Lavandula angustifolia
English Lavender
Type/Hardiness Herbaceous, Perennial, Hardy
Flowering period Summer
Height 36-72in/1-2m
Light preference Sun
Soil preference Any, but light, well-drained preferred
Sowing time/depth Late-winter/early spring, Barely cover
Although lavender seed will not come true, but will produce plants with some variation in colour and form, unless you plan to make a formal feature in your garden this can be a plus... a mass planting of lavender grown from seed, with colours ranging from light mauve to deep purple, and differences in habit, can be very attractive in a garden of less rigid design. And you may even discover a real gem that you can then propagate from cuttings!
Sowing and/or growing instructions
Sow very thinly from late winter to early spring, in a seed tray or pots, covering with a light sprinkling of sieved compost or fine vermiculite (light will aid germination), in a greenhouse. Keep the compost moist, but never waterlogged. Germination should occur in 21-30 days. Some sources recommend stratifying the seed in a fridge for a few weeks, but this should not really be necessary. To prevent legginess, ensure that seedlings receive enough light. Wait until they have a few sets of true leaves before transplanting into small pots or modules. Pinch out the young plants to encourage branching. When plants are 3 or 4 inches tall they will be ready to harden off and plant out, 12-24in/30-60cm apart. Make sure that you choose a site with well-drained soil, as lavender does not like to have wet feet. Although lavender can grow to a height of as much as 6 feet/ 2 metres, it is more usually regularly trimmed to keep it compact and dense.
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