How to Grow and Tips for Caring For French Lavender? - Grow Veggy (2022)

French Lavender is perhaps the most appealing lavender type. Its flower blooms are colorful and these plants can even flower up to three times a year!

Conditions favoring the growth of French Lavender include porous soil, Infrequent watering, Full sunlight, Low humidity, Constant pruning, and no Fertilizer. Also, you have to bring them indoors in frosty winter if you want them to live for their full 5 years!

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French Lavender Growing and Caring Tips

If you are looking to try and grow it or any of its variants, there are certain conditions you must meet! Failing to meet them will lead to poor growth. This can affect the outcome of flowers, their fragrance, and their colors.

To avoid disappointment and have your lavender that lasts 4 – 5 years, follow these tried and tested growing and care tips.

1. Sunlight

French lavenders tend to thrive best in the sunniest spot in the garden. While other plants may droop or wilt in the garden, this plant will grow optimally!

Sunlight is crucial to lavender because it helps them grow and flower. It also helps to dry the soil and air around the plants. All lavender plants hate moist environments regardless of how high temperatures are.

Before planting your lavender plants, observe your garden. Choose the spot that receives the most intense sunlight.

But make sure the sun lasts for several hours before it fades away. Also, this particular location shouldn’t have anything that can potentially block the sun.

French lavender plants will appreciate full sunlight for around 6 hours. Even if you are planting your lavender indoors, make sure it is in a sunny window. Long hours of intense sunlight can stimulate better blooms in French lavender.

If lavender plants only receive half their sunlight requirements, they are unlikely to thrive. Ill effects will be visible when it becomes unbearable for the plants.

To save your plants, you will have to remove anything obstructing the sunlight’s path.Or, you may have to transplant your lavender to an area of more intense sun or longer sunlight coverage.

If you want your Lavender to survive winter, you have to grow it in pots and bring it indoors!

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2. Watering

Carefully monitoring your watering routine could just save your French lavender plants.

Any lavender type you decide to grow will share the same watering frequency as this lavender. Generous waterings infrequently are enough to pacify lavender.

Water French lavender once every two weeks during the summer growing season. Decrease watering if it has rained lately.

In winter, you can water these plants once every 4 to 6 weeks. But, this only applies if the soil is dry!

Watering French lavender too frequently with too much water can spell disaster for the plants. The situation is made worse when water-retaining soils are used.

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The saturation of moisture in the soil affects the roots.

Constant soil waterlogging will cause overwatering which then induces root rot. Roots usually lose their structure and function when root rot affects them.

A lavender plant that lacks a fully functional root system will perish.

This makes watering and soil type two very impactful factors for growing and caring for lavender.

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3. Temperature and Climate

Ever wondered why lavenders originate from and do so well in the Mediterranean and similar climates?

If you study such climates you will notice something common in all of them. They have high temperatures and infrequent rainfall. This suits French lavender well!

French lavender cannot tolerate cold, frost, or high rainfall. Unfortunately, this lavender is the least hardy of all lavenders. French lavender can only tolerate USDA zones 8 to 11.

Leaving your French lavender outdoors during winter will definitely end in death.

Because of its lack of tolerance for cold, French lavender is best for hot or moderate climates only! That’s if you want to grow it outdoors.

Bringing your lavender indoors may be enough to help it through winter. Plus, this lavender can even flower while indoors.

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4. Humidity

Humidity affects all lavenders.

If it is high, it negatively affects the plants. If it is low, it positively affects the plants. Monitoring the humidity will save your lavender plants as they are very sensitive to humidity changes.

Plus, high humidity between plants can harbor an environment that favors fungal growth.

It means that your lavender plants risk being infected by a fungus. Once this happens, your plant will start to change color as the infection becomes detrimental.

To avoid humidity issues, space your French lavender at a distance between 1 to 3 feet away.

Provide spacing depending on the variant of lavender you are growing. 1 foot for smaller lavender plants and 3 feet for larger lavender plants.

Providing this much space between plants will prevent high humidity. Air currents will be able to surround plants and remove moisture from the plant’s surface and the air.

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Also, sunlight will be able to encapsulate each plant and dry up the soil and air.

So, lack of sunlight can also contribute to high humidity. Choosing the right soil also helps to avoid overwatering and high humidity as you will find out.

