How to Care for Lavender Plant Outdoors & Indoors: Essential Tips

To create the enchanting world of lavender, where stunning purple flowers and a captivating fragrance await you, let’s gain some preparation on how to care for lavender plant outdoors and indoors!

In late spring to early summer, lavender unveils its striking purple blooms and paints nature with its flowers. But what does lavender actually look like and how to give them full sun or get them to bloom? Let’s dive into the sector of this perennial herb and discover a way how to care for lavender plants outdoors and indoors, as well as when and where to plant lavender.  

What Does Lavender Look Like?

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What does lavender look like & Does lavender need full sun?

Did you know what a lavender plant looks like? Well, allow me to tell you that lavender features slim, silvery-green leaves that exude a pleasing perfume.

These fragrant leaves add to the plant’s normal enchantment, even when it’s not in bloom. They can range in length depending on the variety, normally attaining a height of one to three toes (30 to ninety centimeters) in common. 

However, certain taller species, like Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote‘, can grow as tall as 4 feet!

While lavender isn’t known for spreading like some groundcover plants, it gradually expands over time. This herb craves full sun, thriving in bright, direct sunlight for at least 6 to 8 hours each day. 

The more sunlight it receives, the better its growth and flower production, making it a versatile choice for various planting locations, whether it’s a small garden or a charming container.

Read more: How to Grow and Care for Lavender Tree (Topiary)

How to Care for Hydrangeas Outdoors & Where to Plant Hydrangeas in the Ground

Lavender, the amazing plant we love, keeps bugs away and makes us feel calm. But remember, our pets are sensitive. What calms us may be too much for them. 

According to the ASPCA, lavender is dangerous for both cats and dogs. It can cause vomiting and diarrhea and manifest as lethargy, difficulty walking, or even tremors.

Is Lavender a Perennial or Annual?

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How to plant lavender in the ground & When to plant. Photo: Getty Image

Lavender is usually a perennial plant, so it’ll grace your garden year after year, like an old friend returning with each season. When it comes to blooming, lavender shines its brightest from late spring to early summer. Those stunning flowers will dazzle your senses for several glorious weeks. 

While lavender’s bloom time isn’t all summer, fear not! You can coax more blooms by giving it some TLC with deadheading. Oh, and flower beds? Lavender feels right at home there, adding a touch of charm and fragrance to your outdoor oasis. 

When does Lavender Bloom?

Let me provide you with a table detailing the blooming periods of different types of lavender in warm and cold climates in the US and Canada:

Types of LavenderWarm Climate Blooming Months
(e.g., Southern US, California, parts of Texas)
Cold Climate Blooming Months
(e.g., Northern US, Canada, parts of the Midwest):

English Lavender

May to July
June to August
French Lavender
April to June
May to July
Spanish Lavender
April to June
May to July
Lavandin (L. x intermedia)
May to July
June to August

Remember that the exact blooming times can vary from year to year due to weather fluctuations.

How to Grow Lavender Outdoors

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How to care for lavender plant outdoors. Photo: Getty Image

Let’s explore its growth stages before planting it in the ground. There are several growing stages of lavender, including seed development, vegetative growth, buds formation, and blooming stage. 

It goes through a life cycle of growth, dormancy, and re-emergence in each season. Lavender Growing Zones are hardiness zones from 5 to 9, where they can withstand varying temperature ranges. But keep in mind that different lavender varieties have specific hardiness levels, so choose ones suitable for your region.

Lavender, whether as an annual burst of color or a perennial beauty, thrives both indoors and outdoors.

Does Lavender Need Full Sun?

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Does lavender need full sun?

Yes! Lavender is a sun-loving plant that thrives in full sunlight. It craves those warm rays to grow and bloom at its best. They need at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day.

It’s crucial to let it receive plenty of sun exposure. So, if you’re considering planting lavender, make sure to choose a location that receives abundant sunlight.

Where & When to Plant Lavender Outside

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When does lavender bloom? Photo: Getty Image

When to Plant Lavender Outdoors?

