Lavenders, what is there not to love? They are beautiful, aromatic, and therapeutic. If ever there was a plant that had it all, it would be the lavender. Lavenders are not very demanding once established. The trick to growing lavenders in Australia, therefore, lies in the ability to get them established in the soil. To start you off, you need to understand some very specific lavender requirements.
We will look at these in two main sections:
(i) The Physical Requirements for Lavender Growth.
(ii) Growing the Lavenders.
****** The Physical requirements For Lavender Growth ******
Under the physical requirements, we will look at four necessary conditions for lavender growth.
(i) The Soil.
*** The Soil.
The soil must be fertile and well-drained. Raise the beds if the soil does not drain well. Enrich the soil with manure or compost before planting. If the soil is highly acidic, lime will be helpful.
Lavenders do not like getting their feet wet. Too much water brings with it diseases like root rot. When established, the plants are drought resistant. Only allow them an occasional soak if the Australian summer is especially hot.
During the flowering season, apply liquid fertilizer regularly. After the lavenders have flowered, your average slow-release solid fertilizer will do.
Once the soil is right, the lavenders will do well when exposed to the sun or under a semi-shade. They do best when exposed to the afternoon heat. Allow the heat in while mitigating strong winds.
****** Growing The Lavenders ******
To get the lavenders established in the soil, we will look at the two main aspects of the growth process.
(ii) Caring For The Lavenders.
i. Plant in the spring when the soil is warming up. If you must plant in the fall, use big plants that can survive the winter.
ii. Plant the lavenders 2ft to 3ft apart.
NB: If the soil is heavy, add organic materials to improve the drainage. The last thing you want is to plant the flowers on wet or moist soils.
*** Caring For The Lavenders.
i. Add mulch to keep the weeds away. Pea gravel is especially effective. Just remember to keep the crown of the lavender above the mulch.
ii. After planting, water the lavenders once or twice every week. After the plants are established, water them every two or three weeks until they bud.
iii. If the winters are especially cold, consider using a warming mulch; like straw.
iv. Established plants should be pruned in the spring when some green leaves are seen emerging from the lavender’s base. Pruning removes, approximately, a third of the top part of the plant.
v. After budding, water the plants once every week until they are ready for harvest.
NB: You only water the lavenders when there is no rain. These plants hate wet soils.
During harvest, cut the stems long. Make sure you harvest the flowers during the morning hours because that is when the oils are most concentrated.
NB: You know the lavenders are ready for harvest when about half of the stem’s flower buds are open.