Lavender can be found in moderately acidic soils starting at pH 6.5 however they prefer to be in alkaline soils that range from pH 8. This is similar to the soils in the Mediterranean which is where they thrive in sandy, well-drained soils that are alkaline.
Read this article if you don’t know how to determine your soil’s pH (there is a cost-effective method to determine it) and what options you have for cultivating lavender in soil that is acidic…
Lavender in Acidic Soil
Lavenders can be grown in soils with calcareous elements in the Mediterranean region in southern Europe Therefore, they thrive in soils that are sandy or gravelly that have the alkaline pH around 7.5.
But lavenders can thrive in soils that have moderate acidity (pH 6.5) particularly the English lavender variety that tends to be more robust and produce oil and show flowers.
But lavenders are either extremely short-lived or will not develop at all in soils that are acidic , with pH less than 6.5 (the more acidic the pH, is, the less acidic).
While other common garden plants thrive in soils that are more acidic however, lavenders will not be capable of absorbing nutrients and will die if the soil more acidic than pH 6.5.
If your soil’s pH is between 6.5 to 7. (slightly slightly acidic or neutral) lavender will still be able to thrive with no issues. The lavender plant will only exhibit symptoms that tension (poor growth, less blooms) when the soil’s acidity is lower than pH 6.5.
If you have soil that is acidic and you want to plant lavender, then the three best choices are:
- Place lavender in the pot. You are in complete control of the mix of soil for lavender in pots, whereas the soil in your garden must be thoroughly altered. (Read my post How to Transplant Lavender to find out how to transfer it without causing transplant shock).
- Grow the lavender plant in a raised bed that is similar to pots, in that you are able to add new soil more suitable for the cultivation of lavender.
- Add nutrients to your garden by adding lime or wood ash (both being alkaline) to increase your pH to alkaline range that lavenders prefer.
How do you determine if your soil is acidic, neutral or alkaline
The majority of garden soils tend to have a slight acidity when not neutral, due because fully decayed organic material is usually between pH 6 and 7. But there are significant variations in the pH of garden soil due to a myriad of reasons.
The pH of the soil before purchasing plants is a smart step that could save you lots of money in the in the long run.
The most economical method to measure the soil’s pH soil is to use the soil gauge that you can purchase from Amazon. It is easy to use and doesn’t require any technical expertise. Simply push the probes all the way deep into the soil, and it will show the soil’s pH. And best of all you can purchase it for an affordable cost!
I use this gauge in my garden to make sure that my new plants have been planted with the correct soil pH.
If your garden soil is chalky, then it is the ideal soil for growing lavender since chalk soil drains quickly, that mimics the preferred lavender growing conditions . Chalk soils are alkaline (usually at or around pH 7.5) and it can be difficult to determine what the pH is of your soil without an instrument to test the pH accurately.
How to Amend Acidic Soil for Growing Lavender
If the soil in your garden is less (more acidic) than pH 6.5 then it is likely to require amending prior to the growth of lavender.
The most straightforward option is to plant lavender in the pot (the pot should be minimum 16 inches in diameter in order to accommodate enough soil to grow lavenders) Add it to your soil mixture and incorporate in 1 table spoon of lime from agriculture in the soil (which can have the effect of raising soil pH to make it less alkaline)
This is all that’s required to create the ideal pH for lavenders in a pot that has the amount of soil within a 16-inch wide (and the same in height) of a pot. (Read my article on selecting the right container for lavenders for more details)
Once you’ve mixed with lime, there will be no need to continue changing the soil, and the lavender will be happy in its new place of residence. (Read this article and find out about the best mixture of soil for pots of lavender).
When you have raised beds and plant lavender in the soil of your garden you must apply lime with greater care because you will be dealing with a larger amount of soil, so it is essential to follow the specific directions of the manufacturer.
If you are planning to plant a variety of lavenders in an area with acidic soil in an open garden, then you will need to create a long-term alteration in the soil’s pH to make it appropriate for the lavenders.
Make the soil (with the addition of lime, sand or gravel to improve drainage) for 3 months prior to planting. Test the soil’s pH regularly to make sure the soil has at least pH 6.5 If not, it should be closer to pH 7.5.
It is essential to alter the soil to an 18-inch depth for each plant, as it will allow for the lavender roots once the plant is fully mature.
Utilize a soil gauge to determine the pH of your soil and then add more lime as needed, but I would like to emphasize that you must adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions and you will get the correct outcome. Do not add too much lime at once as the soil could become too acidic, even for lavender. In this case, you must balance the alkalinity by adding sulphur to maintain the pH.
- Lavender is only able to grow in soils that are moderately acidic (pH 6.5) however it prefers to thrive in soils that are alkaline that have a pH of 8 or higher.
- English lavender cultivars are more durable than French or Spanish varieties and are tolerant of moderate soil acidity better than other species.
- If your garden is acidic soil, you could plant lavender in raised beds or pots in lieu of amending the soil of your garden with lime.
- Determine the pH level of your garden soil using the help of a soil tester that will determine if it is neutral, acidic or alkaline. They are simple to use and eliminate the guesswork to allow you to spend your money on plants with confidence that they’ll thrive in the correct type of soil.
- It is possible to amend soil using cultural lime , which increases soil pH between alkaline and acidic, and consequently creates the ideal conditions for lavender.