To ensure successful growth, let’s plant lavender in spring after the threat of frost has completely subsided, specifically in Zones 3 to 7.

For successful fall planting, it is crucial to plan ahead and give yourself a minimum of eight weeks before the average frost date. Keep in mind that lavender thrives in warm temperatures, so as autumn arrives and temperatures decrease, its growth significantly slows down. 

If you live in Zones 8 and warmer, you can confidently plant lavender during either the spring or fall seasons.

Where to Plant Lavenders: Choosing Location

When planting lavender outside, it grows best in soil that drains well and loves to take up the sun’s warmth.

  • Choose a location in your garden that receives direct sunlight for at least 6 to 8 hours a day.
  • Lavender dislikes wet feet, so avoid areas with poor drainage.
  • Also, they prefer open areas with good air circulation. So, avoid planting in low-lying spots where cold air can settle, as lavender is sensitive to frost.
  • To enhance the warmth that plants receive, consider employing some effective techniques. One method is to utilize a stone mulch or strategically plant lavender near surfaces that emit heat, such as a stone wall, driveway, or south-facing building wall. These actions will effectively amplify the heat and create favorable conditions for your lavender plant growth.

Best Soil for Lavender Plants Outdoors

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Where & When to Plant Lavender, Best Soil for Lavender is well-drained soil. Photo: Getty Image
  • Lavender absolutely loves well-drained soil, so selecting the right soil is key. Aim for soil that is loose, sandy, or loamy, allowing water to flow freely. 
  • To achieve the sharp drainage that lavender requires, some gardeners plant lavender in raised soil mounds measuring 12 to 24 inches tall.
  • Did you know lavender has a preference for slightly alkaline soil? Aim for a pH level between 6.5 and 7.5 for your lavender’s ultimate happiness.
  • And if your soil is heavy, just add some organic matter like compost or aged manure to improve drainage and give it a boost!

How to Plant Lavender on The Ground

1. Choosing a proper time to plant lavender (in spring or fall)

2. Choosing a suitable location in your garden

3. Buy starter plants from the nursery garden

4. Prepare the soil (well drainage, full sun, slightly alkaline soil)

Create raised soil mounds, removing weeds, rocks, and debris. Test the soil pH level and amend it to be slightly alkaline if needed.

5. Spacing

Lavender does not thrive in crowded environments. So when planting lavender, ensure there is ample space to accommodate its flowers. Aim to space plants as far apart as they will grow tall, allowing for good air circulation.

6. Dig the holes

Dig a hole slightly larger than the lavender’s root ball. Be mindful not to plant lavender any deeper in the ground than it was positioned in its nursery pot.

7. Gently loosen the roots and place the plant in the hole.

8. Backfill the hole with soil, firming it gently around the plant.

9. Water thoroughly to settle the soil.

10. Care for your lavender plant outdoor with proper watering and pruning

Lavender Watering Requirements

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During the first year after planting, lavender needs regular watering to establish its root system. Water deeply once or twice a week, providing enough moisture to reach the roots. 

After the first year, lavender becomes more resilient and requires less frequent watering. So, allow the soil to dry out between waterings, as lavender prefers slightly dry conditions.

Lavender Temperature Tolerance & Humidity

  • Lavender enjoys soaking up the sun, so give it lots of it and warm temperatures between 70°F (21°C) and 90°F (32°C) during the day.
  • At night time, the best temperature is around 60°F (15°C). If you stay in a chillier region, fret no longer! Some lavender varieties can brave temperatures as low as 15°F (-9°C) during the winter.
  • The specific variety and hardiness zone play a role in its tolerance. To start, check your hardiness zone to determine which lavender varieties will thrive in your area.

Fertilizer for Lavender Bush

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Usually, they don’t need extra fertilizers to bloom, so use soil amendments for better growth.

But in case you need to fertilize it, pick a balanced organic fertilizer with a decreased nitrogen content, like a 5-10-10 or 10-10-10 blend.

