How Does Lavender Grow?

Although lavender is native to the Mediterranean region, it has become one of the most popular flowering herbs to grow in the home garden.

With the wide variety of bloom times, flower forms, sizes, and colors, it can be easy to paint an entire garden with lavender in various shades of purples, blues, and pinks. 

Lavender is a popular aromatic perennial that is often used as a border plant and has value as its strong, fragrant smell attracts bees and other pollinators to gardens.

Lavender does well in arid heat and will bloom with intensity for longer periods in these areas. Many gardeners happily learn that lavender grows in many hardiness zones (anywhere from zone 4 to zone 9 or 10.

This aromatic flowering plant is also relatively easy to grow. So let’s take a look at how it grows.

How Tall Does Lavender Get?

Lavender grows as bushy stalks that can reach anywhere from 1 to 3 feet tall. Even with that height, they do not require staking. Be sure to research the variety you want to grow or are growing to better determine how tall it will grow as it matures. 

The lavender variety on the left is about half as tall as the variety on the right.

Some common varieties include Provence, a large variety that will reach 3 feet tall, and medium-sized varieties Royal Velvet, and Buena Vista. Medium sized varieties generally reach 18-24 inches in height, including the blossom stalks.

Smaller varieties include Thumbelina Leigh, Munstead, Hidcote, and will grow 12-18″ tall. These small varieties are more compact than larger varieties and do especially well in container gardening.

Your lavender plant will also grow based on your region’s climate and hardiness zone. In warm climates, lavender tends to grow as a shrub. However, lavender grown in cooler climates will stay lower to the ground.

If you’re living in a humid region, you should prune your lavender to promote air flow and discourage fungal growth and mold.

Does Lavender Grow On Vines or Trees?

Lavender is a herb that grows into a subshrub. It does not require staking, as a vine would, because of the structural strength of the plant’s stalks. However, you can grow your lavender shrub into a small tree.

Lavender trees, also known as lavender standard or lavender topiary, differ from its shrubby counterpart in that it is top heavy, with the lower limbs trimmed to promote trunk development. 

Lavender shrubs and lavender trees share several characteristics. They have the same basic needs, including container size.

Ornamental lavender trees are almost always kept indoors or on patios in their container. When growing a lavender tree or a shrub, it should be kept in a relatively small container.

Lavender does better without excess soil around the roots, since lavender is susceptible to root rot. Generally, a container 1-2 inches larger than the root ball is the correct size for a lavender tree.

How Is Lavender Grown Commercially?

Lavender has maintained its commercial viability because of its popularity in essential oils, perfumes, and bath and cleaning products. There are currently 20 commercially significant growers in the US, whose farmed lavender varieties depend primarily on the regional climate.

Commercial lavender growers must maintain constant soil drainage and pH levels to ensure a long-lasting, and therefore economically viable, lavender crop.

You might also like “Where Does Lavender Grow?“.

Lavender grows best in loamy, sandy soil with a pH from 6 to 8, and many farms have to amend their soil to improve drainage to encourage the best growth while avoiding root rot, something that lavender is particularly susceptible to, according to Kentucky University

As a woody subshrub, lavender propogates successfully through softwood cuttings which allows for commercial growers to quickly and efficiently expand their lavender fields with partially established plants. 

Pests are not a major concern with lavender farms, while its strong aroma actually attract helpful insects to neighboring crops.

However, lavender is susceptible to damage from freezing. Many farms will use windbreaks or hoop houses to protect their perennial crop throughout the year. 

Please comment below with your own thoughts about lavender!

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