The English Lavender Plant: How To Care For Lavandula Angustifolia

Lavandula angustifolia, better known as English Lavender, is a wonderful herbaceous perennial that graces many gardens across the world.

It’s not hard to see why, as it produces fabulous purple flowers, attracting all sorts of beneficial pollinators to your garden, it smells amazing and produces a somewhat calming effect, and you can use the dried leaves for all sorts of scented goodies.

Interested in growing English Lavender, but don’t know where to begin? Here’s what you should know.

How To Grow English Lavender

English Lavender is a Mediterranean native, which may give you a few clues as to what it needs when it comes to growing conditions.

It can reach about 3 feet tall at maturity and boasts aromatic silvery leaves on square stems.

If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere warm, the leaves can stay evergreen, if not, they will die back in the winter. 

Where To Grow English Lavender

English lavender needs full sunlight for as much of the day as possible to get the best out of this plant, and lots of warmth, but little to no humidity. 

As long as you can give the plant this, and preferably put it in a sheltered position, it will work in many areas of your garden.

Some people like to put it in perennial borders at the front, in herb gardens, and near seating areas to maximize the smell. Others like to put it in pots near herbs or crop plants to make the most of how it attracts pollinators, increasing the yield of edible plants.

It can also be grown as a low hedge to act as a border plant, and the more lavender plants you grow together, the more impressive it looks.

You’ll soon know if this plant doesn’t get enough sunlight, as the space between the leaves will get bigger, producing leggy, weak growth, and very few flowers. 

However, if you live somewhere hot, this plant does do well with a little shade in the afternoon.

Should You Grow English Lavender In Pots?

English Lavender works well in pots, especially if the soil in your garden does not drain well, or the borders are very shaded. 

You can then put your English Lavender on a patio or even by the door to make the most of the scent.

Can You Grow English Lavender Inside?

Some people have success growing English Lavender indoors, while others struggle with it. 

It needs plenty of light indoors – preferably right in front of a Southern-facing window where it can get the most sun possible, or failing that, a good-quality grow light.

Ideal Soil For English Lavender

English Lavender is quite fussy when it comes to compost. It needs very sharp drainage, otherwise, it will quickly rot. 

Use a gritty or sandy compost mix suitable for Mediterranean plants, and stay away from generic houseplant or all-purpose compost mixes, as they don’t have the right sort of drainage.

It’s also not a good idea to give this plant lots of nutrients in the compost, as it tends to be too strong for the plant to cope with.

When To Water Lavandula Angustifolia

When you’ve newly planted your English Lavender, it will need more attention until it gets established in the soil. 

Only water when the top few inches of soil are dry to the touch once established, and then drench the soil.

Should You Feed Lavender Plants?

English Lavender does not need fertilizer, and feeding the plant can do more harm than good, as it is used to nutrient-poor soil, and may stop your plant from flowering.

Repotting English Lavender

If you’re growing English Lavender in a pot, take a look at the drainage holes. When the plant’s roots start creeping out of the holes, it’s time to repot, but only during the growing season.

Use a terracotta pot for best results, as this helps sharpen up the drainage, and only go up one size when repotting.

How To Propagate English Lavender

Use stem cuttings to create new plants during spring and summer, as growing English Lavender from seed is notoriously difficult. Plant them into damp soil, and wait about three weeks for them to root.

Should You Prune English Lavender?

It’s a good idea to prune this plant in late summer, only lightly, to keep air circulation flowing, preventing rot.

Don’t be tempted to prune this plant as it dies back when the weather gets colder. While it will die back, the dead growth shields new growth from frost, so only prune it back when you can see the new growth growing through.

Throughout the growing season, you should remove fading flower heads to keep the flowering window open for as long as possible.

Once new growth appears in spring, you can trim it to shape it.

Once English Lavender reaches two years old, you can cut a third of the new growth back in spring, but avoid cutting into the woody stems.

A Note On Toxicity

It’s worth noting that English Lavender is considered toxic to pets, and it’s also a good way of keeping cats, rabbits, and deer out of your garden.

Final Thoughts

English Lavender is a beautiful plant that’s much easier to grow outside than indoors, but you will need to make sure that the plant gets plenty of sunlight, and that it’s planted in poor soil with plenty of drainage.

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