How to Grow Lavender in Containers

Lavenders are an easy to care for flowering shrub renowned for their sweet scent and calming purple color. Growing lavender in containers can be an incredibly rewarding experience, both in terms of the fragrant beauty it adds to your garden and the therapeutic effects it can have on your well-being.

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, let’s learn some simple steps to cultivate lavenders successfully in containers.

Lavender plant growing in a pink pot.

Does lavender grow well in containers?

Lavender is a great choice for container gardens, as it’s an easy-care perennial that offers year-round interest and fragrance. Any variety of lavender will thrive in a container, however, some are more suitable than others. Fast-flowering varieties, including Dwarf Blue, Munstead, Hidcote, Sweet, Sharon Roberts, and Lavender Lady, keep a manageable size in containers.

The ideal containers for growing lavender are made of ceramic, clay, or terracotta since they tend to be thicker and less heat-conductive than plastic and metal pots, which helps them withstand winter frost damage. Because they are porous, ceramic, clay, and terracotta also help the soil to dry uniformly and prevent root rot.

Small lavender plant growing in a brown pot.

How big of a container does lavender need?

The best size container for growing lavender depends on a few factors, such as how many plants you want to grow and how tall they are expected to get. A good rule of thumb is to use a pot at least 6 inches deep with adequate drainage holes. For one or two shorter varieties of lavender, a 12-inch diameter pot would work well; however, if you are planting more than two or taller varieties, opt for an 18-inch wide pot instead. 

Additionally, make sure that whatever type of pot you select has drainage holes in order to prevent root rot from overwatering. When it comes to planting lavender, the size of the container you choose is just as important as the type of soil and location you choose. The right size container will ensure that your lavender gets enough moisture and nutrients while also having enough space for growth. 

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How do you take care of a potted lavender plant?

To ensure your lavender plant stays healthy and blooms beautiful flowers, here are some tips on properly taking care of it. 

  • Provide proper drainage: When selecting a pot for your lavender plant, choose one well-draining with plenty of holes in the bottom to allow excess water to drain out. Ensure the soil you use contains adequate drainage material like sand or peat moss. Lavenders prefer soils with a pH level between 6 and 7.5, so be mindful when fertilizing that you don’t overdo it, as too much fertilizer can cause root burn.
  • Water regularly: Lavender should be given a very thorough soak every one to two weeks so that any extra water runs out the pot’s drainage holes. In order to reach the moisture pushes the roots to enlarge deeper into the earth, which strengthens the lavender’s tolerance to drought.
  • Use the best potting mix: A blend of 70% compost and 30% horticultural sand or grit is the ideal potting soil for lavender plants. This compost-to-sand ratio matches the sandy soil conditions of the lavender’s natural habitat and the porous, light, aerated soil structure that permits effective root respiration and good drainage.
  • Provide enough sunlight: Put your potted lavender in a spot that receives direct sunlight. In the Mediterranean, lavender has evolved specifically to grow in conditions of 6 hours or more of bright sunlight. The scent from a lavender plant’s leaves grows stronger with more sunlight.
  • Prune: All varieties of lavender need to be pruned every year to lengthen their lives and keep them from looking scrawny. Cut back the top third of the lavender plant’s growth in the early spring or the fall. Aim for a rounded, compact shape to assist it in better withstanding weather and guarantee that the lavender blooms are presented uniformly.
  • Avoid fertilizing: Lavender in pots doesn’t need fertilizer. Lavenders are adapted to the sandy, low-fertility soil of their native Mediterranean setting, where plants flourish. Fertilizer makes lavender produce fewer flowers, lose its scent, and become languid.

Does potted lavender grow back every year?

Potted lavender will survive from season to season if given enough light and enough water. When temperatures are high, check your plant’s soil regularly to ensure it isn’t drying out. Additionally, pruning back faded stems will help promote new growth in the springtime. 

Lavendar plant growing in a pot indoors.

Can I leave potted lavender outside in winter?

Most types of potted lavender are hardy to USDA zone 5 or 6, which is a relatively mild climate. If you live in an area that receives snow during the winter, it’s best to bring your plants indoors since freezing temperatures can damage their roots and leaves. 

However, if you live in a mild climate that rarely experiences frost or extended periods below freezing temperatures, then leaving your potted lavender outdoors year-round is possible as long as it’s situated in a protected spot away from heavy winds and rain.

How long can lavender live in pots?

Lavender has the potential to live several years when grown in pots if it is given proper care throughout its lifespan. The two most common types of lavender are English Lavender and French Lavender. These varieties differ greatly in terms of their lifespan; English lavenders usually last between three to five years when potted, while French lavenders can last up to seven years with proper care.

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