Watering Lavender (How Often & Tips)

First cultivated roughly 2500 years, lavender has grown to become one of the most well known herbs with a multitude of uses.

Native to the Medditeranian and Middle East, lavender is known for attracting butterflies, is a flowering member of the mint family, and thrives best in areas with full sun and sandy soil.

Lavender plants are naturally drought resistant, especially after they are established, so watering them once they reach maturity is pretty easy. Still there are some tips you should know for the best health and flower blooms of the plants.

How Often To Water Lavender

During the first year of its growth lavender needs to be watered more frequently. Once the plants are established they are much more drought resistant but should still be watched and given supplemental watering especially right before and during flower blooming.

Once lavender is planted outside during its first year of growth, it should be watered once or twice weekly with 1/2-1″ of water per watering.

Due to lavender being a drought resistant plant, it must be planted in well-draining soil. Sandy loam soil or a mix of equal parts potting soil and fine perlite is ideal to promote proper soil drainage in newly planted lavender. Adding mulch to soil will also aid in water retention and the proper drainage.

Check out “Best Soil & Fertilizer for Lavender” for more on that.

In the second year of growth and beyond, lavender plants should be watered every two to three weeks until buds begin to form, and once or twice weekly once buds appear depending on temperature.

They need something like 0-2″ of water per month during the winter and 1-2″ of water per month just before and during flowering.

This page has a chart that shows an irrigation schedule for lavender and other low water usage plants.

Lavender should not be watered if the soil surrounding the plant is still moist, but should only be watered once the soil around the plant is dry.

An easy way to test if the plant needs watering is to feel the soil. If the soil is still moist, it is not time to water yet. The soil should be completely dry before the next round of watering.

Can You Overwater Lavender

If the plant receives too much water and lacks the proper drainage, it is possible to overwater lavender. Lavender is a drought resistant plant that does not require a lot of water.

The plant should be watered only when the soil is dry. Watering already moist soil increases the chances of the plant being overwatered.

Although root rot is the most common disease to infect lavender upon overwatering, there are other fungal diseases that can harm a lavender plant. These diseases can appear not only due to overwatering, but also if the plant is being kept in a humid climate.

Keeping lavender in a too-humid climate and overwatering can lead to wilting and leaves falling off of mature plants. In the event of overwatering, lavender has a high chance of developing root rot and dying off.

Monitor lavender plants after a rain or watering. There should never be standing water 24 hours after a rain or watering and if there is plants should be moved to an area with better draining soil.

How To Water Lavender In Pots

Similarly to watering lavender when planted outside, lavender plants in pots should also be watered sparingly. Potted lavender plants should be watered immediately upon planting, and kept somewhat moist until the plant sprouts and then watered only after the soil dries.

When watering a potted lavender plant water completely until the pot drains from the bottom every time and avoid watering directly on the plant itself.

Lavender leaves can become damaged if they are watered instead of the soil. It is important to avoid watering directly on the leaves to avoid harming the lavender that has already grown.

Lavender that is planted in soil outdoors has the ability to drain through the soil and into the earth, but lavender plants that are potted have a smaller amount of water that is able to be drained.

Growing in a container with sufficient drainage and using well draining soil are the best ways to prevent overwatering, however filling the bottom of a large container with rocks can help.

The amount of sunlight a potted lavender plant receives plays a major role in how often watering is needed. Lavender plants need at least six hours of full sunlight a day while potted, and if indoors should be sat near a South facing window where it gets the most sunlight.

However, too much sun runs the risk of drying out the lavender and soil, and more frequent watering will be required.

Ideally, indoor lavender plants should be watered roughly every ten days during late spring to early fall and once every 3-4 weeks during the rest of the year.

Tips On Watering Lavender

  • Lavender plants need more watering during their first year of growth than they do once they are mature established plants.
  • To know if you should water your lavender plants feel the soil 3″ down. It it is still moist let it be and if it is dry then water. Younger plants and warmer temperatures might do better to be watered when the soil is mostly dry instead of bone dry.
  • Water in the early morning or early evening. Watering during midday leads to too much water evaporation from the air and topsoil and watering too late at night can leave foliage wet overnight which invites disease.
  • Use wunderground.com to know the expected rainfall for your area and a wide mouthed rain gauge or some type of container to measure actual rainfall where you are.

Please comment below with your own thoughts and experiences with watering lavender.

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