Lavender is among the most popular plants you can add to your garden. With gorgeous purple blooms and a heady, intoxicating fragrance, it is a feast for the senses – and it packs a punch as a beneficial addition to your garden. There are even blue, pink, and white varieties you can choose.
What is Lavender?
Lavender is a flowering herb and a member of the mint family. It has bushy, evergreen foliage and usually blue or purple flower spikes. Fragrant varieties have a strong, sweet floral aroma. It is native to the Mediterranean, Middle East, and India, recorded as far back as 2500 BC.
The ancients considered lavender to be holy and even to this day it is widely recognized as having an array of health and wellness benefits.
English lavender is the most common variety; others include Spanish lavender and French lavender.
It is popular for its stunning flowers, it’s fragrance, its essential oil, and even as a calming addition to aid sleep and help in headache treatment. The flowers can be dried and even added to desserts.
Lavender is also a Fabulous Companion Plant.
Lavender has a very intense fragrance. As such, it attracts beneficial pollinators, while at the same time repelling pests. Planting lavender alongside vegetables and other herbs can protect them from being munched on by a wide array of insects and other pests like slugs and some mammals.
What Plants Benefit from Lavender
- Plant edges of cauliflower and cabbage patches with lavender to repel moths and other harmful insects.
- Lavender attracts honeybees, bumblebees, and some solitary bees, as well as other pollinators, all of which fruit trees require for pollination. It also repels various pests, including the coding moth which attacks apple trees.
- Lavender helps an array of vegetables and herbs grow better, as well as helping protect flowering plants like roses.
- Plant alongside other Mediterranean herbs, which grow in similar conditions: rosemary, thyme, sage, mint, basil.
Vegetables to Plant with Lavender
- Brussels sprouts
Plants that Help Lavender Plants
- Oregano and Basil repel aphids and flies, enabling better growth of lavender.
- Echinacea draws even more pollinators to lavender, and it is extremely drought-hardy.
- Alliums (ornamental flowering onions) have a strong scent and further distract insects and other pests when planted together with lavender.
Tips for Growing Lavender
Once the plant has been established, lavender requires little maintenance and is generally happiest if left alone to look after itself.
It will thrive when grown in a warm, temperate climate, and it prefers hot, dry summers and cool winters.
Some varieties will grow well in colder areas. Some varieties (but not English lavender) will tolerate mild humidity; others will tolerate mild frost.
The Best Place to Plant Lavender in Your Garden
- Plant lavender in full sun in an area protected from strong winds.
- Lavender will grow in areas of semi-shade if the conditions are warm enough.
- Choose fertile, well-drained soil. Enrich it with manure or compost. If the soil is acidic, add a dose of lime.
- Ideal for planting in raised garden beds or patio pots.
- Lavender is quite hardy in drought conditions when established, but it does need a deep soak now and then during very dry weather to get them through summer. Be careful to not over water lavender as it does not like having wet roots.
IMPORTANT: When planting lavender with vegetables, don’t inter-plant too near the vegetables as they require much greater levels of soil moisture – and this may kill lavender.
- Fertilize regularly during the flowering season.
- Remove dying flowers and, after flowering, lightly trim the plant (by up to one third for an established plant) to encourage lush growth.
As well as being beneficial, lavender is a fantastic companion plant for flowering perennials which provide contrasting or complementary effects via foliage color or shape or flower color or shape – not to mention heady combined fragrances!
One timeless, classic combination is pairing lavender bushes with shrub roses or floribunda roses and even bearded iris. Other great options include aster, sedum, baby’s breath, and wild indigo.
A vital plant in a sustainable garden, you can’t go past lavender as a beautiful all-rounder which delivers year after year.