Tips for Growing, Cooking and Decorating with Lavender
Grow lavender in your yard
Native to the Mediterranean, lavender thrives in full sun (eight hours a day is preferred) and well-drained soil. Kieran O’Connor of Willowfield Lavender Farm in Mooresville, Indiana, recommends a soil mix of one-third each of garden soil, sand or pea gravel, and organic compost. Add lime to increase soil pH (6.5 to 7.5 is ideal). Space plants 2 to 3 feet apart for good air circulation. Water regularly until established. After first bloom, prune and add more lime each spring.
Lavender plants should grow for seven to 10 years in the Midwest. Avoid varieties labeled as annuals or Spanish lavenders; they won’t survive our cold winters, says Jody Byrne, co-owner of Daybreak Lavender Farm in Streetsboro, Ohio. Click to the next slides for recommended English lavenders (Lavandula angustifolia) and lavandins (a hybrid lavender), which are easy to find and grow in our region; all are hardy to Zone 5.