How To Grow Lavender in Every Climate

Lavender is a native plant to the dry heat of western Mediterranean regions and its long history dates back to the Old World.

A vertical image of basket of lavenders in a garden setting.

The sweetly fragranced perennial herb is a popular ornamental plant for a variety of garden and landscape uses, as well as an arsenal of medicinal and home applications.

Lavender, of the genus Lavandula, is commonly grouped into four subgeneras, with a vast number of hybrids that have been cultivated for specific growing conditions and climates all around the world:

  • Lavandula angustifolia – English hybrids a.k.a. true lavender
  • Lavandula stoechas – French hybrids
  • Lavandula dentata – Spanish hybrids
  • Lavandula multifida – Egyptian hybrids a.k.a. fernleaf lavender

You’ll find that this is a hardy plant and doesn’t require much attention throughout the growing season.

Once established, it’s a wonderful pollinator plant that produces bright blossoms and soft scents, making it an elegant addition to any landscape or garden.

Tips on How To Grow Lavender | GardenersPath.com

It is drought-resistant, low-maintenance, and – thanks to the strong essential oil it produces – undesirable to foraging critters and pests.

Picking a Plant by Zone

Growing lavender isn’t much of a challenge for any gardener, experienced or not. However, there are a few staunch guidelines that every gardener should keep in mind when starting out:

Lavender…

  • Loves heat
  • Hates water
  • Needs space
  • Wants lean soil

Considering that lavender originates from hot, arid climates similar to Italy, France, and Spain, it’s understandable that cold or humid weather is not ideal.

Do you want to have your own lavender patch? Learn how to easily grow them in your garden now: https://gardenerspath.com/plants/herbs/grow-lavender/

If you fail to compensate for climate, then your plant will not yield as bountiful a harvest, or even fail to survive.

Warm Southern Climates

If you live in a southern state where summers are long and hot, then you’ll need to provide slight shade during the peak heat of the day, and aid in air circulation by generously spacing out your plants.

Remember when I said lavender hates water? If you live in region with significant humidity, then your plants are going to need some serious elbow room to ensure maximum airflow and prevent disease.

Easily Grow Lavender At Home | GardenersPath.com

Water is not lavender’s friend, in the air or in the soil. So proper drainage, airflow, and fast-drying stone mulch will ensure a healthy harvest.

Consider a variety of Lavandula dentata or stoechas when growing in southeastern climates, as they naturally thrive in hot, steamy conditions.

The Cold North

Unfortunately, if you live in a northern region, then you’ll be faced with cold weather, saturated earth, and long winters.

Though the region presents more of a challenge when growing this species of plant, it can be done with a little extra love and patience. Many growers will plant in containers so they can be brought inside during the winter months.

Easily Grow Lavender Anywhere | GardenersPath.com

A good subspecies to grow for the colder northern climates is Lavandula angustifolia, a very cold-hardy hybrid.

Seeds for this variety are available on Amazon, from JPK Seed Company.

There are many varieties that thrive in very specific climates, so once you know your zone, you can identify the best species for your garden by asking your local nursery or other gardeners in your area.

‘Silver Mist’ English lavender is another gorgeous option. It thrives in zones 5-10, and has striking silver foliage that’s sure to stand out in your herb garden or flower beds. Seedlings are available in five-inch pots from Nature Hills Nursery.

Growing Outdoors

Lavender is a delightful plant to grow that easily adds variety to every gardening scenario, from landscaping to wild garden beds.

Do you know that you can grow lavender in any climate? Learn more here: https://gardenerspath.com/plants/herbs/grow-lavender/

In order to ensure strong growth and a healthy life, I will walk you through the steps and considerations of when, where, and how to grow your plant outdoors.

When?

If you are planting early in northern climates, you should skip ahead to the section on growing indoors. Or consider planting outdoors in the springtime after the last frost – as long as you’re not expecting too much rain.

Planting in the spring is challenging with wet weather, but it gives your lavender enough time to acclimate and strengthen before the following winter.

Remember, if your region experiences harsh winters with very wet weather, you should consider planting your lavender in a container so it can be brought in during the darkest winter months.

Easily Grow Lavender Outdoor | GardenersPath.com

November is a good time to plant in southern regions that don’t experience harsh winter weather.

Where?

Give ‘em Some Space

Lavender needs space to grow, allowing for maximum airflow – especially in southern regions with humid climates.

A good rule of thumb is to plant them as far apart as they will grow tall. Strong southern varieties will grow much taller than the northern varieties, which remain short and dense due to the cold weather.

