Lavender is used for a variety of olfactory, medicinal, and bouquet uses. It has been used since ancient times and is a common ingredient in various oils and fragrances.
Soil and fertilizer conditions play an important role in the overall quality and potency of essential oils made from the lavender plant.
Drier regions and climates make excellent environments to grow lavender in. Places like Mexico, Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico are great for growing lavender.
Lavender is not picky about its soil conditions and can grow in soils that most crops can’t. Below is a picture of sea lavender that can be seen growing in coastal areas in rocky or sandy soil that has poor nutrient levels and low water retaining capacity.
Best Fertilizers for Lavender
The lavender plant thrives in poor soil conditions and doesn’t need much fertilizer. An all-purpose fertilizer added once at the beginning of the season, once when the plants start to bloom, and one more time at the end of the season is a good fertilizer schedule for lavender.
An all-purpose fertilizer has a good amount of the big three nutrients, N-P-K, and the other necessary secondary nutrients.
The all-purpose fertilizers I recommend are Organic Plant Magic. It has beneficial bacterias and a good amount of different organic materials. And the other one is a standard fertilizer Jack’s Classic that measures 20-20-20 and is water soluble.
If you can find a fertilizer with a ratio of 2:1:1, twice as much nitrogen as phosphorous and potassium that’d be ideal for small lavender plants in their first year of growth.
Mature plants past their third year of growth require less fertilizer. This is because lavender originates from dry, rocky regions with poor soil.
Low-nitrogen fertilizers work well for mature lavender plants, but a balanced all-purpose fertilizer also works.
An important thing to remember is that lavender actually prefers nutrient-poor soil. Once the plants are mature, past their third year of growth, fertilizing them twice a year is all they should need.
Add fertilizer once in the early spring just before or as new growth begins to grow and once again in the late summer or fall.
Over fertilizing may cause potential issues like not flowering, breaking in the middle of the plant, or even the death of the plant.
Best Soil for Lavender Plants
The best soil for lavender is well-draining sandy loam and/or rocky soil high in gravel content. An important factor is that the soil is “light” low or free of clay and well draining.
“Introduction to Commercial Lavender Production” is a pdf put out by Washington State University about growing lavender. On page 10 there is a triangular graph that shows the different combinations that soil can be out of the 3 major components of soils: sand, silt, and clay.
On page 14 of the same pdf it says that lavender lives the longest in soil that is low in calcium and phosphorous, low/medium in potassium, medium in magnesium, and high in gravel content.
The best kind of soil for lavender is light, has good drainage, and is also low in organic matter levels. Lavender is unique in that it can grow in alkaline-rich, and rocky soil that other crops wouldn’t normally thrive in.
Lavender was first grown in regions like the Mediterranean, Middle East, and India where the soil quality is dry, and rocky so keep that in mind when preparing the soil to plant lavender in.
Therefore, when planning to grow lavender it is best to recreate conditions that it favors. Soil quality doesn’t need to be great for lavender as long as drainage, pH levels, and some addition of nutrients is added.
Best Soil for Lavender Plants in Pots
The potting soil I recommend is Organic Plant Magic or Miracle Gro. Either of these potting soils has enough nutrients to last small lavender plants for about a year and other garden plants that produce vegetables or fruits for a growing season.
Best Soil pH for Lavender Plants
The best soil pH levels for lavender plants are between 6.5 and 7.5. You will always need to do a soil test before planting lavender in order to create the proper conditions for optimal growth.
Lavender plants prefer a neutral pH soil so you should do a soil test to create the proper balance in order to grow successfully.
Adding lime may be necessary in some cases to raise the soil pH. Conducting a soil test can help you determine the necessary additions based on your current soil.
The pH scale is used to determine acidic to alkaline levels. Different plants thrive under different conditions, but the lavender plant sits near the middle.
Typically a neutral soil of 7 is where lavender will thrive. If the soil you are working with is too acidic, you may consider adding calcitic lime, whereas if the soil is too high you can add sulfur or other organic materials.
Improper pH levels will prevent proper growth by blocking the plant from uptaking nutrients that are in the soil.
You might also like “When To Harvest Lavender“.
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