Top of The Crops - Lavender

Growing Lavender in a Polytunnel

Lavender is one of the most lovely smelling flowers and can be a delightful addition to your garden. You may not have considered growing lavender in a polytunnel but to do so may be a good policy. If you are growing a range of crops in your polytunnel then lavender may help to attract pollinators to the space and you will certainly enjoy the fragrance of the plants as you go about your gardening work. In wetter areas, the drier polytunnel space may allow you to grow lavender more easily, as lavender does not enjoy waterlogged conditions.

Sowing and Growing Requirements for Lavender

Lavender can be grown from seed but since seeds of varieties do not come true, it is usual to purchase lavender plants from a plant nursery or another vendor. Small lavender plants are not expensive and you can propagate new plants from it yourself in the coming years if you wish through cuttings.

Lavender is best planted in the spring as soon as the soil begins to warm up. It needs full sun and will thrive particularly well in chalky, alkaline soils that are moderately fertile and free-draining. On clay soils, lavender can tend to have a shorter lifespan and is prone to becoming woody at the base. Add organic matter and/or grit to improve the drainage and/or plant lavender on a mound, which will also improve the drainage in less than ideal locations. Lavender is fairly drought tolerant and should not be watered too frequently.

Lavender plant should be pruned once a year to keep them bushy and compact in habit and form. Remove the tops of flower stalks in late summer, along with the tips of new growth, making sure that some green growth remains. Lavender does not regrow readily from old growth.

There are many different types of lavender available. Choose one that is well suited to your area and to the conditions in which you will be growing it.

Harvesting Lavender

Harvest lavender whenever you wish while the flowers are in bloom. Lavender is occasionally used for culinary applications but it is more frequently used for its fragrance in home care and toiletries. Lavender is perfect for use in making soaps and perfumes and can also be used in a range of different home-care applications – for example, in a recipe for home-made dish soap. Lavender oil is said to have a number of soothing applications.

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