Easy Tips On How To Grow Lavender | GardenersPath.com

If you are planting outdoors in a region with mildly cold winters, there are a few tricks you can use to naturally increase the temperature around your plants.

Planting near southern-facing stone walls or building walls will naturally radiate heat from the sun and warm your plants.

Other surfaces like asphalt, or the addition of stone mulch, can increase the amount of heat your plants receive. And as I said before – lavender loves heat.

Don’t Forget Drainage

Another vital element to consider when choosing where to plant your lavender is drainage.

Proper drainage is the key to a successful season, especially in regions with rainfall averaging around 12-15 inches. Lavender can’t tolerate an excess of water in the soil or in the air.

Find an area with well-drained soil, or consider organic additions to amend your soil.

If you’re concerned about your plants receiving too much water, you can always take an extra precautionary step: dig a half-foot deeper than the root ball and add a layer of gravel to assist drainage.

Do you think growing lavender in your region is not possible? Think again. Grow lavender in your garden now: https://gardenerspath.com/plants/herbs/grow-lavender/

Alternative places to plant lavender while maximize its growth potential include raised beds, containers, and pots.

How?

We’ve acknowledged just how detrimental excess water and cold climates can be to the growth of your plant.

Now it is time to take a closer look at the other two elements that are vital to its successful growth: adequate space, and rich soil.

An alkaline, lean soil will make for a happy, healthy plant.

Is your soil acidic? No worries, just add a half cup of a lime and bone meal mixture to your planting hole to sweeten it up a bit. Continue promoting strong growth by adding this mixture to the soil every year.

The third year of growth is when lavender reaches its peak. If your plant is not meeting your expectations after the first 2-3 years, it’s time to test your soil. If you find you need to compensate for acidic soil, you can throw in a little crushed oyster shell to improve alkalinity.

Crushed oyster shells can be helpful to get the perfect soil balance for growing lavender. | GardenersPath.com
Crushed oyster shells.

A great tip that we strongly advise is to dig your hole, line with gravel, then fill and mound the earth up to 12-24” above the soil line before planting.

The mound will settle some, but by piling the earth up before planting you will maximize drainage around the plant. The height also improves airflow, and as you already know, circulation is key!

Don’t forget the importance of providing ample room and adequate spacing to stretch out and feel the breeze. A spot with 6 or more hours of sunlight is ideal to keep your plants happy and warm.

Pruning

Pruning is very important as it aims to slow down the growth of woody stems, and forces the plant to produce new foliage.

The Best Tips On How To Grow Lavender | GardenersPath.com

Lavender should generally be pruned right after it flowers, and again at the end of the summer months to help prevent a damaging winter.

Pruning in early fall helps slow the process of woody stems and increases flower blossoms the following year.

If you have an especially woody plant, prune lightly throughout the growing season for maximum results.

Growing Indoors

If you have chosen to grow your lavender in containers that can be brought in during the cold winter months, the following tips will come in handy when the time comes to bring them inside.

Consider the Lavandula dentata variety when growing indoors, as the smaller plants do better in pots.

The biggest fallback of growing indoors is the lack of light. Place near a southern-facing window and consider providing supplemental lighting via grow lights if you’re in the darker, northern climates.

Sadly, with especially dark and cold winters, poor growth is to be expected when moving plants indoors. But it’s better than nothing!

How To Grow Lavender in Every Climate | GardenersPath.com

Remember that thing about lavender hating water? Well, planting indoors is no different.

Pots should be close in size to the root ball of your plant. Any larger and you risk root rot from waterlogged soil.

Consider adding a layer of gravel to the base of your pot to assist draining and use a terracotta pot – its sides release moisture and prevent rot.

The soil in your pot should be monitored closely for acidity. Make it a habit to add lime every month or so to give your lavender the lean soil it craves.

Water only when soil is dry up to one inch under the surface. It’s best to keep the plant in a cool room so you don’t shock it when it is placed back outside.

Harvest

The time has come to harvest, and lucky for you, it’s really rather simple. You want to be sure to cut the lavender above the start of the woody stem and then allow it to dry for two weeks. Pretty simple, right?

Amazing Tips On How To Grow Lavender | GardenersPath.com

You can bundle dried branches together for a sweet addition to a bouquet, or for an added sense of elegance around your home. Strip the blossoms off for use in potpourri or baking.

The essential oils in these plants have various medicinal properties, and they are often used as antiseptics, sleep aids, and for stress relief. These can easily be added to homemade soap, cleaning solutions, shampoos, lotions, and more.

Your Turn to Grow!

