Query: I’ve a lavender plant that has numerous useless wooden on it. I’d like to chop out the ugly wooden, however is that this a great time to take action? And do you’ve gotten any tips about caring for lavender?
Reply: Lavender, a perennial subshrub within the fragrant mint household, is a stunning addition to any panorama due to its eye-catching purple blooms and contrasting leaf coloration that give off a heavenly perfume.
Lavender can be a magnet for bees and different pollinators, particularly bumble bees whose lengthy tongues have a better time accessing the tubular flowers. Lavenders additionally don’t require a lot water and, as a result of they’ve few pest or illness issues, are low upkeep as effectively.
Flowers are available in a wide range of decisions — not solely dozens of purple shades, but in addition white, gentle pink and fuchsia.
Native to the mountainous areas north of the Mediterranean and hardy from zones 5-8, English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is so named as a result of it’s one of many few lavenders in a position to be grown in English gardens. English lavender grows in a mound form, 18 inches to 2 ft throughout. Older branches flip woody ultimately whereas new shoots, which develop flowers every year, are herbaceous.
Oil glands on the flower calyx produce many of the lavender oils that are utilized in scenting perfumes, shampoos and soaps. About 60 kilos of flowers are wanted to supply one pound of lavender oil. Sachets and potpourris make use of dried lavender flowers. There are lots of of types of English lavender, together with Hidcote, Munstead and Purple Bouquet.
One other species of lavender is Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas) which has a particular flower resembling a tiny purple pineapple. Since it’s native to Spain, Turkey and North Africa, it thrives in hotter, drier climates and isn’t as cold-hardy.
Spanish lavender wants a location in full solar, good drainage and air circulation across the plant, with solely average irrigation in the summertime. Mulching with pea gravel is most popular over bark mulch, and it prefers a barely acidic to impartial soil pH.
Its oils will not be as excessive in content material as English lavender. Spanish lavender has the bonus of flowering greater than as soon as, extending the colour present into the summer time months if pruned in early spring.
Lavender is a showy addition to any herb backyard, however may sparkle within the common residence panorama with cautious consideration given to website choice and upkeep. Lavender needs to be grouped with different vegetation resembling yarrow, rosemary, coneflower and sea thrift which have the identical sort of necessities resembling barely acidic soil pH, full solar, good drainage and low water.
Make sure to not crowd lavender with different perennials — give it area sufficient to breathe. Lavender doesn’t like excessive humidity, so inserting it amongst rocks, close to a south-facing stone wall or close to a scorching concrete sidewalk or driveway will hold it completely satisfied.
Now to your query on pruning lavender. Since lavender flowers on new progress, you need to plan on pruning yearly after it’s established. Prune the bush again in early spring when inexperienced leaves start to emerge from the bottom, being cautious to not prune into useless wooden. Take away roughly 1/3 off the highest.
It will hold the plant younger and vigorous, encouraging compact progress. A lightweight summertime pruning after bloom will encourage re-blooming. Most lavender vegetation can maintain their form for a minimum of 10 years if pruned usually.
Relying on the quantity of useless wooden in your lavender, you might prune it again to eight inch stubs, inside three units of leaves on the stems, however do that solely in March or early spring. This heavy pruning requires fertilizer and extra water to encourage new progress on the woody stems.
In case you don’t get any new progress in two months after doing so, you could want to simply change the entire plant, and decide to a extra common, yearly pruning for the brand new lavender. Plant new lavender within the fall, 2-3 ft aside, if planting multiple.
When harvesting the blooms and stems, do that within the morning hours when the oils are essentially the most concentrated and half of the flower buds have opened. Lower the stems so long as potential, forming bundles of stems, and securing them with rubber bands which is able to contract because the stems dry out. Dangle the bundles of harvested lavender in a cool, darkish place which has good air circulation ‘til totally dried.
It’s straightforward to see why lavender has been such a well-liked herb for hundreds of years with its soothing perfume, medicinal properties and putting coloration. Lavender is a good alternative for any backyard.
Contact the Douglas County Grasp Gardeners through electronic mail at email@example.com, by cellphone at 541-672-4461 or go to 1134 SE Douglas Ave., Roseburg.