What Soil Types do Lavenders Like?

Last Updated on August 14, 2022 by Stephanie

Lavenders are indigenous to Mediterranean countries. In order to grow lavender successfully, you need to recreate the soil conditions in the region.

Lavenders thrive in well-draining, sandy soils with a low or moderate fertility. Lavenders can thrive in moderately acidic soils, but they prefer soils with pH levels that are moderately alkaline or neutral. They thrive in chalk or sandy soils.

This article will explain the specific soil conditions that lavenders prefer and how you can recreate the conditions for lavenders that bloom well within your backyard.

This advice is applicable to all varieties of lavender and their hybrids

Lavenders Need Good drainage

A soil that is able to provide good drainage is the most crucial aspect when it comes to growing lavenders.

Lavenders are indigenous to the Mediterranean and thrive in the sun, with very little rainfall, and soils with sandy clay which drain quickly.

It is not necessary to be in the Mediterranean climate to cultivate lavenders, but you need to replicate the conditions of a dry, sandy soil in order to allow the plants to flourish and bloom effectively.

Lavenders that are planted in gardens with clay or other cold slow draining, wet soil, are susceptible to root rot , and the lavender wont last in the event that you dont amend the soil prior to plant lavender.

If your garden drains slowly or is prone to retaining lots of water, there are three options to grow lavender.

  • Plant lavenders on raised bed. When you plant lavenders in a raised bed, you are in complete control of the soil medium that you put into the bed. The lavenders will not be in the low lying areas that could collect water naturally.
  • Plant lavenders in pots. The lavenders thrive in pots since they provide dry conditions and excellent drainage (as long as there are adequate drainage holes at the base in the bottom of the container) and, of course, you can alter the soil by adding plenty of sand or grit in order to create the ideal drainage of the soil.
  • Make sure that you amend the garden soil, where you plan to plant lavenders by adding an even layer of sand (or gritty) and soil mix). It isnt necessary to be precise so you make sure whether the soil is draining rapidly after watering prior to plant the lavender. If the water is slowly dripping away it is necessary for you to mix in more sand or gritty to the mix and then try it to do it again.

If you dont have natural clay or sandy soils, or you happen to be within those Mediterranean regions that include Spain, France and Italy then youll need amend your soil using coarse sand or grit in order to mimic the natural conditions of their growth.

Lavender farm

Coarse builders sand is superior to fine sand, and grit is also suggested. These materials provide your soil with pockets of air as well as the proper structure to ensure that the water drains away from the lavender roots in a pleasant and quickly.

Sand and grit are very low in nutrients, which will suit your lavender well. A soil with high nutrients is likely to encourage growth of foliage and less flowers. Soil with a high amount of organic matter can also hold excessive water to allow the lavender to flourish.

The soils with an abundance of organic matter can store lots of water that can cause root rot in the lavender. It can also cause humid conditions that do not fit the dry-loving lavender.

If your soil is slightly fine, adding 1/3 of sand or girt in two thirds compost will guarantee that you have the proper drainage. However, if you have soil that is rich and drains slowly, you must apply a 50:50 ratio of sand or compost mix with grit to get the optimal results.

Always test the soil prior to planting the lavender . Water the plant area and then observing how quickly the water is drained away. If your soil is draining easily and the water doesnt collect then it is the perfect soil state. If the drainage is slow, modify the soil with more grit and then try again. It isnt a precise science, and it will take some trial and trial and.

The Correct Soil pH for Lavenders

Lavenders can thrive in moderately acidic soils, but they prefer soil that is acidic pH-neutral (pH 7.7)) or slightly acidic (up up to an alkaline pH of 7.5).

Lavender is particularly suited to gardens that have chalk soils since chalk is a good drainer and is generally alkaline.

If you dont know what the soils pH is, its easy to test it using an inexpensive kit available on Amazon. The test of pH in your soil doesnt require any special understanding of chemistry, and it will ultimately help you save time and money since you will know which plants thrive well in your garden.

The majority of garden soils are neutral, but if you have soils that are acidic in your garden, you can include some garden lime in it, or maybe some wood ash that can raise the pH in the soil to ensure that its suitable to grow lavenders and other flowers.

Multipurpose compost that has addition of sand and grit is suitable for the cultivation of lavenders in the context of pH levels, so there is no reason to be concerned when you plant in pots or filling raised beds.

Growing Lavenders in Different Soil Types

It is completely possible to plant lavenders in clay or heavy soils, as long as you have altered the area of your planting to a minimum depth of 12 inches , and to a length that is 16 inches.

This assumes that the location where you plan to plant your lavenders is in full sunshine (preferably more than 6 hours of direct sunlight each day).

The clay soils arent just unsuitable for structure, but also due to their high fertility. When working with clay, it is essential to remove your planting area and then replace the soil with at minimum 50% grit and 50% multi-purpose compost.

Grit is better at creating air pockets in the soil, and retaining its structure even in soils that are heavy as opposed to sand. It is recommended to cover the bottom of your planting holes with two inches of grit in order to make sure that the water doesnt just collect under the lavender, causing the roots to decay.

It is also important to check the drainage of your soil prior to plant by thoroughly watering your proposed planting site and ensuring that it drains quickly , and then altering the soil with more soil grit, if required.

The life span of lavenders is relatively short for plants that usually die after four years, so it is essential to grow lavenders or propagate them if you want to prolong the life of your lavender hedge.

Soil Nutrients for Lavenders (What you Need to Know)

Regarding soil nutrients, lavenders favor low to medium fertility soils. When the soils nutrients are too abundant in nutrients, this encourages the growth of foliage of the lavender to grow and, consequently, there will be fewer blooms.

They thrive in areas where other plants struggle. They actually provide a gardener with the ability to give them the difficult conditions they need.

A multipurpose general purpose compost can be used to grow lavender well. The only changes you have to make are using sand and grit that can provide the structure and lower nutrients that lavender needs.

I read a piece of advice on fertilizing lavenders with fertilizer, but this isnt an option me (or or the RHS) would suggest.

Lavenders require low to moderate fertile soils. Adding fertilizers will only encourage excessive growth of the foliage, with little or no flowers, and the high amount of fertilizer could cause harm to the roots of the plant.

Personally, I have not added fertilizer since lavenders love nutrient-poor soils. I have grown lavenders in pots and beds which emit a wonderful scent and produce an plenty of flowers.

The addition of fertilizer is in contradiction to the conditions under which lavenders thrive , so make sure to provide the plants with sand and compost, and theyll have the greatest chance of producing gorgeous and fragrant flowers!


The most important takeaways

  • Lavenders require soil conditions which resemble their homegrown Mediterranean soils.
  • Rapid draining pH neutral or alkaline, medium to low fertile sandy soils provide the ideal conditions.
  • Lavenders thrive in pots, raised beds and soils that have been amended by grit or sand and multi-purpose compost.
  • There is no need to fertilize your lavenders since this can cause the growth of foliage and reduce flowers. The lavenders prefer low to moderate nutrient soils, therefore they are not a good candidate for fertilizers.


Went from an inexperienced gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. I cover anything from general indoor plant guides and lawn care, to succulents and flowers. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)