Lavender 'Hidcote'

How to grow lavender

Find out how to plant, propagate and care for this aromatic shrub in our comprehensive lavender Grow Guide.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Plant
Plant

Do Plant in January

Do Plant in February

Do Plant in March

Do Plant in April

Do Plant in May

Do not Plant in June

Do not Plant in July

Do not Plant in August

Do not Plant in September

Do Plant in October

Do Plant in November

Do Plant in December

Flowers
Flowers

Plant does not flower in January

Plant does not flower in February

Plant does not flower in March

Plant does not flower in April

Plant does not flower in May

Plant does not flower in June

Plant does flower in July

Plant does flower in August

Plant does flower in September

Plant does not flower in October

Plant does not flower in November

Plant does not flower in December

Prune
Prune

Do not Prune in January

Do not Prune in February

Do not Prune in March

Do not Prune in April

Do not Prune in May

Do not Prune in June

Do not Prune in July

Do Prune in August

Do Prune in September

Do not Prune in October

Do not Prune in November

Do not Prune in December

This evergreen shrub is grown for its powerful scent, attraction to bees, culinary uses and flowers that can be picked and dried. Plants are either hardy, half-hardy or tender.

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Lavenders are popular container plants and are often used in formal gardens as a low-growing hedge. Expect tender plants to live for about five years and hardy types for 15.

Discover how to grow lavender with help from our comprehensive grow guide.

Lavender enjoys an open site in full sun and copes well in drought conditions.
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French lavender in pots

Where to plant lavender

Lavender enjoys an open site in full sun and copes well in drought conditions. In wet, heavy soils they may suffer. To avoid this improve the soil before planting by digging in horticultural grit. The ideal soil type is a well-drained, neutral to alkaline soil. Lavenders are not as happy on acidic soil, apart from Lavandula stoechas.

It’s sensible to grow half-hardy and tender types in containers so that they can be moved to a light, airy frost-free place in winter.

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Planting lavender in pots

How to plant lavender

The best time to plant tender lavender is in spring. Hardy types can also be planted in autumn.

On heavy, wet soils plant on a mound to help the plant cope with the wet. Plant at the same depth as the plant was in its pot. Add a sprinkling of bonemeal to the planting hole, place the plants in the hole, backfill and firm in. Water well.

When planting in containers choose terracotta pots with drainage holes. Fill pots with a John Innes no. 2 or 3 and mix in some horticultural grit. Pots should be placed in a sunny spot away from overhanging trees and shrubs.

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Lavender cuttings

Propagating lavender

Semi-ripe cuttings can be taken in late summer. Remove non-flowering cutting material of about 10cm long with a woody base and a tip with new growth. Pull off some of the lower leaves. Fill plastic pots with cutting compost, water and then push the cuttings into the compost. About 1cm should be below the soil. Cover pots with a clear plastic bag and place in a light and airy place. A greenhouse is ideal.

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Lavender in flower

Lavender: problem solving

Lavender can be become very leggy and bare few flowers. The reason for this is lack of or poor pruning. Many gardeners just deadhead hardy types which leads to leggy plants and few flowers. Looked after in this way the plant will be very short lived.

To rejuvenate a woody plant, prune in mid-August to just above a green shoot and hope for the best. If new shoots don’t appear within the next month you might be better off starting again.

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Pruning lavender in summer

Care

Hardy lavenders (angustifolia and x intermedia types) can be left in the garden all year round. Prune plants after flowering in August. Plant will benefit from being cut back quite hard as long as there are green shoots evident below your cut. Cut into old wood and you may sacrifice flowers the following year. If you cut out all evidence of shoots it is likely you’ll finish the plant off. Hardy types can cope with temperatures down to about -15°C.

Frost hardy types, such as Lavendula stoechas, flower for a long season. These plants survive in the garden if they’re in a sheltered spot and it’s a mild winter. Prune after their first flush of flowers have faded and avoid pruning any later than early September.

If growing the more unusual tender types, such as the Lavandula denata, deadhead and only prune as above if the plants are becoming scruffy.

Lavender lifespan

Lavenders are not long-lived plants. If pruned correctly hardy types can live for up to 15 to 20 years. 

Secateurs
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Lavandula angustifolia ‘Arctic Snow’

Great lavender varieties to grow

  • Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’ – a hardy lavender. Popular for its long-flowering period from July to September. Often used as a low hedge. When in flower reaches 60cm in height
  • Lavandula stoechas ‘Purple Emperor’ – a frost-tender type with dark purple flowers with petal-like ears above. Flowers from late spring for months. Height 55cm
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