Justin W. Hancock

Lovely Lavender

Lavender is one of the most beloved perennials around: It offers beautiful looks, has an outstanding fragrance, is a good food source for bees and butterflies, and offers exceptional drought tolerance. It can also be one of the most challenging if you don’t have the conditions right.

I can’t tell you how many gardeners I’ve talked to who have asked me to reveal the secret to growing this plant. Happily, it’s an easy one: Pick the right spot. In order to thrive, lavender needs a spot that sees full sun and has very well-drained soil.

The first place a lot of gardeners go wrong is planting it in wet clay. That, unfortunately, is a death sentence to lavender. If you only have heavy clay, don’t despair, though — there’s still hope. Growing lavender in containers, raised beds, or even elevated mounds of soil will help increase drainage tremendously.

Lavender is a pretty low-maintenance plant, so be cognizant not to give it too much love in the form of water and fertilizer. Give lavender more water than it needs, especially if you live in a climate with humid summers like I do, and it will sulk. I’ve had good luck with lavender near the edge of the eaves of my house — it gets less moisture than other plants in my yard because of the overhang. It doesn’t seem to mind one bit.

So there’s my secret to growing lavender. Comment below and let me know if you have any special tips for success with this plant!

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