English lavenders are well-suited to be grown in pots since English lavenders are both drought-resistant and cold hardy (more than other varieties of lavender) which is crucial for lavenders root systems in pots. They are more vulnerable to cold winter weather and the hot dry temperatures in summer than when they are established in the soil.
Containers and pots also provide improved drainage and air circulation, which replicates lavender’s preferred conditions for growing. Because English lavender is cold-hardy (up up to zone) and is tolerant of frosts, it is possible to keep the pot outside throughout the winter months, unlike other varieties of lavender that require winter protection.
Continue reading to learn more about the reasons English lavenders ( Lavandula angustifolia) are ideal for pots, and the right soil mix, and how you can water them, trim, and take care of the potted English lavenders…
Why English Lavenders are the Best Lavenders for Pots
The majority of lavender species do very in pots since you can alter the soil to ensure it is more suitable to factors like drainage, pH of soil and moderate to low fertility, which are all traits that are favored by English lavenders.
The main difference which makes English lavender better suited to pots than other varieties of lavender can be found in the fact that English lavender is by far the cold-hardiest among all lavender varieties.
It is crucial to note that although pots have plenty of benefits for cultivating lavender, the root system is above ground and not more protected as they are in soil that is garden which means that the lavender will be more exposed to the colder temperatures.
French and Spanish varieties of lavender aren’t cold-hardy and must be located in a warmer climate that doesn’t dip below freezing in winter..
The English lavender plant is able to take frigid winters with ease, being robust the USDA zone 4, and can take snow and frost and return the following year without being affected by the additional exposed roots, which are above ground in pots.
While pots are able to expose lavenders to colder temperatures, they can also be susceptible to drying extremely quickly due to the intense sunlight which lavenders thrive in can warm the pot itself and accelerate the evaporation of soil much faster than when they were within the gardens.
It is fortunate that English lavender is both drought-resistant and cold-hardy (thanks due to their Mediterranean roots) therefore this tolerant species is able to withstand the extremes that may occur in pots, but it is important to take care when watering the lavender inside pots (read more below about this).
English lavenders also give off an amazing smell (which is the reason they are cultivated commercially) and show beautiful flowers.
The most popular English lavender varieties include Hidcote, Munstead, Pink Purfume, Alba as well as Jean Davis however it is important to note that the majority of English lavenders can be used to grow in pots.
How to cultivate English Lavenders In Pots
Which Type of Pot is Best?
English Lavenders aren’t very fussy when it comes to the type of pot they’re in, however the most important thing is that drainage holes are present in the base of the container. Otherwise, water will collect in the bottom, and the roots begin to rot..
When it comes to English lavenders, drainage is crucial, so it’s always recommended to lay an inch of gravel, or “crocs” over the drainage holes to be sure they don’t get blocked by the soil that has been compacted or other substances.
In terms of the size of the pot, it may be correlated with the size of the lavender when it reaches maturity. In hot climates, I recommend planting lavender in pots no smaller than 12-16 inches in diameter even if the lavender has smaller in size as small pots are prone to drying out quickly, and provide less insulation to the root system during the cold. Therefore, with larger pots, there is greater resistance to the extremes of weather.
Keep in mind that it is possible to pot lavender again (this is recommended for spring) If the lavender gets to be too large for the pot , however I suggest that you read my article on the transplanting of lavender prior to doing so to avoid any shock from transplantation.
Soil Mix for Potted English Lavenders
English lavenders are the most productive and flower the best when they are planted in moderate to low fertility soil which is extremely well drained.
The roots of lavenders do not want being in a compost that is able to hold too many gallons of water, so it is recommended for compost to be amended using gravel or sand prior to planting.
English lavenders thrive with 30% coarse gravel or sand to 70 percent garden or multi-purpose compost from a store.
Sand and gravel create the ideal structure that allows water to flow through the pot, and then away from the base. They also help increase the fertileness of the compost (remember that lavenders must be in soils with lower fertility for them to bloom).
It might sound odd that a plant would want a low fertility and quick drainage soil mixes however this is the conditions in which lavender thrives in their natural Mediterranean range. (Despite the fact that they are called English, the majority of lavenders originate originally from Southern Europe).