Lavender is beautiful, low-maintenance, and easy to grow if you know how to care for it.

Easily Grow Lavender In Your Backyard | GardenersPath.com

Years of growth and an abundance of uses when harvested make this plant ideal for any home garden or landscaping project.

Have you had success growing this stunning perennial herb? Share your experiences or your favorite DIY home recipes in the comments below!


Don’t forget to Pin It!

A collage of photos showing various plots of lavender growing in fields and containers.

Photo credit: Shutterstock.

The staff at Gardener’s Path are not medical professionals and this article should not be construed as medical advice intended to assess, diagnose, prescribe, or promise cure. Gardener’s Path and Ask the Experts, LLC assume no liability for the use or misuse of the material presented above. Always consult with a medical professional before changing your diet or using plant-based remedies or supplements for health and wellness.

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About Casea Peterson

Casea Peterson is a writer and screenplay adviser specialist for businesses in the outdoor industry. She has been writing personally and professionally since 2009, but when she doesn't have her pen in hand, she can be found somewhere in the woods hiking, hunting, or exploring the Pacific Northwest.

34 thoughts on “How To Grow Lavender in Every Climate”

  1. Thanks, Sherrol! We’re glad you enjoyed it and hope you will keep coming back for new articles. 🙂

  2. Thank you. I love this plant but never
    tried to grow it in south Florida. I will give it a try to see if I succeed!

  3. Loved the article. I planted some last November and it’s finally starting to bloom! Thanks for the tips so I can hopefully keep them going strong.

    • Thanks for reading, Justina! That’s great news. We’d love to see pictures – please share on our Facebook page!

  4. Great article! Saw a lavender plant in a small pot with the perennials at a local nursery and bought it. I live in northeast Ohio, so your tips for growing in cold climates hit the spot. I planted it in a large pot with herbs, so now I need to give the plant its own small pot with gravel for drainage and move to a sunnier spot. It’s blooming even though I did everything wrong!

    • That’s the beauty of hardy herbs Carolyn, even when abused they still perform! Just wait until it settles in its new well-drained, sunny location – you’ll love the results!

  5. Thanks for the great tips about lavender not liking water and loving heat. Mine is growing in a pot, so I’ll watch out for overwatering! Also I didn’t realize it was a perennial!!

  6. Wish I had seen your article before I planted my two lavender plants. I watered them literally to death. Had no idea they didn’t like water. ???? Will try again. Thanks. ????

  7. Thanks for the very optimistic article! I live on an arid and windy South Caribbean island and have tried growing lavender several times. Even though I have not been able to grow it from seed, I have imported several small plants when travelling, with varied results. I tried angustifolias and stoechas with no luck every time (plants wither and dry up), but have had good results with Multifida and with a Croatian variety (which unfortunately, neither can be purchased on the island!). The only problem is that the plants continue to grow but they do not flower. Do you have any tips on promoting the growth of flowers in such an arid and somewhat windy climate? I currently have them in a very light place with direct sunlight only in the morning. Thanks!

  8. There are three things you can try for more blooms Marie Anne.

    The first is to give your plants more sunlight. Eight hours a day is the ideal, with light shade in the hottest part of your Caribbean afternoons.

    The second is to provide your plants with a 2-inch layer of sand or gravel as a mulch to help retain heat.

    And the third is to prune your plants in spring as soon as new growth appears, cutting back the stems by about 1/3.

    Also, you might want to try a diluted amount of an all-purpose purpose fertilizer in the spring if your plants are struggling to get established – but only to spark new growth. After they’re established, eliminate the fertilizer.

    Hope this helps!

  9. Great post! I love lavender and have tried to grow it in the past. I currently have dried lavender in my home. I love the smell of it! This post makes me want to try to grow it again, since it can thrive in so many climates. Thank you for sharing!

  10. I grew my lavender in a container. Didn’t know I should have put it outside in the summer. It’s bushy, has woody parts in the middle, has never bloomed, but continues to grow. What should I do with it?

  11. Hi Lorna, this is a nice informative post about lavender. I wonder if I may pick your thoughts on the following.

    A week ago I finally found/bought myself a lavender plant.
    That took a while to find. It probably is not very common over here as the vendor could not advise on the proper way to get the best growing results.

