Lavender is traditionally a mediterranean plant, which is quite happy in British garden conditions provided a few basic rules are followed.
All Lavender needs well drained soil. On heavy soils it is best to incorporate gravel or small stones into the soil around and under the plant to improve drainage. Planting on a slight mound can also help. Lavender likes poorer thin soil than rich soils, so do not be tempted to mix in large amounts of organic matter. If planting in a container or pot ensure there are adequate drain holes in the bottom and filling the bottom quarter with small stones will also help.
A south facing sunny position is Lavender’s favourite place. The bracts on the top of stoechas are delicate and are best sheltered from persistent wind. Many stoechas are more sensitive to frost and so make ideal container plants that can be placed in a conservatory during the worst of the winter weather. However, with the milder winters that we are now experiencing it is now possible for some of the stoechas varieties to be planted outside all year round.
For hedges 18 inches apart for most of the varieties. For Intermedia and larger types 22 inches. Smaller types such as Pink and Stoechas 16 inches.
Groups of 3 planted together in a border will grow to form a mass of colour
Dig the hole slightly deeper than necessary, pour in 1 bucket of water and allow it soak away before planting. Moisten the compost before removing the pot. Plant just deep enough to allow a thin covering of soil over the top of the compost to retain moisture. Firm gently ensuring there is no depression next to the plant for water to accumilate in.
This should be unnecessary after planting except in very dry conditions, when for a few weeks an occasional light watering may be required. Plants in containers will need to be watered throughout the summer months.
It is important to prune Lavender in the autumn to ensure vigorous growth the following year. As the colours start to fade in late august / early September prune back to within a hand’s distance of woody material. This may appear brutal but in fact is vital to the plant’s survival without it going ‘woody’. Stoechas varieties require ‘dead-heading’ throughout the year to keep the plant healthy along with its autumn trim.