All varieties of lavenders thrive in pots so they mimic certain conditions that are typical of their natural Mediterranean habitat. Potted lavenders must be located in full sun and well-drained and low to moderate fertility sandy soil, and be in pots with numerous drainage holes in the bottom so that the soil isn’t saturated with water.
If you stick to a couple of rules, potted lavenders can be a low-maintenance, high-reward plant that will give you its unique aroma and stunning flowers for a long time.
The cultivation of lavenders in pots is a an ideal solution for gardens that is not ideal to grow the lavender (such like acidic soils, claysoil, or persistent dampness) because you are able to alter or recreate the conditions to accommodate the lavenders.
Potted lavenders give you total control over their position and the soil’s medium, which means you can move them around or alter them if needed to make the most from the flowers.
Actually, the conditions are usually better in pots than when that planted in the ground, as pots have more drainage and better air circulation, which helps to prevent fungal diseases.
Read on for everything you must know about best pot mix and winter care, the best sizes for pots, how to prune techniques, when to water your plants and the reasons why you shouldn’t add fertilizer to lavender pots.
Soil for Potted Lavenders
The soil should be well-drained, fertile and within a pH range between 6.7 up to 7.5. The ideal pot is filled with 30 percent of sand or grit, and 70% compost in order to create the best structure for porous soil and reduce fertility.
Good Soil Drainage is Essential
Lavenders thrive on clay or rocky soils within their natural Mediterranean range, and provide an excellent drainage.
Lavenders are fond of drainage that is quick because it keeps their roots dry during periods of rain and watering. The lavender’s roots that are dry is vital because they are more prone to root rot when exposed humid soil.
That means that you’ll need amend the soil in the pot using either perlite, grit, or sand in preparation to plant lavenders. The ratio should be around 30 percent grit or sand as well as 70% of potting soil, and blend it all together (any kind of sand or grit would work).
Sand or grit give the perfect soil texture, which lavenders require to ensure their roots are happy and, ultimately, to give them their most beautiful blooms during the summer.
Compost by itself will hold excessive water around the roots, and result in your plant’s lavender beginning to drop in an indication that you are stressed. (If your lavender displays an appearance of wilting or drooping check out my article to find the remedy).
Soil pH for Potted Lavenders
The pH of soil for lavenders is between 6.5 up to 7.5 which means they can thrive in soils ranging with a range of pH from mild acidity to moderate alkalinity. The majority of potting mixes are the pH of neutral (pH 7) which makes them ideal for the cultivation of lavenders, but it is important to check the guidelines of the manufacturer.
This means that you should stay clear of making use of ericaceous potting mixes or feed that is acidic around pH 5.5.
If you’re experiencing mildly acidic potting mix or compost (below the pH of 6.5) then it is possible to alter it with the addition of garden lime (available on Amazon at a reasonable cost) that will provide specific instructions on the amount to add, or sprinkle a few sprigs of wood or ash. Both can raise the soil’s pH towards alkalinity, and, consequently, to an alkaline pH that is that is suitable for lavenders.
Soil Fertility (Why you Shouldn’t Add Fertilizer to Potted Lavenders)
When it comes to lavenders, you need to work hard to recreate the nature-based Mediterranean soil conditions to enjoy the most beautiful flowers and distinct aromas.
The soil within their natural habitat is sandy, and is low to moderately fertile. The lavenders prefer low fertility soils and produce more flowers in these conditions.
If your soil is high in nutrients or you’ve been able to add fertilizers it will trigger lots of growth in the foliage and less flowers, which is against the purpose of all lavender cultivators!
The addition of fertilizer can cause the lavender to become leggy, possible burning the roots, and may result in growth which is deficient in oil (which are the reason for the scent) therefore it is best to avoid.
The grit and sand mix that you should include in your soil is deficient in nutrients therefore it must be balanced with the potting mixes designed to be fertile, and the use of sand isn’t only beneficial for drainage, but also to provide the proper amount of fertility to ensure optimal blooming and scent.
Watering Potted Lavenders
Lavenders are a drought-resistant plant that can thrives without regular irrigation.
But, generally speaking potted lavenders require more water than lavenders in the ground because their the potted root system is more likely to be exposed to heat and sunlight.
Pots are prone to heating in the sun, which can cause drying effects on the soil. Therefore, potted lavenders require a little more attention and care when they need to be watered.
It can be advantage if you live living in an area with a lot of rainfall since the lavenders in pots are less likely to remain in moist soil for prolonged periods of time, which could cause harm to the roots.
Potted lavenders require watering each week for the initial two years in the spring and summer. Once the lavender has established, it is possible to reduce this to a single watering each two weeks.
Make sure that you have enough water to ensure that there is a little water flowing out of the drainage holes, which means it is that your soil received an adequate soak and drainage is excellent.