Spread the fertilizer frivolously around the base of the plant, being conscious not to permit it to touch the foliage directly. After fertilizing, give your lavender bush a good watering to help the nutrients seep into the soil and reach the roots.

Pruning Lavender: A Key in How to Maintain Lavender Plant

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Pruning lavender is an essential part of maintaining a healthy and attractive plant. But you might be wondering, “Should you cut back on lavender?” The answer is yes!

  • Prune lavender in late spring or early summer, after the first flush of flowers has faded.
  • Next, trim it lightly and start by removing spent flower stems to shape it up.
  • Also, throughout the growing season, you should remove any dead or damaged foliage to keep the plant looking neat and healthy.

How to Encourage Lavender to Bloom

  • Firstly, find a sunny spot with well-drained soil for your lavender plant. Give it some regular pruning, especially after it blooms. 
  • Remember, don’t overwater it; let the soil dry out between watering sessions. 
  • For an extra boost, use a balanced fertilizer in moderation during the spring for essential nutrients. And don’t forget to remove faded flowers to redirect the plant’s energy towards new blooms.

How to Harvest Lavender Flowers

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How to harvest lavender flowers – care for lavender plant outdoors. Photo: Getty Image

Harvesting lavender flowers is a pleasing and rewarding enjoy, and here’s a pleasant manual on a way to harvest lavender flora:

  • Perfect Timing: Choose a sunny day when the lavender flowers are at their fine. Try to pick in the morning, after the dew has dried but before it gets too hot.
  • Gather Your Tools: Grab a pair of sharp garden shears or scissors and find a container to collect your precious lavender flowers.
  • Select the Best Stems: Look for stems with vibrant, colorful blossoms that have just started to open.
  • Gentle Cuts: Position your shears just above the foliage and make clean, precise cuts. Be mindful not to harm the main plant.
  • Bundle with Care: Gather a small bunch of lavender stems, around 20-30 stems, and tie them tightly at the base using a pretty ribbon or string. This will help the bundle maintain its shape as it dries.
  • Drying Time: Hang the lavender bundles upside down in a warm, dry, and well-ventilated area. Avoid direct sunlight and let them dry for a few weeks until the flowers feel crisp and the stems become brittle.
  • Store and enjoy: Gently remove the dried flowers from the stems and store them in decorative sachets or airtight containers. Now you have a fragrant treasure to use in potpourri, homemade soaps, or even as a natural sleep aid in your pillowcase.

Common Lavender Pests and Disease

Unfortunately, just like us, some of the common pests also like lavender trees. But they can harm our loved ones. So, these are the key factors I wanted to share with you:

  • Pests: Lavender frequently gets aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies as pests, and it often receives root rot and powdery mildew as illnesses.
  • Root Rot: The most common problem with lavender is root rot. Pathogens like Fusarium spp., Phytophthora spp., and others can cause this aggressive rotting disease.
  • Crown rot: It is caused by a type of Phytophthora that attacks the plant’s center above ground. The woody lavender base, or “crown,” is where all the stems sprout.
  • Afalfa mosaic virus: It affects a variety of host plants. It can be found on ornamental plants like lavender. Most of the time, this virus spreads when insects feed on plants, when garden tools aren’t clean, or when plants touch each other.
  • The bacteria Xylella fastidiosa: It causes the Xylella disease in many trees and shrubs, including lavender. It is incredibly destructive and is typically spread by insects that feed on sap.
  • Spittlebugs: These white or black and orange (“two lined”) striped bugs, which are also known as frog hoppers, are best known for their spit-like encasing.
  • Whiteflies: These sap-sucking insects closely resemble aphids in appearance, with soft bodies and wings. Numerous different species of whiteflies prey on various herbs, including lavender.
Root RotFungal infection, causes wiltingImprove drainage, avoid overwatering, use well-draining soil
Crown RotOvergrowth on stems and leavesRemove heavily infected parts,  practicing cultural control
AMVYellow and mutated leaves with patchesRemove infected plants and use sterilized tools
Xylella fastidiosaScorched and wilted foliageBiocontrol with wasps and dragonflies
SpittlebugsFoamy white substance on plantsGarlic pepper spray
White Flies Small, white, fly-like insectsUse yellow sticky traps or apply insecticidal soap

How to care for lavender plant in winter

Taking care of your beloved lavender plant during the winter is crucial for its survival and future blooming. Here’s a friendly guide to help you overwinter your lavender:

How to Care for Lavender Plant Outdoors

Follow these guidelines for wintering lavender indoors:

●  Watering: Winter plants need less water; wait until the top inch of soil is dry before watering. Overwatering kills roots.

