can tolerate frosty winters and snow, and are suitable for growing in hot climates like California and Southern Europe.
Hidcote can be grown in cooler climates that have high amounts of rainfall. However, it needs full sun for at least 6 hours per day.
The more sunlight the has, the stronger the fragrance from the foliage.
Lavenders are found in coastal Europe. They prefer breezy conditions and good airflow between their leaves, which help to reduce the risk of fungal diseases.
Hidcote is not able to tolerate humid climates. They will most likely contract fungal disease in such conditions and may not survive long.
are the only species that can survive in cold winters. French lavenders cannot withstand cold temperatures. Hidcote can tolerate freezing temperatures in the Winter and live for up to 15 years.
(Read more about the differences between English and French Lavender).
However, in areas with high precipitation or cold winters, it is important to have good soil drainage. Lavender does not like soil that retains moisture around its roots.
Continue reading to learn how to make soil suitable for lavenders.
When To Plant
The best time to plant is in the Early Spring and Early Fall, although it is possible to successfully plant in Summer.
The soil in the fall is warm enough to hold some moisture, but not so hot that the daily temperatures rise as much as in Summer. This reduces the likelihood of the lavenders drying out.
While lavenders prefer dry conditions, they are susceptible to drought if their roots have not yet fully established. (To learn more about how to water lavender after it has been planted, see my article How often does lavender need watering? )
Hidcote will have also finished flowering in Fall, so the bloom won’t be affected. There is plenty of time for the plant and soil to adjust to new conditions before it blooms in Spring.
Hidcote is also a hardy perennial that can be planted in Spring and Summer. However, if the plants bloom before you plant them, the number of flowers will be reduced.
For more information read my article for transplanting lavender successfully.
How Far Away to Plant and Hedging
Lavender Hidcote can be grown in pots, containers, garden borders or as a decorative hedge.
There are two key factors to consider when deciding how far to plant lavender Hidcote.
- To provide airflow around the foliage. (This helps to reduce the risk of fungal disease)
- To plant them far enough apart so that they don’t cast shade on one another and limit each plants growth or compete with one another for water and nutrients (lavenders require full sun).
Hidcote should be planted 2-3ft . Lavenders can be planted closer to windy and airflow locations, although it is best to plant them at least 2 feet apart.
Lavenders thrive in humid areas, and grow best in coastal windy areas.
With the right conditions (sun, low-medium fertility soil, infrequent watering) Hidcote will grow to a width of around 20 inches which is just over one and a half feet.
If you want to plant Hidcote as decorative hedging, then place the lavenders at least 2 feet apart. They will grow into a smart hedge (within a year or so) and become neat and uniform.
The hedge will be 2 feet tall to ensure that each plant has enough space for its root system to develop, without having to compete with the neighbor. It will also look stunning.
Hidcote, a very good variety for hedge-growing is
- A hardy resilient plant that survives frost and cold Winters.
- It has a much longer life span then most lavenders and can be easily propagated to replace plants that become damaged or die.
Lavender thrives in higher humidity climates so choose a location with good airflow or place it in a container.
Planting in containers or pots can allow for more airflow than is typical in garden boardsers. This will help to prevent fungal diseases caused by high levels of humidity.
Lavender Hidcote flowers are available in Spring and early Summer, usually in May or Juni. The flowers last approximately 4 weeks.
There are many things you can do in order to ensure that your lavender flowers display well.
Hidcote is not as prolific as French lavenders but the scent from the flowers and leaves is stronger and more sweeter than French lavenders. Commercial lavender growers prize Hidcote varieties for their oil and scent.
The flowers are very popular with bees, and can add a lot of benefit to your garden ecosystem.
Watering Lavender Hidcote
Lavender Hidcote has become a very popular variety due to its low maintenance, which includes drought resistance and heat tolerance in full sunlight.
Lavenders are a native species in the dry, arid region in Southern Europe. They thrive in low rainfall and sandy soils that drain well and don’t retain much water.
Gardeners should recreate these conditions in order for Hidcote’s success.
- Established lavender Hidcote plants only require watering once every two weeks in the growing season, if there has been no significant rainfall.
- In cool temperate climates Hidcote tends to attain enough water from rainfall and may only require watering in particular hot and dry periods of weather.
- Lavender that has just been planted requires the most attention. You should water frequently until the roots are established in their new home. After the first month, water once per three days. Then reduce the frequency to once per week (in arid areas) or twice per week (in cooler regions).
- How much water? Water lavender with plenty of water. This encourages roots to grow and establish in soil. It can also increase drought resistance in summer.
