Lavender has enjoyed universal and enduring popularity in Australian home gardens and the reasons are quite clear. They are hardy and resistant to disease as well as being stylish — suiting most garden or landscape styles, regardless of fashions or trends.
Lavender needs full sun to grow and flower well. Without at least 6 hours of direct sun (preferably afternoon sun) every day, flowering will be poor. Good drainage is also very important so if your soil is heavy, build up garden beds by 10–20cm and add some course sand.
Lavender dislikes long periods of heavy rain but can survive if it has proper drainage. Lavender is a great choice in seaside gardens as it tolerates windy conditions, sandy soils and some salt spray. It also has excellent resistance to dry spells and frost.
Lavender in warm climates
Lavender traditionally comes from a dry, Mediterranean climate and dislikes humidity. If you live in a warm or cool temperate climate you should be able to grow most lavenders. However, some modern hybrids have an increased resistance to humidity and can even be grown in the tropics if the right conditions are given such as excellent drainage, free air circulation and full sun. In warm climates however, it is crucial to choose the right varieties so always ask at your garden centre for the best varieties for your district.
More info on winter lavender for warmer climates.
Lavender requires a well drained, neutral or alkaline soil but will grow in acidic soil if there is ample calcium available. Dolomite or lime (not hydrated lime) can be added to the soil to make it more alkaline. Applied once a year this can improve growth and flowering. Improve soil by incorporating Searles Real Compost before planting.
Lavender doesn’t need fertilising although an application of Searles Blood & Bone after flowering and some potash in spring can boost blooms. A dressing of Searles Real Compost once a year can also be a wonderful soil conditioner.
Pests and diseases of lavender
In the right soil and position, lavender is almost free of pests and diseases. In spring, the spittle bug may appear as white foam patches resembling spittle on the plants’ leaves. This can be hosed off or removed by hand.More on growing lavender by Searles Gardening