live in Hamilton in a suburb built on clay soil. We have planted
a drift of about 30 lavenders under 3 olive trees with a lonicera
hedge surrounding it. The lavenders grew well for a year and flowered
beautifully at the beginning of spring. Now the lavenders are dying
off and we have lost about 12 of them. They seem to die from the
base up. We have a watering system so they are not too dry, but
we have not excessively watered either. It has been suggested that
it could be a dog peeing on them, but it would have to be a fairly
prolific dog to have done so many over such a large area. Do you
have any ideas?
soils are not the best for growing lavender and they are dying off
because we have had a very wet summer without enough heat. Improve
drainage by raising beds or digging in generous quantities of peat
Lavender is easy to grow
when given the conditions it enjoys a sunny position and
free draining soil.
Most lavenders suitable
for home gardens come from either the Spica group or the Stoechas
The Spica group includes
English lavenders (Lavendula angustifolia syn. L. spica)
which have the best fragrance and are at their peak flowering period
in the heat of summer. The flowers retain their perfume and so are
ideal for pot pourri or scented sachets. They also make stunning
low hedges. English lavender is relatively frost hardy once established.
Stoechas type lavenders
are characterised by their 'rabbit ear' sterile bracts that sit
above the flowers. These include the most commonly grown French
lavender (Lavendula dentata), Spanish or Italian lavender
(Lavendula stoechas) as well as many cultivars bred from
these varieties. They do not have the same intense fragrance as
English lavender, but are certainly fragrant.
Stoechas types flower
from early spring through to late autumn and sporadically through
winter in warmer climates. Stoechas types have a compact growing
habit making them ideal for containers and patio pots and tubs.
Most lavenders do not
enjoy humid conditions and do not grow well in areas with high rainfall.
Stoechas types will stand up to humid conditions better than English
lavenders. Protect stoechas lavenders from frost. Once established
they will withstand mild frost, but in areas experiencing severe
frost, plant them in a sheltered position or in pots.
Lavenders planted in
the garden generally do not require fertiliser. An application of
Osmocote or general garden fertiliser in spring will help plants
establish quickly and enhance flowering.
Pruning is essential
to keep plants bushy and prevent them from becoming woody and bare.
It also helps encourage more flowers. English lavenders are best
trimmed after flowering has finished in summer so that new growth
has time to harden off before winter. Trim to shape, removing old
flower heads. Some varieties do not regrow in a uniform shape and
so more severe trimming is required.
Stoechas types flower
in early spring and in warmer climates there could be two flushes.
Trim back the first flush in summer. In frost prone areas leave
trimming the second flush until late winter/early spring so that
new growth is not frosted in winter. In warmer regions trim back
If growing lavenders
in patio pots and tubs, use a quality potting mix that contains
a controlled release fertiliser. Keep plants well watered, in summer
it could be as frequent as once a day. In winter keep watering to
a minimum. Feed container grown plants with a controlled release
fertiliser such as Osmocote. Plants will benefit from the occasional
liquid feed with a soluble fertiliser such as Phostrogen or Thrive
Flower and Fruit.
by Dr Dan Blanchon from Unitec's Diploma in Sustainable Horticulture and Bachelor
of Resource Management.
with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous
The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH