Lavender (Lavandula)

Common name for a genus (Lavandula) of fragrant herbs or shrubs of which a Mediterranean subshrub species (L. spica) is grown for ornament in the garden and for its sweet scent when dried. The dried flowers are used to fill sachets and to perfume clothing or linens. Commercially they, and the green parts, are used for making “oil of spike,” aromatic vinegar and lavender water.

True lavender, not being fully hardy, is little grown in northern gardens, where it must be protected over winter by mulching. It is more popular, therefore, in the milder Pacific Coast and in the South.

English Lavender Young in Pots

Growing the Herb Lavender

As seed produces variable plants, propagation is commonly by cuttings of selected plants. Taken of one-year-old “wood” in spring, these are set in a shady place, 4 inches apart, and kept cultivated for a year.

Then they are transplanted not less than 2 feet apart in permanent quarters in dry, light, limy, friable soil and full sunlight. In such a location they thrive best, develop the maximum fragrance and are least likely to be injured in winter.

In wet soils, they will grow, but poorly; in rich soils, they become lush and sappy, and in both types they lack fragrance and easily succumb to frost.

Growing Cultures

Outdoors, in containers, and hydroponics.

Plant Height

Lavender usually grows to a height of 12 to 18 inches (30 -45cm).

Plant Spacing

Lavender plants should be spaced between 18 and 24 inches (45 and 60 cm) apart.

Preferred pH Range

Lavender will grow in a relatively wide pH range between 6.1 (mildly acidic) and 8.5 (alkaline) with a preferred range between 6.5 and 7.5.


From seed, sow indoors six weeks before last frost. Propagates well through softwood and semi-hardwood cuttings.

Seed Germination Period

Lavender seeds germinate between 10 and 28 days. Germination of english types (L. angustifolia) is frequently below 50 percent; scarification or freezing of seedflat can sometimes improve germination rates.

Number of Seeds per Gram

There are between approximately 850 and 1300 Lavender seeds per gram, depending on variety.

Soil Requirements

Lavender prefers a light, well-drained, deep and not overly rich soil.

Alternative Growing Media

Soilless potting mixes (Pro-Mix, Sunshine Mix, etc.), perlite, vermiculite, rockwool, coco peat, Oasis Rootcubes.

Time From Seed to Saleable Plant

Sow seeds 20 to 26 weeks before sale. Seeds to finished plugs, 12 to 16 weeks. Plugs to saleable plant, 8 to 10 weeks.

Sun & Lighting Requirements

Lavender grown outdoors prefers full sun but can tolerate some shade.

Lavender will grow indoors satisfactorily under high output T5 fluorescent, compact fluorescent, or high intensity discharge (metal halide or high pressure sodium) plant growing lights. Keep high output and compact fluorescents approximately one foot above the plants, and HID lights between 2 and 4 feet above the plants, depending on wattage.

Have an oscillating fan gently stir seedlings for at least 2 hours per day to stimulate shorter, sturdier, and more natural plant habit.

USDA Hardiness

Perennial. Zones 5a to 9b.

Water Requirements

Water regularly, being careful not to overwater. Allow soil to go almost dry between watering, then soak thoroughly.

Potential Plant Pests and Diseases

Lavender can be susceptible to mealybug, whitefly, scale, and spider mites but has minimal disease issues.

Special Notes

Lavender is known to attract bees, butterflies and birds. Fragrant flowers. Suitable for containers.

Buy Lavender Seeds by Heirloom English Tall Lavender Seeds
The intoxicating fragrance of lavender has been sought for centuries to lift spirits and freshen the house.

Hidcote Dwarf Lavender Seeds
Soothe your spirit with the calming fragrance of lavender! This dwarf variety is uniform and compact.