Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Lavender to be Thankful For

Lavenders are picky plants -- especially when grown in East Tennessee.  There's always a reason for lavender not to perform here, whether it's too humid, too cold, too wet, too dry, too shady, too fertile, too much!

Lavender 'Provence' is special because it performs in spite of the cards that are stacked against it.  The real key to success with 'Provence' is to know when -- and how -- to prune.

'Provence' makes a silver mound that flowers prolifically two or more times a year.  To encourage flowering, plant in full sun and deadhead as flowers go to seed.  When lavender spends less energy developing seeds, it will flower more.

As with any lavender, don't prune in fall or winter.  Leave the plant's "winter coat" to protect the crown and help ensure survival through the cold season.  It's best to cut back after the danger of frost has passed in the spring.  For Knoxville, prune lavender after April 15th.

Cutting back to about 8 inches keeps growth compact and upright, prevents falling into a "donut" shape with an empty center, and limits old growth from turning a dingy brown color.

By pruning 'Provence' lavender a just a few times a year, you'll be rewarded with silver, compact, floriferous, perennial growth.

Like many other herbs, 'Provence' lavender likes to a site with well drained soil and full sun.  Water deeply and regularly for a couple months until the plant is established.  Once the lavender has rooted in, water only as needed.  If 'Provence' is thirsty, its flowers and branch tips will start to droop.

'Provence' makes a statement at entrances or en masse as a hedge.  Silver and purple will really pop against dark colors like 'Black Heart' sweet potato vine or Sedum 'Black Jack'.

With proper siting a maintenance, however you choose to use 'Provence', you'll be sure to have great shape and flowers!

To see more of my photos of 'Provence' lavender, check out my photobucket acccount.

If you have any questions, comments, ideas, or suggestions, I love to get email!