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Lavender is a well-loved perennial shrub that many gardeners grow in their garden, both traditional gardens, kitchens, and container gardens.
Lavender is perhaps one of the more well-known herbs that is grown in households because it has so many uses such as potpourri, aromatherapy, essential oils, soaps, and some gourmet recipes.
Lavender is also used as a companion plant in gardens to help bring in beneficial pollinators. And growing lavender in a container makes it even easier to use lavender as a companion plant since you can move it around to where you need it.
In this article, we go over how to grow lavender in a pot. We’ll answer questions about what size pot lavender needs, how much sun, and how much water your lavender will need in a container.
- Does Lavender Grow Well In A Pot?
- Soil For Growing Lavender in a Container
- Watering Lavender In a Pot
- What Size Pot is Needed for Lavender?
- How Much Sun Does Lavender Need When Grown In a Container?
- Mulch for Lavender in a Pot
- Overwintering Lavender in Pots
- How To Prune Lavender Growing in a Pot
- Frequently Asked Questions About Growing Lavender in Pots
Does Lavender Grow Well In A Pot?
Almost all types of lavender plants can grow well in containers when cared for properly.
There are some things you need to know when it comes to growing lavender in a pot, such as soil type, the right pot size, and what to do with them during the winter.
Lavender usually grows well in pots due to the ability of the soil being able to drain better than ground soil. This of course requires the right type of soil and ensuring you have a container that allows for drainage.
Soil For Growing Lavender in a Container
Lavender isn’t too picky about the soil, except for drainage. When choosing soil for lavender that is going to be growing in a container you want to make sure that you choose well-draining soil.
Lavender that is sitting in soggy soil will result in rot, and this can cause you to lose your plant.
Watering Lavender In a Pot
Watering a lavender plant in a pot is different than watering a lavender plant that is growing in the ground.
Lavender is known for its drought tolerance. It is able to withstand long periods without water when it is growing in the ground due to its extensive root system. With the root system that it grows in the ground, it is able to uptake water from a much bigger area.
However, when grown in a container lavender is not able to grow the root system that it needs to withstand drought.
Water your lavender plant when the soil in the container is dry to the touch in the top few inches. Give it a good drenching when you do water it, you should water until the water runs out of the bottom of the pot. But do not leave it sitting in water, this can lead to root rot.
What Size Pot is Needed for Lavender?
It’s important to choose the right pot for your lavender plants. You want a pot that will provide good drainage. And if you are keeping your potted lavender inside, make sure that you have a plant saucer under your pot so you don’t get excess water on your floor.
The size of the pot that lavender needs depends on the type of lavender you are growing. Lavender plants can range in size depending on the type, anywhere from 1 to 3 feet tall.
For the smaller plants, the smallest container that you should grow lavender is about 10 to 12 inches across or about 3 gallons.
But even bigger is better. Using a pot that is about 14 to 16 inches across is best. That would be in the range of 7 to 10 gallon pots.
Having a pot that is too small will make it hard to keep your lavender watered enough. Too small of a pot and you will find that you have to water the lavender several times a day when it is out in the hot sun in the summer.
If you ware wanting to overwinter your potted lavender outside you will need a bigger pot, at least 16 inches wide (or 10 gallons). This will help the plant have enough soil to keep the roots insulated from the cold.
How Much Sun Does Lavender Need When Grown In a Container?
Regardless of if lavender is grown in the ground or container it still needs the same amount of sunlight.
Lavender prefers full sun, so make sure that you let the plant get at least 8 hours of direct sunlight per day.
This is where an advantage of growing lavender in pots comes in. If you have a container that you are able to move around, this gives you a better opportunity to make sure the plant is getting adequate sunlight if you have a smaller area such as a balcony or small patio.
Smaller spaces tend to shorten the amount of sunlight one spot gets, so when growing plants in pots you can adjust their position to allow the right amount of sunlight.
If lavender doesn’t get enough sunlight it can reduce the growth and the fragrance of the plant.
Mulch for Lavender in a Pot
Just like when you grow lavender in a flower bed or garden it is a good idea to mulch.
However, mulching lavender is a bit different. You don’t want to use a dark color mulch, use a light-colored mulch instead. This allows light to be reflected, which will help provide more defense against built-up moisture that can cause things like root rot.
The best mulch to use for lavender is white landscaping pebbles. Turkey grits will also work. You will want to put a 2 inch layer of your selected mulch on top of the soil in the pot.
Overwintering Lavender in Pots
With a bit of extra care, lavender in pots can overwinter. You will have to bring them inside, even if it is a sheltered porch, in order to protect the plant from the harsh winds during the wintertime.
If the roots are not frozen when it is overwintering you will want to water the plant every few weeks. If it is in a place where it does freeze then hold off on watering the plant until it thaws.
You will want to make sure that the plant is still getting sunlight even when being sheltered during the winter.
Do not fertilize lavender during this time. Wait until the spring when you see new growth.
How To Prune Lavender Growing in a Pot
Pruning is a requirement no matter where lavender is growing.
How you prune your lavender will depend on the type of lavender you are growing.
English Lavender: Prune once after the first flowering and again in late August. Cut back to the height of the bottom 2 sets of leaves.
English Hybrid Lavender: Prune only once in late August. Cut the plant back to half of its height.
French or Spanish Lavender: These types of lavenders are more sensitive to pruning. You do not want to cut these back drastically. Just trim and deadhead these lavender types after the first flowers start to fade.
Frequently Asked Questions About Growing Lavender in Pots
As long as you overwinter your lavender properly it will come back the following year. Pruning is also necessary in order for lavender plants to remain healthy and regrow properly.
It is best to only plant one lavender plant per pot, even if you got a large pot. Lavender plants are capable of growing to the size of a small shrub. Too many plants in a container will cause them to compete for root space.
French and Spanish lavenders need to be taken inside during the winter unless you live in Zone 8 or warmer. English lavender can survive winters in Zones 5 and warmer. Even in these zones where it can overwinter, when the lavender is in a pot it is best to bring it into a sheltered area where it won’t be exposed to harsh winter winds and weather.
Yes, lavender plants need full sunlight. You want to aim for at least 8 hours of sunlight each day for your lavender plants.
Depending on the type of lavender plant, it can live for up to 15 years if cared for properly. The more tender varieties such as French or Spanish lavenders don’t live as long, usually only around 5 years. The hardy varieties, such as English lavender can live 15 years.
- Lavandula × intermedia ‘Grosso’, MissouriBotanicalGarden.org
- Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’, MissouriBotanicalGarden.org
- Lavandula angustifolia ‘Buena Vista’ , MissouriBotanicalGarden.org
- Growing Lavender in Central Virginia, https://piedmontmastergardeners.org/article/growing-lavender-in-central-virginia/