Lavender (Taraxacum officinale) is a flowering evergreen shrub native to Europe, Asia and North Africa. It grows up to 3 m tall with purple flowers. Its leaves are oval or ovate in shape and have 4 leaflets each. They are dark green at first but turn light green when they mature. It produces small pinkish berries which it uses as food and medicinal purposes.
The name “lavender” comes from the Latin word “lavi”, meaning violet.
In addition to its culinary use, lavender is used medicinally in folk medicine for treating coughs, colds and other respiratory infections. It is also known as the ‘Violet Lady’ because of its healing properties.
Lavender is not only useful in cooking, it’s also used in making perfumes and cosmetics.
It is commonly grown in gardens all over the world. However, it requires special conditions to thrive well. If you want to grow lavender, then you need to keep these three things in mind:
You must have good soil that will allow your plants to flourish. You must provide them with plenty of water and air circulation around their roots so that they don’t get stressed out. Finally, you must give them enough sunlight and ventilation so that they do not go into dormancy.
You should also put a protective screen over your plants to provide them with some shade in hot and sunny weather.
As they say, good things come to those who wait. You will only start reaping the benefits on your lavender plant after 2-3 years!
It is better to grow lavender from cuttings rather than seeding it because it takes a lot of time before the plant matures enough to flower and go to seed. It takes about 2-3 years for the plant to be large enough to flower, bear in mind that once it starts flowering, there is a possibility that it might not come back the following year!
However, you can always take cuttings from the mature plant and start again.
How To Take Cuttings
The best part about lavender is that you can easily grow it from cuttings, which makes it very easy to increase the size of your plant. It is preferable to prune back the stem of your plant in late winter or early spring times. You must cut off a 3 inch piece and remove the leaves from it before planting into your potting mix.
It can take up to 2 months for a cutting to take root. You must keep it moist and shaded from harsh sunlight. Once it starts putting out fresh leaves and roots, you can then transfer it to your garden or to another container to grow on.
As many as three cuttings can be taken from a single plant and each one of them should have 3-4 leaves upon planting. If the weather is warmer, then you can plant the cuttings immediately. Otherwise, it’s best to keep them in a cool place (i.e.
shade) for a couple of days before planting them.
Even if the plant you are growing from cuttings is not the same variety as the parent plant, it will have similar characteristics and should flower in the same season.
UV Light: Lavender needs around 6 hours of sunlight to 12 hours of shade during the growth period. It requires less when it is in bloom.
Temperature: Like most other plants, lavender prefers temperatures between 60-80 degrees. The cooler the temperature, the better the quality of oil that is produced.
Soil: It is important that your soil has good drainage since lavender does not like to stay wet for long periods of time. A good mix of soil should have compost, sand and soil in equal proportions. Do not use soil that has a high clay content.
Water: During the first year, your plant will require around 15 gallons of water each week. As it ages, it will need less water. Water your plant every 10-14 days.
Do not allow the soil to dry out and make sure that the drainage is very good.
Pruning: Pruning is important for new shoots and plants, which are about 10 inches tall. You can prune them back to 5 inches if you want to use it in a flower arrangement. This will encourage side shoots to grow, which you can then prune back as well.
You can also prune the tips of branches so that it grows bushier.
You can also let the plant grow fully and then harvest the flowers for drying and other purposes.
Fertilizing: You should buy a special fertilizer for lavender only if you want to. A 5-10-5 is a good mix, which will promote lots of blooming.
Sources & references used in this article:
Lavender production, products, markets, and entertainment farms by R Kourik – 1998 – Chronicle Books
The Lavender Lover’s Handbook: The 100 Most Beautiful and Fragrant Varieties for Growing, Crafting, and Cooking by KL Adam – Retrieved November, 2006 – naturalingredient.org
Lavender Cotton Root Rot: A New Host of Phytophthora tentaculata Found in Spain by SB Bader – 2012 – books.google.com
… retinoblastoma protein homologue ZmRb-1 is regulated during leaf development and displays conserved interactions with G1/S regulators and plant cyclin D (CycD) … by LA Álvarez, A Pérez-Sierra, M León… – Plant …, 2006 – Am Phytopath Society
Characterisation of lavender essential oils by using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry with correlation of linear retention indices and comparison with … by R Huntley, S Healy, D Freeman, P Lavender… – Plant molecular …, 1998 – Springer
Responses of Phradis parasitoids to volatiles of lavender, Lavendula angustifolia—a possible repellent for their host, Meligethes aeneus by R Shellie, L Mondello, P Marriott, G Dugo – Journal of Chromatography A, 2002 – Elsevier
The lavender scare: The Cold War persecution of gays and lesbians in the federal government by SM Cook, M Jönsson, MP Skellern, DA Murray… – BioControl, 2007 – Springer
8. The role of plant growth regulators in dormancy in forest trees by DK Johnson – 2009 – books.google.com
Phlox plant named ‘Bedazzled Lavender’ by DP Lavender, SN Silim – Plant growth regulation, 1987 – Springer