If you’ve had an entire week of heavy rain (more than one inch) with a lot of cloudy days, then you may want to skip the watering for a week, and then wait until the ground is completely dry.
Do not make this error. When it comes to Lavenders over-watering is always a bigger issue than under watering. The signs of excessive watering include the appearance of drooping leaves and a yellowing or browning of the leaves.
Many people notice these signs, and assume that the soil is dry , and make it worse by adding more water.
Follow the recommended schedule of watering and you’ll have no issues (assuming you’ve planted the flowers on the sandy soil). If you begin to notice signs of stress, such as an appearance of drooping, do not water till the soil is given the chance to dry out.
Read my post on how to make lavender water in pots to get a complete guide.
Choosing the Right Pot for Lavenders
The perfect size pot for lavenders is an overall length of at least 16 inches and an average depth of 12 inches. It should be big enough to hold the full maturation of your lavender.
It is essential that the pot has numerous drainage holes within the base, to allow water to flow easily. I would always suggest that you put a 1 inch layer of stones or gravel on top of the drain holes in order to make sure that they don’t get blocked by the compacted soil at the bottom.
Potted lavenders shouldn’t be placed in a drip tray beneath the pot since this can hold in water. The roots of lavenders are not able to withstand long exposure to water, and will begin to decay quite quickly. Therefore, always make sure that the water drains freely.
All kinds of materials are suitable for lavenders, regardless of whether the pot is made of wood, metal or plastic. Terracotta, plastic, or metal are all acceptable.
Plastic or metallic pots are more likely to heat up than thicker terracotta and wooden pots under the sun, which can increase the rate of soil evaporation and therefore require regular irrigation (once every two weeks).
Hours of Sun for Potted Lavenders
The varieties of lavender do all bloom best in full sun throughout the day in summer and spring.
The lavender plant will continue to bloom when they are exposed to 6 or more hours of sunshine each day, but there is a connection with the quantity of sunlight they get and the amount of blooms they produce therefore, always plant pots of lavender in the sunniest area of your garden.
There isn’t a lavender plant that is able to grow well or produce flowers in the shade. They thrive in full sun all day long in hot regions such as Spain, Italy and France however they thrive in cooler environments (particularly kinds that are English lavenders) so long as they are in full sun.
Winter Care for Lavenders in Pots
The winter months can be a challenge for pots of lavender depending on the climate you reside in. If you reside in an area that is subject to frequent winter frosts , then you should consider English laurels (and their numerous hybrids) are the most ideal choice since they are the most frost-tolerant of all lavenders.
It is important to note that the Spanish, Italian and French lavender varieties are not tolerant of extreme frosts. Therefore, if you reside in a colder climate, you’ll need to bring the lavenders inside during winter, perhaps in a greenhouse or inside windows.
The lavenders should be put back in the garden when the weather begins to warm again the next spring.
Lavenders don’t require a lot of water during winter, but small amounts every month, can be sufficient without harming their roots.
If you keep your English potted lavender outside, they’ll usually get enough water to last easily with additional watering.
How Far to Space Potted Lavenders
They are tough and resistant to disease, however they can benefit from air circulation, which can reduce the risk of fungal infections. They should be placed in an area in your garden that is likely to be exposed to the occasional breeze that flies around the leaves.
This means that they should be about 3 feet of other plant species or in areas with higher humidity. Lavenders are tolerant of wind and sea air, but they do not like to live in areas that are exposed to wind So an natural windbreak or shelter like a tree or wall is a good idea in these conditions.
Pruning Potted Lavenders
The flowers of lavenders are only produced when they are growing new, therefore pruning should be completed following the blooming period in the late summer each year, and again in springtime. Pruning helps maintain its shape, and prevent the plant from splitting and turning hard and woody.
Pruning lavenders is exactly the same regardless of whether they are growing in the ground or in pots. Pruning lavenders is best understood through an illustrated guide. This YouTube video will demonstrate how to prune them…
- All varieties of lavenders do in pots
- Lavenders newly planted in the garden are watered every week, and established lavenders two times per week.
- Prune lavenders each year to encourage the growth of more blooms.
- Plant lavenders in a pot that has numerous drainage holes in the base to stop the water from accumulating.
- The soil should comprise 70 percent potting mixture, which is then amended by 30% sand or gravel for drainage.
- Don’t add fertilizer to your lavenders because it can cause more leggy growth and less flowers.
- Place them in a sunny spot.
- The pH of the soil must be in the range of 6.5 (slightly acidic) to 7.5 slightly alkaline.
- Space Lavenders spaced 2 feet apart to ensure adequate airflow to avoid fungal diseases.
- A 1-inch layer of stones or gravel in the base of the pot will stop compacted soil from decreasing drainage.