Lavender is known for its ability to combat and survive heat and drought, so it’s a great plant to add to your garden’s arsenal this summer. This aromatic perennial needs well-draining soil and sun for starters, and one of the easiest ways to provide the former is by growing it in a pot!
Also, by growing your lavender in a pot you can move it around as the seasons change to wherever gets the strongest sunlight on the patio. Note: If you live in a humid climate, sunlight is very important to keep your lavender dry.
From potting to picking, here’s your five-step guide to growing lavender:
You want your pot to have multiple drainage holes because the roots will rot if they stay wet. Make sure the pot does not have an attached saucer below it – you don’t want anything retaining water near your plant. Also, lavender likes tight spaces, where the roots can snuggle into the soil.
Use a well-draining, alkaline soil like Miracle Grow’s Moisture Control Potting Mix. (If it’s your first time at Home Depot, “well-draining, alkaline soil” is common vernacular in the garden section.) Well-draining mixes generally have sand or clay within to keep things nice and dry. Chalky, alkaline soils are known for bringing out the fragrance in plants that can be used for their essential oils.
A layer of Styrofoam packing peanuts or gravel sets a nice, aerated base for the roots. From there, you can pot the plant as normal surrounding the roots with your soil.
This can be tricky, as you never want to water the soil when it’s wet, but if your lavender dries out it will be difficult to nurse back to life. Although they are incredibly drought resistant plants, it’s good to start out checking the soil every day; and when it’s dry, give just enough water to moisten the dirt. Depending on your climate (humid vs. dry) you will need to water accordingly, as well.
All plants grown in a container need some fertilizer. Nutrients are washed out of the soil every time you water, and it’s more difficult for potted plants to re-nourish themselves because they will never develop the eco system your garden bed can. Fertilizer that contains nitrogen and calcium will also strengthen the smells coming from your lavender. Some soils have slow-release fertilizer pellets, which is another solid option.