Fragrant Indoor Lavender
Growing Lavender Indoors and Outdoors
The scent of lavender is one very prominent quality of it, but besides that, there are many other forgotten qualities of the plant. Being one of the easiest herbs to grow, lavender requires little in terms of pest control or fertilizer products and once it’s established, rarely needs water. Its scent is very soothing and prominent, making it a great indoor plant just for the fresh scent it brings with it. Its essential oil is also an ingredient in many aromatherapy products, such as lotion, perfume, and candles.
Planting it is quite simple if you have another plant already established. Lavender which is grown from cuttings is the best way to establish your plants, rather than seed-grown plants. Most species thrive for 12 years before they need replaced. It will need full sun and well-drained soil. Where soil drains poorly, it’s best grown in raised beds. Set 2 to 4” species 3 to 4” apart, and set low growing species 1 1/2” apart. Mulch with decomposed granite or gravel—not compost. Alkaline soil is most recommended, since the plant is very drought tolerant which also makes it a good plant for the southern hardiness zones of the United States, but most lavender can be grown anywhere from zones 5 to 9 of the USDA plant hardiness zone map.
Like any new plants, lavender needs plenty of water and attention until the roots are well established. Once established in your herb garden, it will need to be pruned every year or so and watered only twice a year. Be sure to not over water. When watering, give your plants a long soak to promote root growth, short and frequent watering cycles can result in rotted roots.
When pruning, cut back about one third of any 2 to 4” tall varieties, and any low-growing types by only 2 to 4′. If you want to harvest the blooms of repeat bloomers and use them for something like incense, choose Spanish lavender. You can cut faded flowers to keep new ones coming. Then, snip the stems when the bottom third of their blossoms are open. Not every bloom is ready to cut at the same time. Remove the leaves from the stems, gather stems in bunches, and secure each bundle with a rubber band. Use no more than 100 stems per bundle.
When growing lavender, realize that plants will achieve their peak bloom usually during their third growing year. For most healthy, mature plants that aren’t overcrowded, you will harvest around 1,000 flower stems per plant. Growing lavender works great in many settings, and is a natural fit in a many homes as an indoor plant. You can use it in bouquets — or you can also dry lavender to use in plenty of crafts. It makes a great plant in a garden aiming to bring wildlife, as it will attract plenty of bees.
Once it’s established, it’s quite a tolerant plant and won’t require much maintenance at all aside from occasional pruning and very seldom watering. If the stems become woody as the plant matures, you may just need to prune your plants. Plants that aren’t pruned also have a tendency to sprawl out and leave a hole in the center. During the hot spring and summer months, you will need to trim the faded blooms in order to enable your lavender to repeatedly bloom.
The plant has plenty of other culinary and medical uses; for example, lavender oil can be used to soothe aching muscles and joints, to reduce anxiety and stress, and to can induce sleep. The scent deters mice, flies, mosquitoes and many other pests from the area. You can also harvest the stalks and dry them out in just three weeks or so. When dried, it has many uses. As a herb, lavender has been in documented use for over 2,500 years. In ancient times, it was often used for mummification and perfume by the Egyptians. There are also plenty of dishes you can prepare with lavender, including cookies and plenty of other desserts. It can also be used when grilling many meats with lemon. There are also plenty of recipes that include lemon & lavender, you can even make lavender lemonade!
With so many ways to use lavender, it’s a great idea to have this plant around your home, whether indoors or outdoors. Either way, lavender is a simple to grow, hardy plant that has plenty of uses for everyone. Lavender can be utilized around the house for many fragrant uses, and as a plant is quite fragrant itself. No matter how you choose to use lavender, in the kitchen, as a perfume, or in oils and lotion; it will leave you and your home with a pleasing fragrance you will appreciate more and more each day.