Lavender is indigenous to the Mediterranean area and is a perennial herb plant, with a heavenly fragrance, that grows best in climates that don't have a lot of high heat or humidity. If planted under the right conditions, it is a relatively easy plant to grow. It prefers a well-drained soil that is somewhat sandy, not rich in humus, and slightly alkaline (pH factor between 6.0 and 8.0). It loves full sun and rarely needs to be fertilized.
There are hundreds of different varieties of lavender; each one with its own special quality such as plant or flower size, flower or leaf color, fragrance or hardiness. Although lavender is usually associated with shades of blue, plants are available in varying hues of purple and lilac, white, pink, mauve and even yellow.
You can plant lavender in spring or fall in well-drained, slightly alkaline, sandy soil. Planting on mounds or in raised beds can help to promote good drainage if your soil isn't ideal. Select a sunny location, allow enough space for growth and good air circulation and plant with other plants that have similar water requirements. Add about one-half cup each of bone meal and chicken manure into the soil, mix well; place the plants in the holes; give them some water and watch your lavender plant grow. Water plants regularly the first year to ensure that they root well in their new surroundings and then they will be hardy and drought tolerant and need little or no water. Generally, Mother Nature can take care of the watering. Be careful not to over water since they don't like "wet feet." Depending on the variety and mature size of the lavender plants you choose, the plants should be planted 2-4 feet apart. In general, the use of fertilizers in not necessary and may cause excessive leaf growth and minimal blooms. I do, however, dig-in a small amount of bone meal (1/2 cup each) around my plants each spring. Flower stalks should be cut off the first year to encourage plant development rather than flower production.
Beneficial Properties of Lavender
The charming city of Sequim (pronounced "Skwim"), in Washington State, is located on the majestic Olympic Peninsula and offers the perfect climate for growing lavender. The climate conditions are said to be similar to those in the famed lavender growing regions in France, making Sequim the North American capital of lavender production. Fields of lavender are the crop of choice for many small farms in Sequim. Lavender is in full bloom generally from June through September and every year it's such a treat to see the beautiful purple fields swaying in the breeze.
Each year, beginning on Friday of the the third weekend in July, thousands of people arrive to celebrate lavender at the three day annual Sequim Lavender Festival. Every visitor is invited to experience lavender and treat their senses during its peak performance. A great way to experience "all things lavender", is to stroll through the many vendor booths, including Let's Do Lavender, at the Lavender Street Fair. There you will find anything and everything lavender offered by local lavender enthusiasts whose products have been selected for their high quality. Many local lavender farms are open to the public so you can roam through fields of blooming lavender, pick fresh bouquets, learn about the plant and techniques for growing, caring for, harvesting and using this wonderful plant.
Lavender has been used medicinally for centuries and is reputed to have many relaxing and healing properties. It has been known to help:
Calm the nerves