How To Grow Lavender In Containers
With its mesmerizing scent and stunning blooms, lavender (or Lavandula) has been cherished for centuries as a versatile herb for its therapeutic qualities and ornamental appeal. Whether you seek a fragrant oasis to soothe your senses, a vibrant addition to your garden, or even a resource for homemade crafts and culinary delights, lavender is a perfect choice.
Follow this simple guide to start growing lavender flowers in pots or containers!
Guide to growing lavender in containers:
Lavender plants need full sun to thrive, so when you choose your container’s location, ensure it receives at least 6+ hours of sunlight daily. You can also grow your potted lavender indoors; find a place like a windowsill that receives even more direct sunlight, at least 8+ hours per day. Plants that doesn’t receive enough sunlight may produce few to no flowers.
Certain types of lavender grow better in containers than others! ‘Hidcote’ lavender is an incredibly durable variety that adapts easily to growing in pots and containers with dark purple flowers and frosty silver foliage. If you’re looking for a little something unconventional, Spanish lavender boasts unique flowers at the top of its stem and comes in an array of pink and purple colors.
Container Size & Material:
While lavender plants can start small, they can grow to be 1-2 feet tall and wide at maturity. Your plants will need enough space to grow but not too much to where they can get waterlogged. Opting for a container anywhere between 12 inches to 16 inches should do the trick. If you notice your lavender growing quickly, or if you decide to put multiple plants in a single container, you may need to upgrade your size! Learn more about pot sizes HERE.
The most important part of your container: drainage holes. They are essential for success with lavender, as they fade quickly if they stay wet for too long. Also, consider the container material; unglazed ceramic, clay, and terracotta pots are ideal for lavender plants because they absorb excess water and encourage better drainage.
While lavender may give the impression that it requires a lot of maintenance due to its showy display, it is actually a carefree plant! As long as the soil is well draining and slightly alkaline, it should deliver both looks and fragrance all season long. Use average potting soil for your containers, or mix in cactus or moisture-controlled potting soil to keep it drier. Fertilize at least once a season (preferably in spring) to encourage vigorous growth. Shop plant fertilizers HERE.
Remember: lavender plants like it sunny and dry once established! Your newly potted lavenders will need lightly moist soils, but once it has filled out, you can reduce your watering. Limit watering to when the soil feels dry, even during hot summer months. We recommend watering it every 1-2 weeks, depending on climate, sun exposure, and soil composition. If growing indoors, you may need to water less frequently. When it is time to water, do so thoroughly until the soil is completely moist.
How long will potted lavender last?
Depending on the variety of lavender, winter protection, and the amount of sunlight and water it receives, your lavender plant can last up to 15 years in a container. Yes, it’s true! Just be sure to prune every fall to avoid lanky growth, and regularly water when the soil dries. Learn the secrets to lavender growing success HERE.
Will lavender overwinter in pots?
If you’re growing your containers outdoors, come winter, you may need to move certain varieties of lavender plants inside. It all depends on your growing zone and the hardiness of your plants. The rule of thumb is that plants are winter hardy in containers if it is two zones hardier than the zone you live in.
The hardy English lavender (zones 5-9) will survive winter in pots outdoors in zones 7 and warmer, while others like Spanish lavender (zones 7-9) need to be brought inside for protection if you’re in zone 8 or colder. Prune your plants before the last frost, then keep them in an unheated (but not freezing) dry indoor area like a garage or shed.
Why not inside your heated home? Most lavenders require a dormancy or chill period to grow and flower the following season. Entirely skipping a winter season can be stressful for your plants!
Should you prune potted lavender?
Pruning your potted lavender annually improves flowering and helps keep it compact in its container. It’s suggested to prune your lavender in early spring about one-third of the way down the plant above large emerging buds. If pruning later in the season, do not cut back to the woody growth; instead, about 2 to 3 inches above it on the soft growth. Without pruning, lavender can grow lanky, woody, and split open. Learn more about pruning lavender HERE.
How can I use my potted lavender flowers and cuttings?
Once potted, you can use your lavender cuttings in many different ways! The possibilities for lavender flowers are endless, from an array of DIY dishes like lavender ice cream to infused oils and incense for relaxation. You can also continue to grow your garden by propagating your lavender cuttings in water. To do so, cut unflowered lavender stems close to the bottom, leaving about an inch. Then strip the leaves and add to a glass with a few inches of water to submerge the base of the stems. Replace water until the lavender begins to root, then place in soil and set in a sunny area. Voilà, you have more lavender plants!