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5. Soil

Choosing the best soil is highly important since it decides a few factors that directly affect the lavender plants grown in it.

Soil is responsible for having the right pH, adequate nutrients, as well as having excellent water draining ability.

Let’s discuss them separately, one at a time to understand them better.

Well-Draining Soils For French lavender

Don’t attempt to grow this lavender without well-draining soil. If there is one strict demand lavender makes, it is the soil requirements.

Unlike most other plants, lavenders hate to sit in moist soils. Especially those that create water-logging.

Overly wet soils can make roots rot (root rot) and prevent these vital parts from respiring. Microbial spores are already present in the soil.

If the soil becomes moist and warm, these spores can induce fungal root infections.

Soil pH

When measuring the exact properties of your soil, pH is a major feature. It determines the suitability of your soil for French lavender.

French lavender thrives in alkaline soils, but it should be above pH 7 and below pH 8. But in some instances, these plants will tolerate the mildest of acidic soils.

Don’t know what’s the pH of your garden soil? No worries, just use a store-bought soil test kit to get an accurate pH reading.

In case it turns out that your soil is acidic, it’s not the end of the world! You can amend your soil by adding lime.

Get horticultural lime from your local department store’s gardening section. Alternatively, you can buy it online without having to go out looking for it.

French Lavender Thrives In Poor To Medium Soils

Coming to the nutrient value present in the soil, the less the better for French lavender! Almost all plants love and flourish in nutrient-rich soils. However, French lavender plants (or all lavenders) are different.

But take a look at the soils in the Mediterranean, France, and Southern Europe. They are the same. Indeed, they all have sandy soils.

All sandy soils are naturally less fertile than regular soils due to the high sand and grit content.

Soils with low to medium fertility are best for lavender plants. Highly fertile soils could make your lavender plants leggy and reduce flowering tendencies.

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Choose the correct soil to avoid this from happening. After all, a beautiful and full lavender bloom is your ultimate goal!

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6. Fertilizer

French lavender plants are resourceful and are capable of finding nutrients themselves. They get them mostly from the soil.

But this doesn’t mean you should feed them! Their nutrient needs are very minimal and easy to over-feed.

So, in this case, it is best to let them be instead of giving them unwanted nutrients.

Avoid providing your French lavender plants with fertilizer. Since this will drastically affect their flowering ability.

Fertilizer doesn’t just refer to adding extra chemicals or solid material. Fertilizing material like compost can also be present in the soil.

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7. Pruning

Pruning French lavender has several advantages that you can’t afford to miss out on. Here they are:

  • It maintains a neat manageable shape
  • Stimulates growth of flower-bearing stems
  • Lengthens the life of your lavender plant by adapting the lower stem
  • Prevents leggy growth

People are usually split over when to prune French lavender. We suggest pruning them in Spring (early) and the Fall.

Prune in the fall if you are in a warmer climate with mild winters. Or, prune in early spring as this will encourage the growth of flowering stems.

Start off by pruning back ⅓ of the green growth, do not surpass this measurement! Cutting into the woody stem can reduce the strength and stemming potential of your lavender.

Pruning into the woody stem may even cause the splitting of the plant trunk.

Stick to the actual measurement to prevent any ill effects caused by over-pruning French lavender.

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How to Grow and Tips for Caring For French Lavender? - Grow Veggy (1)

Growing French Lavender In Pots

Of all the lavenders, French lavender, and particularly the dwarf variants are commonly selected as house plants. This lavender type grows well in pots.

If you live in a cold climate, bringing French lavender indoors is inevitable. They only tolerate USDA zones 8 to 11.

French lavender grows well in pots since they like the fast-draining capacity and warm temperatures available with it.

Here are some tips for growing French lavender in pots.

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  1. Choose a pot that is wide enough and deep enough, the preferable size is 12-16 inches in width and a depth no less than 10 inches. Plus the pot should be made from clay or terracotta to aid drying. Adequate drainage holes should be available on the bottom of the pot.
  2. A newly planted French lavender needs more watering than a mature plant. Water your mature plant once every two weeks.
  3. Placement counts. Avoid placing the pot in areas of high humidity (bathrooms and kitchens). Place them on a sunny window where the window only stays open for a few hours.
  4. Fertilizer is not required by these plants as they love poor soil.
  5. As for soil requirements, keep to a ratio of 70:30 (potting mix or soil: sand/grit)

Follow these growing and caring tips for potted French lavender and you can’t go wrong!