Remember that Lavender Hidcote can withstand drought so gardeners will have more trouble overwatering than underwatering.
If you water too often, the fungal disease rootrot can cause the lavender to droop. (To learn about all the signs of an over watered lavender and for the solution, read my article, why is my lavender drooping? )
To avoid overwatering problems, amend the soil with horticultural earth sand to improve drainage.
If the soil drains well and holds water, the likelihood of lavender root rot from overwatering or excessive rainfall is lower.
Soil Mix & Planting
If it is planted in the right conditions, lavender hidcote can be low-maintenance. The soil characteristics are one of the most important factors.
To grow Hidcote with success, it is necessary to recreate the lavender preferred soil conditions that they were adapted to in the coastal regions South Europe.
Lavender needs soil that is
- Well draining and sandy so it does not hold onto moisture
- Low to medium fertility
- Aerated, with a porous structure rather then compacted
- A soil pH of between 6.5 to 8 with alkaline soils considered ideal.
If you have naturally sandy loam, chalky or loam soil in your garden, then you may not need to amend it at all. You can plant Hidcote directly in the ground.
All lavender species will not thrive in slow-draining soil that is too acidic, dense or high in clay.
To amend the soil to plant Hidcote, I recommend digging a hole that is at least twice the size of the root ball. Re-distribute the soil in the garden to make Hidcote easier to plant. Fill the area with 1/3 compost and 1/3 sand, grit.
Most soils can be enriched with sand. This will improve drainage and balance fertility, making it suitable for growing lavenders.
I recommend adding grit to soil containing clay. Sand and clay can create a cement-like structure if they are mixed together. The soil structure is important for water drainage.
In soils that are acidic or heavy clay, I recommend planting lavender in raised beds or pots that have full control over the soil profile. It can be difficult to amend garden soil that is not the desired conditions.
To learn more read my article on the optimal soil mix for growing lavenders.
It is important to prune lavenders every year. This will help increase their longevity and encourage new growth that supports the flowers.
Lavender can be made into a neat mound shape by running it. This will help them resist weather effects like snow and ice. (Hidcote can tolerate winters and is cold-hardy).
Lavenders that aren’t pruned each year will produce far fewer flowers and become leggy.
Best time for pruning?
Lavenders can be pruned at the beginning of spring (March/April) and in the fall.
I recommend that English lavenders, such as hidcote, be pruned in the spring to encourage healthy new growth and flowering.
Hidcote flowers May or June. If you prune your lavender in March or April, it will stimulate lots more growth. The lavender can then display many flowers.
I have had much better results when pruning English lavenders in Spring than in Fall. French lavenders prefer Fall pruning because of their earlier flowering times.
How to prune?
Cut the top 2/3 of the flexible growth (but not the base woody growth) off the lavender to create a mound-like shape.
This YouTube video shows you how to prune English Lavenders.
Hidcote can tolerate cold Winters, with snow, frost and temperatures as low as -15degC (5degF) on occasion so there is not much that the plant requires in terms of maintenance, however there are some best practices:
- Pruning the lavender into a mound shape helps the plant resist weather. The lavender’s woody base is quite weak. Lavender that has not been cut for a while tends to accumulate more snow, which can cause the plant to break down at its base.
- Remove leaf litter and any other organic matter that may have accumulated around the lavender in the fall, as this can retain moisture and lavender Hidcote prefers dry conditions.
- If Hidcote is planted in pots or containers ensure that the pot is at least 12-16 inches across. This pot can hold enough soil to provide insulation for your lavender roots from cold temperatures.
- Avoid watering the lavender during Winter as the lavender is in a state of dormancy and will attain all the water it requires from the environment.
- Well draining soil is particularly important for lavender in cold climates as Winter is the time when there is most risk of disease. Amend the soil with around 30% sand and ensure the soil drains very sharply.
Avoid using Fertilizer
Hidcote, like all lavenders prefers sandy soil with low to moderate nutrients. Adding fertilizer will promote the foliage to grow but with fewer flowers.
The foliage may even turn yellow as a sign of stress due to too much Nitrogen in the soil.
Lavender is most healthy in poor soils. It does not need additional fertilizer, mulching or organic material.
All lavender species have foliage which deer and rabbits avoid. There are very few diseases that can affect lavenders.
However, root rot is the most prevalent problem. This is usually caused by soils that drain slowly or high humidity. Hidcote prefers dry environments that mimic the Mediterranean.
These problems can be easily solved by properly prepping the soil and infrequent watering.
Root rot is characterized by a drooping appearance and brown leaves. Read my article for solutions to lavender turning brown.