    I’m living in a tropical climate, with about 33°C (91°F) year round, 4 to 5 months dry season but the rest of the year can be very humid. It is a fern-leafed lavender, so I guess that makes it a Lavandula multifida and for now I grow it in a plastic container, so I can put in another place if needed.
    I’m used to covering the earth around any plant with flat river stones, thinking that would avoid too much evaporation in dry times. It seems I have to mend my ways for this one.
    What else do have to adapt to get closer to the right conditions?
    A: Repack the container – gravel on the bottom – mix the soil with some river sand – gravel on top.
    B: Relocate to get the best of the sun.
    C: Still, for the rainy season I might have to look for an elevated place to get it some air on my sheltered patio.

    Am I on the right path with this?

    Saludos,
    Harold

  12. Thank you very much for the very useful information about lavender. I am Sara from Mongolia and I really would like to plant lavender in my country. I have purchased seed of Lavandula angustifolia from Ebay and am waiting for my seeds. When I receive the seeds, I am going to plant them. Our country is very dry and sunny. But in wintertime, sometimes it’s -30 degrees outside. In Mongolia, any people haven’t tried to grow lavender. I am worried about the winter conditions when planting it in my region. My dream is to become a lavender farmer in my country. I am just a beginner gardener, but I have strong wishes and dreams. So, please help me with some advice for planting lavender in Mongolia. 🙂 Very best wishes, Sara

    • Hi Sara, Thanks for your question! Wow, a commercial operation in Mongolia- how ambitious! The short growing season might make it difficult, but not impossible. Full sun and good drainage will be helpful, and the plants will likely go dormant in the wintertime. Apply a good layer of mulch to keep them warm during the colder months, and be very careful not to overwater in the winter. You may even consider moving plants to pots and bringing them into a greenhouse during the winter months. Good luck!

  13. Hi. Your article gave info many articles have left out. My daughter is getting married next January in Alabama, so I’ve decided to try to grow the lavender for her bouquet and decorations. The plan is to be able to move plants into a poly house so it can be fresh, rather than dried. The fall-back plan is to purchase from a local farm if we fail. My question is, am I being overly hopeful and ambitious, to expect adequate flowers by January? Thanks for your informative article, and for your help.

    • Wow, Julia, this is wonderful news- and this does sound like an ambitious project! Fresh lavender will be lovely for your daughter’s wedding- but it typically blooms in the spring and summer. However, you may have some success fooling your plants into thinking spring has come early if you can grow it in a warm place indoors under grow lights. The poly house will help, especially since you are located in the south, but adequate light is also key to encourage new growth and blooms. Wishing you the best of luck! Let us know how it goes.

  14. I live in a North facing apartment and would love to grow the true English variety of lavender.
    Do you have any tips to help me and my not-so-green thumb?
    By the way if it helps I live in Ontario Canada.

    • Hi Eileen. Unfortunately this is not going to be easy. Having a north-facing garden means you’re growing in the shade, at a significant disadvantage in comparison to southern-facing gardens. Do you have any outdoor gardening space at your apartment? And are there other types of plants that you are currently growing successfully, either indoors or outside?

      Lavender loves sun and doesn’t enjoy the cold, so your best best is to plant in containers that you can move with the sun throughout the day, and keep indoors in the sunniest spot(s) you have in the cold weather- which might mean 8-10 months of the year, in your location. To get the lovely blooms that you’re after, if you’re really serious about growing lavender, you may want to actually invest in some LED grow lights that offer a variety of light wavelengths in the red/blue spectrum. Keep them as warm as possible during the day, a little cooler at night. And if you’re growing from seed, you may need a warming mat to get them to germinate.

      If you’re able to keep them warm enough, with enough light and without overwatering, being careful to keep the soil alkaline without over-amending it, you will hopefully have some success growing short, dense, healthy plants. Having said all this, it’s probably clear that this is not going to be a project for beginners, given your conditions- but sometimes our best gardening projects are about the process, trying new things, and seeing what works. Fortunately, the English variety (L. angustifolia) is the most cold-hardy, so that’s a point in your favor. Good luck!

  15. Hi,

    I wonder… can I grow lavender in the tropics? I live in Malaysia and the water is hot (32 celsius) and very humid with rain in the evenings.

    • You’re in luck, Jasmine, since lavender loves hot weather! But it doesn’t like to be wet, so you’ll have to make sure it’s planted in soil with excellent drainage.

  16. I have purchase 3 plants from Lowes garden center and have returned 3 plants. I was reading your article on the watering and now I am beginning to think I was watering them to much (twice a day). Now the new plants are looking like they are dying too. I live where the summers are hot and dry. What am I doing wrong??

  17. Thank you for this information! My good intentions are killing my plant. I hope I have read this in time to save it. I’m doing almost the total opposite of what this article says to do and my plant looks poor.