Best Time To Plant French Lavender

Naturally because of its intolerance towards winter (cold and frost), French lavender will be most suitable for warm climates.

So, these plants won’t have to worry about preparing for winter. This gives a wider window for which you can plant them.

The planting season for French lavender lasts from early spring through to the fall. But, the planting timing with the most benefits is in the early spring.

Why this timing? Planting in early spring allows the lavender to develop and anchor its roots.

Thereafter it will be able to source water and nutrients during the summer season. The plant will be more than ready to flower when summer arrives!

Summer planting should be avoided at all costs! This is because at the time of planting ‘transplant shock’ may occur.

If the French lavender suffers from this in summer, flower output will be poor due to stress.

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Conclusion

French lavender has similar requirements to most other lavender plant types. Except they are less hardy and more sensitive to overwatering.

Otherwise, they want more intense sunlight for long hours.

Soil pH must be between pH 7 and 8 with poor nutrient levels. Pruning is important and so is its timing.

A major part of caring for French lavender is keeping it sheltered from the cold as it only tolerates USDA zones 8 to 11.

Stay on track with these tips and hopefully, you will have a flowering French lavender plant that lives for years!

FAQs

How do you keep French lavender alive?

Keeping French lavender alive involves providing dry conditions and avoiding moisture and fertilizer. These plants are also incapable of surviving winters outdoors. You must plant them in pots and bring them indoors to help them stay alive.

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What are a few French lavender varieties/examples?

A few types of French lavender are:
Lavandula stoechas ‘Anouk’, Lavandula stoechas ‘Regal Splendour, Lavandula stoechas ‘Ballerina’

FAQs

How to Grow and Tips for Caring For French Lavender? - Grow Veggy? ›

It needs sunny, hot, dry conditions to flourish. Soil condition is the most important requirement to grow French lavender. It needs fast-draining, nutrient-poor, alkaline soil. Occasional pruning will help keep this lavender clean and blooming.

Where does French lavender grow best? ›

French lavender grows best in hot climates that experience mild winters. French lavenders are not cold hardy and will die if exposed to frost, snow, ice and freezing temperatures. Most French lavender varieties are hardy in USDA zones 7-11.

Do you cut back French lavender? ›

In terms of pruning, there is one core rule to follow: Only ever prune growth that still bears leaves. You should never cut into the wood of the plant (or it won't grow back) and it's important not to take too much away when cutting. Use secateurs when pruning as these will offer a good, clean cut.

How do I keep my lavender plant healthy? ›

Lavender Care

Plant lavender in full sun and well-drained soil (add organic matter to improve heavy soils). Starting with the proper conditions is essential for successfully growing lavender. Water plants deeply but infrequently, when the soil is almost dry. Prune every year immediately after bloom.

What is the trick to growing lavender? ›

Growing and Harvesting Lavender. Once established, lavender grows best with neglect. If you plant your lavender in a sunny spot in well-draining, slightly alkaline soil, maintain good airflow through pruning and don't overwater. Your lavender should grow beautifully.

How do you keep French lavender blooming? ›

Soil condition is the most important requirement to grow French lavender. It needs fast-draining, nutrient-poor, alkaline soil. Occasional pruning will help keep this lavender clean and blooming. Deadhead spent flowers to encourage more flowering.

How often should I water my French lavender? ›

Water generously once every three days for the first week and the once a week for the first 3 months. Scale back watering to once every two weeks for the first year. Once the plant is establish, French lavender often do not require any watering if outdoors and attain all the moisture they require from rain.

What happens if you don't prune lavender? ›

If you don't prune lavender, the plant will quickly become leggy and woody, and won't be able to hold its own weight very well. This means the stems will flop over when heavy with flowers, causing the plant to spread out and exposing more of the old wood in the plant.

What month do you prune lavender? ›

“Ideally, you should prune your lavender twice in a growing season — once in early spring and once in late summer, after it's done blooming,” she says. In early spring, Fedele suggests waiting until you see new growth before you prune. Then in late summer, after the plants have stopped blooming, prune again.

Why is my French lavender going brown? ›

Key Takeaways: Lavenders turn brown is because of root rot. The symptoms of root rot are brown, foliage, stems and even flowers. The cause of root rot is because there is too much moisture around the roots of the lavender as a result of slow draining soil or over watering.