●  Lighting: Even though they won’t be growing, these plants need lots of light. Use a grow-light if you do not have a groovy, vivid windowsill.

●  Temperature: Lavenders prefer cool, but now not drafty, wintry temperatures, starting from 40°F (5°C) at night to 65°F (18°C) during the day.

●  Fertilizing: Don’t fertilize until spring. Unused nutrients can poison soil.

●  Indoor Consideration: If you live in a cold climate, bring potted lavender indoors or shelter it.

How to take care of lavender plant indoors

Indoor lavender plants, especially in pots, are lovely and fragrant year-round. Here are  some tips for indoor lavender care:

How to Care for Lavender Plant Outdoors and indoors,
  • Pot Selection: Choose a pot with enough drainage holes to avoid waterlogging.
  • Sun and soil: Place lavender near a south-facing window in sandy, well-draining soil.
  • Watering: Water Lavender sparingly and let the soil dry between waterings.
  • Prune and Shape: If you have a lavender tree (topiary), prune and shape it regularly.
  • Fertilize carefully: Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer sparingly.
  • Pest prevention: Watch for pests like aphids and spider mites and treat them with organic methods if necessary.
  • Winter Protection: During winter, give indoor lavender enough sunlight and adjust watering to its dormant phase.

Types of Lavender Plants

Lavender is a fragrant flowering plant with its various beautiful types; some of my favorite types include English, Spanish, French, Munstead, and Lavender Tree.

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  • English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia): It is widely known for its essential oil production.
  • Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas):  They have distinctive “rabbit ear” petals.
  • French lavender (Lavandula dentata): has serrated leaves and is commonly used in culinary applications.
  • Munstead lavender (Lavandula angustifolia ‘Munstead’): It is a compact variety suitable for borders.
  • Lavender Tree (Lavandula lanata): It is a shrub-like variety with silvery leaves. Lavender’s natural habitat includes Mediterranean regions.

Most lavender trees thrive in well-drained soil and sunny locations, and with proper care, a lavender plant can live for 10 to 15 years.

Read More: 20 of the Best Invasive Ground Cover with Purple Flowers


Is lavender a perennial in zone 5?

Yes, lavender is generally considered a perennial in Zone 5. However, it’s important to choose cold-hardy varieties suitable for your specific region.

How long does a lavender plant live?

The lifespan of a lavender plant can vary, but on average, it can live for 10 to 15 years with proper care.

Does lavender come back every year?

Yes, lavender typically comes back every year, especially if it is well-established and provided with the right care.

Does lavender bloom all summer?

Lavender tends to have a prolonged blooming period during the summer, but the exact duration can vary depending on the specific variety, growing conditions, and pruning practices.

Lavender Bush Care: Summary

Whether you have a lavender bush, perennial, or annual, caring for your lavender plant is a delightful experience. Give it full sun, whether indoors or outdoors, for optimal growth and vibrant purple blooms. 

Indoors, choose a sunny spot and water sparingly to prevent overwatering. Embrace the calming fragrance and beauty of lavender as it thrives in your garden or brightens up your indoor space with its lovely purple flowers.

In the garden, ensure well-drained soil and plant lavender in the spring or fall. Prune regularly to maintain shape and promote new growth. That’s all you need to know on how to care for lavender plant outdoors and indoors, where & when to plant lavender and get it bloom. Please leave us a comment if you find these tips helpful, we’d love to see your lavender thrive!