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lavender in heavy-rain areas (plus pruning)

Posted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 2:23 pm
by Jai_Ganesha
I live in an area (the Ohio Valley of central Kentucky) that routinely receives a couple FEET of rain some years. Already this year we've had several days with 4" of rain per day. It's been bonkers.

I want to grow lavender--the nursery told me that here it has to be grown in pots unless the soil you have is SUPER dry to begin with (not common) because it likes sandy, limey, well-draining soil. So I got a big pot, created some special sand-heavy amended soil, and planted my little lavender plant.

But I'm reading on pruning it, and I've seen that you're advised to take out the center sprouts to allow the plan to get air in the middle. Should I do this, and if so, when? Right now, it's about 6" tall and there are only about 7 stems so if I remove the middle one that's a big chunk of the plant's volume.


Re: lavender in heavy-rain areas (plus pruning)

Posted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 3:12 pm
by rainbowgardener
Couple feet isn't so much. Here in my part of the Ohio River Valley, we get 40" of rain/snow a year. But it is a lot for lavender which is adapted to arid climates. You are right on the sandy, alkaline, not real fertile, very fast draining soil.

I don't prune lavender until it blooms. Then I harvest the buds, which also prunes the plant. Each flower stem that I take I cut off half to two thirds of the way down the stem, being sure to leave some leaves at the bottom. If you cut down into the woody part, that stem will not grow back. But it is nice to leave a few of the buds to open up and bloom, because the bees love them.

Re: lavender in heavy-rain areas (plus pruning)

Posted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 8:27 pm
by imafan26
Lavender is good from zone 5 to zone 9. In warmer zones lavender multifida (landscape lavender ) and the lavindins have more heat tolerance.

I have clay soil, but they actually like being in the ground. I just plant them on the upper part of my sloping front yard. Once established they really do not need a lot of water and they do not like fertilizer, a little compost is just fine.

I prune mine in the rainy season. In wet weather the lavender leaves will turn black.

Alternatively, I do keep some lavenders and lavindins in pots. They won't grow as big a mound in a pot, but in the rainy season, if it rains for a week, I can at least bring them into the patio. They also like to be in full sun. If their light gets blocked, they get lanky and pretty ugly.

Only cut new wood on lavenders. If you cut back too far into the old wood, it sometimes dies or it takes a very long time to come back. I usually hedge my bet by only cutting half the lavender, wait for the new shoots to appear where I have opened the plant up to the light and once that is growing well , I cut the rest of it back. Save the cutting to make more.

Re: lavender in heavy-rain areas (plus pruning)

Posted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 10:08 pm
by Susan W
Lavender is good, or is that great! It is challenging for us in the MidSouth as we have 50+ inches rain, and the warm muggy nights. Lavender can take heat just those nights. (Something I have evolved from experience, not mentioned in the books).

Most of mine are in pots from 12" to huge. I suggest to others to plant in pots, not ground because of the water. As for soil mix, mine is about the same for all the herbs (18+ varieties, 120+ pots). I have both the Hidcote and Munstead going now. I also remind myself and others it is iffy here, and may not make.

As yours is a new baby, just keep it happy in the pot. It may or may not bloom this season. Everyone says dry, but don't let it dry out, and don't over water. Pruning? Next season! I was checking mine today, while picking herbs for the farmers market. I did cut back a few sprigs, just green and bundled for market. It looks like I may have a good year for blooms as there is lots of new growth.

And don't forget to run your hand against it when you pass by!

Re: lavender in heavy-rain areas (plus pruning)

Posted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 8:03 pm
by imafan26
That is one of the great things about lavender multifida is not only is it suitable for the warmer zones, but it blooms nearly all year. It is a landscape lavender though, and while it can still be used to deter moths, it does not have the fragrance of the edible lavenders and lavendins.

Unfortunately most of the more fragrant lavenders are annuals in zone 12 a, and the ones that do last a while only have a short bloom season. Some of the lavender flowers will not fully open up.

Re: lavender in heavy-rain areas (plus pruning)

Posted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 2:19 pm
by Jai_Ganesha
What variety is this, can you tell?


I was told it was called "Potpourri" but I don't know what kind of lavender that is...