Few plants convey the understated romance of fresh lavender in flower. In Queensland, lavender flowers year-round and winter is the start of its flowering season. Exciting new cultivars are now available in nurseries and there’s no better time to take advantage of our wonderful climate by planting some!
The pretty flowers, soothing fragrance and easy-care nature of lavender have made it one of the all-time most popular plants in Australian gardens. Perfect for the ‘Tuscan’ or ‘Mediterranean’ look, lavender is just at home in cottage gardens as it is in ‘desert’ landscapes or mixed with Australian wildflowers. It’s also a great problem-solver in windy or dry conditions, sandy soils and coastal gardens.
How to plant
Give lavender full sun and a well-drained soil. Lavender tolerates poor soils (the only thing it hates is boggy soils or waterlogging) and is very dry-tolerant once established. Water it regularly when newly-planted to help it establish quickly.
Apply Searles Robust Plus to the soil around the base of lavender plants once a year in spring to promote healthy growth and plenty of flowers.
Lavender in pots
Any lavender would make the ideal container plant around entertainment areas and are dry tolerant once established. Plant them into Searles Platinum Potting Mix for best results.
Plant lavender near entrances, paths or walkways where its foliage can be incidentally bruised or brushed against, releasing its wonderful fragrance.
A light prune after the main flowering flush followed by another during late summer will encourage a bushy habit. It’s important not to prune lavender into hard wood or it may not grow back. Lightly trim the outside, green tips for a neater, more compact look.
Lavender in the tropics
Because of its susceptibility to fungal diseases in wet or humid conditions, lavender has been traditionally grown only as an annual in the tropics. (Here, it will grow happily through the cooler times of year before the summer monsoon flattens it.) Many new lavender cultivars have an improved resistance to humidity, but they do better in some tropical regions than others, so enquire at your local garden centre for local knowledge. To get the most out of lavender in tropical zones, it needs impeccable drainage — plant it in pots if your soil is not perfect and allow space around each plant for good air circulation. Plant lavender only in full sun and give it a breezy position if possible. Prune out any dead wood from inside the plant and use a light-coloured mulch like white pebbles or seashells to help reflect sunlight back onto the plant. When watering, apply it to the roots, not the foliage, and water early in the morning rather than the evening to allow it time to dry out before night fall.
New lavender varieties
Intensive breeding is constantly leading to new, improved plants with better performance and resistance to disease, so new lavenders will grow in a wider range of Australian climate zones — including the tropics. New lavender cultivars have more prolific, long-lasting blooms and will repeat-flower throughout the year. The plants have a more compact, mounding shape and hold their flowers just above the foliage, unlike traditional varieties which often flower at the ends of long, arching stems.
Four (4) Lavender Collections
Lavender ‘With Love’
Lavender ‘With Love’ is the perfect way to say, ‘I love you’ and makes a gorgeous housewarming present or table-top display piece! At no more than 60 x 60cm when mature, it can last up to two weeks indoors before being moved to a sunny position outside. Plant about 50cm apart for a beautiful, low hedge.
Lavender ‘Lace Series’
This is the variety you want for an early and especially long flowering season. Particularly dry tolerant, it flowers in the classic, cool lavender tones ranging from intense purple to soft lilac. Flowers appear from early winter in Queensland and mid winter in gardens ‘south of the border’. Growing about 70cm x 70cm, it’s stunning in larger-sized pots of Searles Platinum Plus Potting Mix. Give it full sun.
The Princess Lavender
Princess Lavender flowers are a vivid pink which has never been seen before in lavender. Long flowering displays on a 70cm x 70cm bush, plant it 60cm apart for hedging. Water requirements are low once established but give it a good soak during prolonged hot or dry periods. Plant in full sun or part shade.
Lavender ‘Ruffles Collection’
The Ruffles Collection has a delightful range of colours, including unusual duo tones. These compact lavenders (about 60cmH x 80cmW) are perfect for pots and small spaces. Hardy in a wide range of climate zones, they are especially tolerant of both humidity and dry conditions.