Does lavender grow well in pots? ›

Lavender also grows quite well in containers. In the Deep South, it actually does better in pots, as it benefits from improved drainage and air circulation. While the plants thrive in arid Western climates, they are usually considered annuals in the South.

Why is my lavender plant dying? ›

The most common reasons for a Lavender plant dying are improper watering, over-fertilization, acidic soil pH, diseases, pests, or inadequate sunlight. Careful inspection of the plant and growing conditions are essential to help identify and fix the issue.

Do lavender plants need fertilizer? ›

More than it needs fertilizer, lavender prefers at least six to seven hours of full sun and well-drained soil. Established lavender needs fertilization only twice a year: once in the spring and fall. Lavender is appropriate for container planting and the same fertilization rules apply for lavender grown in pots.

How do you care for a potted lavender plant? ›

Place your container grown lavender plants somewhere they receive full sun (at least eight hours per day) and water them sparingly. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings, but don't let it get so dry that the plant wilts. Lavender likes heat, and many varieties won't survive a cold winter.

What pots grow well with lavender? ›

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  • Wild indigo.
  • Baby's breath.
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What do you feed French lavender? ›

Use a mix of one third each of soilless compost, John Innes No. 2 or 3 and coarse grit. For feeding, pop in a plug or two of slow release fertilizer, which should last all season.

How do you prune French lavender after flowering? ›

Pruning French Lavender - YouTube

Should I cut off dead lavender flowers? ›

Cutting the dead flowers off your lavender plant (​Lavandula​ spp.) is a good habit. Deadheading cleans up the appearance of the lavender plant, prevents the seeds from spreading and may prompt reblooming depending on the variety.

Why does my French lavender keep dying? ›

If you have lavender in pots dying it may be because the plant is over or underwatered, the soil is inconsistent with the plant's needs, the plant is too little, getting too much sunlight, or the plant may need to be fertilized. Again, cold temperatures may affect potted lavender.

Why is my French lavender leaves turning yellow? ›

Two very common reasons your lavenders can turn yellow are over fertilizing and overwatering. You should not give your plants too much nutrients and water. Other possible reasons your lavenders are turning yellow are soil pH, insufficient sunlight, compacted soil and disease.

Should lavender be cut back before winter? ›

Unpruned lavenders tend to become woody and have decreased blooms. However, lavender should not be pruned during the winter. Unlike many perennial plants and shrubs that can be pruned now, it is best to wait to prune lavender until after bloom in spring or in early fall before any danger of frost.

Can I prune lavender in March? ›

March through May, early spring is the best time to prune. Remove any dead branches all the way down to the hedge bottom. (see image) Following a harsh winter season as seen during the winter of 2013-14 (see 2014 Winter Blog) you may want to prune the entire lavender bush down to the bare woody hedge.

How many times a year does lavender bloom? ›

It often blooms twice in one season.

What to do with lavender after it blooms? ›

Lightly prune, harvest, or deadhead blooms throughout the growing season. Then towards the end of summer, prune the shrub into a rounded mound of foliage. Most gardening resources recommend taking off no more than one-third of the plant.

How long do lavender plants last? ›

When sited correctly and pruned judiciously, lavenders should live for five to seven years. Although lavender is fairly drought tolerant, adequate moisture is required throughout the growing season. Most critical are the weeks after planting to ensure that soil around the rootball does not dry out.

Is French lavender fast growing? ›

French Lavender has the more traditional gray leaves but with serrated edges. A large, fast growing shrub that is sometimes referred to as everblooming Lavender, French Lavender does best when kept at no more than three feet, including blooms.

Which is best French or English lavender? ›

English lavender is typically the most appealing variety when it comes to scent and is similar to rosemary. French lavender has a stronger fragrance with more pine notes, making it a popular choice for cleaning and home products. No smell is “better” than the other, it is largely based on individual preference.

How long does it take for French lavender to bloom? ›

When and How long does Lavender Bloom?
Lavender SpeciesWhen does it bloom?How long does it bloom for?
English lavenderMay/June4 weeks
French LavenderMay/JuneUp to 3 months until Fall
Hybrid lavenderJune/JulyUp to 2 months until late Summer

What to do with French lavender after flowering? ›

Pruning French Lavender - YouTube

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