Lavender for your garden? Here's how to grow it: Everybody loves lavender, and who hasn't ooohed and ahhhed over photos of the incredible purple fields in the UK and the South of France? Well, the photo on our Lavender listing page was taken in Oregon, and there's no reason you cant grow lavender in your own backyard. But there are a few things you need to know.
First of all, if you live in a very humid place, it simply wont work. Its almost impossible to grow lavender in South Florida, for example, but most of the US, north to Zone 5, is fine. Of course, the farther north you are, the more plant you'll lose each year to winter kill. A good thick hedge will probably never happen in Zone 5, but don't worry. Winter may kill the tops, but these plants are tough and dependable perennials; they'll be back and bloom for you each year.
Where and how you plant is all important. Keep in mind that the lavenders are native to the Mediterranean, and if you've ever been to the South of France, you know that means hot, rocky, and arid--almost desert-like in many places. This tells you lavenders demand sharp-draining soils, never rich, damp and soggy. In fact, if your soil is heavy, its worth it to mix in some sand or gravel before you plant, and perhaps create little mounds for your plants so each one drains quickly. Fact is, if you fail with lavender, it will probably be due to over-watering. Lavenders don't mind drought a bit, and love hot, blazing sun. Remember, little water and no shade!
As for varieties, most of our choices are cultivars of the English Lavenders, which are cultivars of Lavendula angustifolia. These include both the famous Hidcote dwarf and Munstead, the most popular variety for the US. Jean Davis is a pink variety, and Lavance Purple is famous for its particularly vivid blue-purple bloom. Beyond the English types, there are lavenders commonly called French, Spanish, and other names.