In this video, Arbor Gate’s Beverly Welch and Ann Wheeler of Log House Herbs give us tips on growing lavender in Texas.
– [Beverly] Hi. Welcome to the Arbor Gate. I’m Beverly Beverly Welch here in Tomball with our dear friend, Ann Wheeler of Log House Herbs. So Ann is here today to help us with a plant that we get requested for almost more than anything else and that is lavender.
– [Ann] It’s a beloved favorite and I think a lot of that has to do with the wonderful scent.
– [00:00:30] Ow. Absolutely. And the essential oils and how important that is to people these days.
– So here in the Gulf Coast, we do have specific varieties that will endure our climate better than others.
– So which ones do you recommend?
– Okay. These are the five that are my favorites for this climate for our soil, our humidity, our heat and so forth. So they’re not all [00:01:00] the lavenders in the world and there are some that are not represented here but let me just run down the names and then we can talk about them. This first one here is Goodwin Creek. It’s often labeled Goodwin Creek Grey. And that is unusual because many grey-leafed plants don’t like our humidity.
– That’s true. That’s so true.
– But this has been very reliable here. And then the next one is Spanish lavender which is also very reliable in our climate and if you’ll [00:01:30] notice this one already has buds on it and it will bloom very very reliably. Sweet lavender is another favorite. There are some commonalities between all of these but sweet lavender you can always identify by the very smooth edges of the leaves. And then an old favorite is French lavender, this is Lavandula and it is very very [00:02:00] fragrant Beverly and it blooms well, it will survive our summers, it’s just not as happy as some of the others but it’s worth having in a pot somewhere. And also Goodwin Creek is… This is a smaller example of the more mature one which is obviously becoming more of the grey colors as the leaves mature.
– As the leaves mature?
– Okay. Perfect.
– So those five have a great deal of ability to survive.
– [00:02:30] So here in the Gulf Coast, we can plant them in-ground?
– And what are your recommendations as far as site location, soil preparation, and mulch?
– Okay. First of all, let me start out by saying don’t expect your lavenders to live more than two to maybe three years.
– I’m so glad you said that.
– We just often expect them to become a standard shrub in our garden and to live forever and it’s best not to expect that. It’s not going to [00:03:00] happen. Okay. So…
– We get a sunny location…
– We get a sunny location, we get really well-draining soil, top of the list well-draining and put it someplace where you can water it by hand rather than where a lawn sprinkler’s going to hit it. This plant, no matter which one you choose, doesn’t like overhead watering. If you have it nearby you can hold your watering can or your sprinkler [00:03:30] close to the soil. And having said that, let me mention that Madeline Hill taught us to mulch with gravel, to mulch lavender with gravel because the water that you spray on it can run through these stones, the sun will warm the stones and they will help to project heat upwards and dry these lower leaves which are usually what you see turning black. Yeah.
– And I think that’s what happens [00:04:00] to people in the summer here. We get into a rainy period it literally almost cooks them.
– Yes. It does. The heat plus the wetness. So whatever we can do to keep the plant, in general, the flowage dry from the ground up. And this is shale, expanded shale. You can also use pebbles, pea gravel, and you can even use that little tiny limestone, crunchy a little.
– Nice. So a good look you can make.
– Put it as a mulch around the top of the pot if you’re planting them in a pot or in a circle in the bed around the plant. And both of those ways will certainly help the lavender.
– So in a container, again, we can expect it maybe two, three years?
– Would you recommend when you start out with something this small that we go first of all to about a six or an eight-inch container?
– Would that be about correct?
That’s about right. And that’s where I… I probably [00:05:00] wouldn’t put one in a great huge pot, to begin with, but I think those of us who garden in containers understand that you have to look at the roots and you have to say okay. There’s still plenty of root room here. After a year or two, there may not be and that’s when you know…
– And that’s when you bump it up?
– Bump it up a bit. Yeah.
– So container gardening with the lavender really is a great way to go to increase your air circulation.
– You can control your moisture a little bit [00:05:30] better, how and when it’s watered. So container gardening with lavender is a great idea as well.
– It is. It is. I really like doing it myself. That way also when these plants get covered with blooms you can set them near the front door and you can put them where people will brush up against them and really enjoy the fragrance while you have it.
– Now, it’s so important that you do get good well-draining soil and Soil Complete obviously has shale in it but what about fertilization?
– Lavender doesn’t need [00:06:00] to be fertilized often. In fact, too much fertilizing causes a lot of rank growth to happen which it’s prone to in our climate anyway. So I really only fertilize mine maybe once or twice a year. So using something like the Arbor Gate blend that’s a slow-release organic is the way to go?
– I plant with that mixed into my soil, to begin with so it’s a half a year before I feel like I need to fertilize again.
– So really these are very [00:06:30] low maintenance plants. The key to success is location location location.
– Yes, it is. And drainage drainage drainage and watering watering watering. Very very low maintenance. I think that it’s a plant that you need to cast your shadow on quite often. And remember that this plant is unusual in the fact that it only blooms on what we call new wood where the stems have been [00:07:00] sheared back and new stems have grown. And that job needs to happen in the winter in the cold months before you see any new growth starting. This is a perfect example of one that needs pruning back and I’m going to say about to here, about a third of that upright growth can go, a little bit less on these. And, you know, prune for looks also.
– So you’re going to make it… You’re going to increase the amount of [00:07:30] new wood by pruning and then you’re just going to make it a full lush plant?
– Much fuller and all of it will be more accessible to the sun when it’s pruned back like this.
– And then you can take that inside.
– Yes, indeed, And, you know, if you were in Great Britain during winter months you’d see everybody’s lavenders cut off and looking just like this.
– Perfect. Well, thank you so much, Ann. Let’s go plant some lavenders.
– Let’s do. It’s too late.