  18. Thanks for this great info! I live in Southeast Florida, so I’m going to try out the varieties you recommended. I was curious about whether I should use a cactus/succulent soil mix for better results along with a layer of gravel underneath.

  19. Hi, thank you for this informative article. I live in the northeast (specifically an hr and a half east of Pittsburgh). I am a new gardener and I plan to start my own lavender farm this spring.

    I bought starter plants in November and I just transplanted them into 4″x10″ pots. I am growing them inside until April and my hope is that they get nice and big by spring planting. I am growing lavandula angustifolia (English). I am using a t5 light to grow them and so far they seem to like it but my question is this: what type of light spectrum do they prefer the most? I can change out the bulbs for the t5s to optimize the light spectrum but I’m not quite sure exactly what it is.

    Also, do you know how tall and wide English lavender grows to in the northeast? My zone is 5 (I think more specifically it is 5b-6a but don’t quote me on it).

    Thank you for your time, regards – Kyle

    • Hi Kyle,

      Wow, this is an ambitious project for a new gardener!

      Lavender loves a lot of light, so supplementing with grow lights while your plants are indoors is a great idea. Will they receive natural light during the day as well, and are you housing them indoors in a location with southern exposure?

      I don’t know if you have a greenhouse, but growing in the Northeast provides an added hurdle to jump over- since lavender is a Mediterranean plant, it generally prefers conditions that are more hot and dry than what’s common in your climate. This isn’t to say that you won’t have productive plants- like we explain in this article, you can encourage lovely lavender plants to grow just about anywhere! But there will be many variables at play that you will need to finely tune to the best of your ability in order to get the best results.

      My approach, as I’m sure is the case for most gardeners (though perhaps some may not admit this as readily?), is one of trial and error. You’re dealing with many different factors here, not only regarding available natural and artificial light, but also concerning the temperature and relative humidity of the location where your plants will be housed for the winter, watering, the size of your pots and the planting material you are using, and so on.

      How many plants do you have? I would encourage you to use this winter as a period of experimentation, trying a few different setups and keeping detailed notes on your progress that you can refer to again later.

      There are several lavender farms located in New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio- I suggest that you reach out to one or several of these, and find out if you can garner any growing advice specific to your area, from an expert in this field (pun very much intended). I would be surprised if you aren’t able to find at least a handful of growers who are eager to share their experiences and expertise with you.

      Since your aim is to encourage growth while they’re indoors rather than flowering, you want to focus on providing a broad light range, with a bit more on the blue light spectrum rather than the red/yellow spectrum. How many spots for bulbs do you have in your t5 fixture? Some experts recommend a mix of 3000k and 6400k bulbs to encourage photosynthesis, with more of the 6400s (for example, a 6:2 ratio of 6400k:3000k in an 8-bulb fixture). If you’re able to throw in one or two 4000k or 5000k bulbs as well, this should be of added benefit since these will enable you to provide a broad range in the wavelength spectrum for your plants, which should help to encourage even growth.

      Be sure to give your plants a daily cycle of light and darkness as well. A combination of natural and LED lighting for about 12 hours per day should be sufficient, up to 18 hours max. And keep in mind that the wattage of these bulbs matters as well- if you’re using higher wattage bulbs, they should be hung a bit further away from your plants.

      What kind of pots are you growing in? Depending on the size of your transplants, these pots may actually be too large to start, since they won’t be able to absorb a lot of moisture from the excess planting material around them while they’re small. Ensure that your plants have excellent drainage while they’re potted, and don’t over-water while they are indoors during the winter.

      Overall, English types aren’t known for the best indoor growing (as opposed to French varieties in particular) and it’s generally not advised to push new growth during the winter months when they would typically be dormant. Your main goal here should be to keep them alive through the winter, above and beyond anything else! But this is where a little experimentation comes in…

      The key (all other variables aside) will be a good mix of lighting of different wavelengths to try to avoid encouraging growth that is spindly. But if your results are looking a bit bedraggled and out of shape at the end of the winter, you can trim them and encourage new growth in the spring.

      Are you growing a cold-tolerant English cultivar? ‘Hidcote Blue’ is a favorite that’s very fragrant. Given optimal conditions, English lavender should max out at about 2-3′ tall and wide.

      Wishing you the best of luck!

  20. Hi Allison,

    I live in the Tarai region in the foothills of the Himalayas where summer temperature is around 42 degrees Celsius April to July, and in winter (November to Feb.) it ranges at night from 2-6 degrees Celsius and during the day 15-21 degrees Celsius. July to September, it rains heavily. How can I grow lavender? Thanks.

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