Lavender – Growing

Q: For the first time, after many attempts, I have gotten lavender plants to grow. My question is, do I need to cut them back in winter or protect them from the cold or what? The plants are in a sunny location. They were still producing flowers in early December! How should I care for them?

A: My friend Tara Dillard, garden lecturer and owner of A Garden View, says her lavender has grown nicely for 6 years. She believes the secret to her success is growing the plants in a raised bed through which water percolates rapidly. The soil in the bed has lots of sand and organic material in it. She also added lime (based on a soil test) to make sure the soil pH was between 6.5 and 7.0. Tara mulches her lavender plants each spring with a half-inch layer of Nature’s Helper soil conditioner. She also gets two blooms per year: in July and November.

I think you should leave well enough alone in your lavender bed for the winter. Prune them a bit in spring, if they need shaping, and fertilize only lightly each year.