The use of compost and minerals (sand and gravel) can provide the right amount of nutrients needed for lavenders to create stunning scent, oil and flowers. English lavenders don’t require feeding because this can stimulate growth of the foliage, but at the expense of blooms and your lavender will become looking wavy and sloppy.
How Much Water to Use
English lavenders thrive in the soak and dry method of watering. In this method, they are given a large amount of water every two weeks, and they are allowed the ground to dry out between waterings.
Make sure you water generously until there is the appearance of a small drop of water at the bottom of the pot , as it will stimulate the roots to develop and grow, which will improve its resistance to drought.
A small drop of water at from the base of the pot can be a sign of adequate drainage of the soil, that is vital for pots that are replete with English lavenders.
Problems arising from excessively watering lavender are not caused by the amount of water used rather from how often you water,, so adhere to a every week, once a week timetable for watering.
If you’ve amended the soil using gravel or sand, so long as the soil receives an adequate soak, the exact amount of water is not important.
For more information on the best time to water lavender , read my article that explains in depth the frequency you should be watering lavender under different conditions.
Watering English Lavenders in Pots
English Lavenders are drought-resistant plants. In general, they are more resistant to under-watering than over watering, which usually causes root rot.
If you find that an English lavender is excessively watered, it is likely to have an appearance of drooping and the foliage may change to into a yellow or brown hue that appears to be an unwatered plant, so be aware! (Read the article I wrote about how to repair the drooping of lavender in case you are suffering from this issue)
The majority of lavender species thrive in full sunlight and won’t grow as easily, if ever in the shade. The less sunlight the plant gets, the less blooms it can expect.
Place your pot of lavender in a location that gets at least six hours of sunlight (preferably the morning sunlight) throughout the time of growth.
It will guarantee that your lavender plant is healthy, producing flowers and boost the plant’s oil output, and is ultimately the reason for the distinctive scent.
Pruning English Lavender in a Pot for Winter Survival
English lavenders could last for up to fifteen years when taken care of properly. One of the most important methods to increase the lifespan for English lavenders (or any other lavender species) is to cut the lavender every once in a while if not twice per year.
Pruning can help prevent the lavender from getting excessively tall, encourage the growth of flowers and keep an attractive compact shape which slows the growth of woody at the base, and effectively wards off winter weather.
The first pruning should occur in the springtime, in the spring when the first leaves of green begin appearing at the bottom of the laurel.
Cut off your top-third of growth that is green of the lavender to create a round mound. It is crucial to cut only into the more flexible growth, and not into the rigid base, which is woody. The wood tends to split and not regenerate and leave your the lavender looking wavy.
If you’re experiencing issues with woody lavender Read my article to find out what you can do about it.
It is possible to do this using an sterile pair of sharp pruning shears or pruners.
I suggest you view this video to get a clear visual explanation of exactly how to trim lavender in the springtime:
The second cut is smaller and serves to trim and tidy up the stems of flowers to ensure that the plant keeps its round appearance. Personally, I like saving the stems to make a decorative potpourri!
The round appearance helps the lavender to deflect snow and stop the ice from entering the woody base of the plant as quickly.
It is vital to take care of this for English Lavender because the English species and some hybrids are the only cultivars that can be cold-hardy and flower year after year, even in cold winter temperatures.
The article I composed was about the best way to prep lavenders for winter because there are a few good methods that lavender plants have to adhere to to ensure that the lavender plants are able to thrive and bloom in the spring.
- English lavenders are the most suitable lavenders to grow in pots since they are drought-resistant and cold-hardy, which means they can withstand the more extreme temperatures and conditions since the roots aren’t as well protected in pots.
- Pots can also be a great source of drainage as well as air flow. You can easily amend the soil to accommodate the needs for English lavender.
- The pot should have drainage holes at the bottom since lavender cannot like soil that is wet.
- Established lavender plants will require regular watering every two weeks during the season of growth. The newly planted lavender should be watered more frequently in the beginning. English lavenders that are left outside will get sufficient moisture from the weather since the lavenders are in condition of dormancy.
- English lavenders are hardy to cold and do not require protection from the elements in the winter months in most environments, but it is important to trim them frequently to avoid becoming woody, to encourage flowers and ensure that the lavender keeps a neat round shape that can withstand winter storms.