Consider growing lavender if you want to add color to your backyard garden. Lavender plants are known to produce beautiful flowers with loads of benefits to the growers. And it also gives beautiful garden fragrances that will have you wanting to spend all your time tending to them.
Lavender flowers are great when planted with other plants that require pollination as they attract insects, such as bees, that help pollinate. It can also be used for cooking, freshening your home, and making cosmetics and cleaning products.
This article explores the benefits of lavender, the best time to grow this beautiful flower, and the challenges you’ll face when growing it. But first, let’s better understand lavender.
Table of Contents
- 1 Understanding Lavender
- 1.1 Benefits of Growing Lavender
- 1.2 When is the Best Time to Grow Lavender?
- 1.3 Tips for Growing Lavender at Home
- 1.4 Final Thoughts
Lavender is a stunning plant that is grown for its versatility. It belongs to the mint family and produces purple flowers with a sweet floral fragrance. This beautiful flower has a rich history dating about 2500 years back and is believed to be a native of the Mediterranean, Middle East, and India. However, now it can be found worldwide.
This flower was used as a holy herb to freshen clothes, hair, and spaces. There are over 30 types of lavender flowers, and each type thrives in different conditions. So, do your research to make a perfect choice. Let’s look at the best 5 varieties of lavender.
- English Lavender: Also known as true lavender and thrives in cool and temperate climates. It can also excel in mild to warm summers.
- French Lavender: Also called fringed lavender due to the shape of the flowers. It thrives in mild summers and winters. The flowers have light lavender-blue hues.
- Spanish Lavender: Also known as Butterfly Lavender and it’s suitable for cooking and making essential oils. Best grown in mild summers and winters.
- Portuguese Lavender: Also called Spike Lavender. The flowers are pale lilac and are primarily used in food and drinks. The sweet scent is attractive to pollinators.
- Italian Lavender: It is suitable for the coastal climate.
Note: You’ll find lavender thrives with full sun, little water, and sandy and well-drained soil. However, root rot can cause your lavender plant to change its color to yellow, or even brown.
Benefits of Growing Lavender
Now that you know the different types of lavender let’s look at the benefits.
- Easy To Grow
Lavender is suitable for beginner and experienced growers as it is easy to grow. But ensure that you are growing it in a location with access to full sun for a minimum of 6 hours per day. They can also thrive when grown under partial shade and good air circulation. However, ensure no strong winds, as the flower heads are fragile and may be destroyed.
You must also ensure that the soil is well-drained and slightly alkaline, making sandy soil the best option. The best part is that it grows into a large bush, which can be used as a hedge. And also makes a great companion plant, and there is a variety to choose from.
- Health Benefits
Lavender is also popular for its therapeutic properties. Some of the common health benefits include:
- Antifungal: Research found that lavender oil can effectively treat fungal infections, such as C.albicans, on the skin as it destroys the membranes of fungal cells, killing them. Thus, it can be used to treat ringworms and athlete’s foot.
- Hair loss: Research shows that lavender can promote hair growth.
- Sleep aid: It can be used to improve sleep patterns as it helps you calm your mind and relax, thus relieving you of your stress and anxieties, which could be inhibiting your sleep. You can apply several drops of essential oil in your diffuser at night or apply a little on your fingers and rub your temples.
Alternatively, you can boil dry lavender flowers and inhale the scent an hour or two before sleeping.
- It has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, making it an excellent option for your skin. That’s why you will find bath oils and soaps containing lavender oil, as they can effectively treat acne, eczema, and psoriasis.
- Bug Repellant
Not only does lavender attract helpful insects, but it also repels bad ones. So if you have plants in your home garden prone to bugs, you can plant lavender instead of chemicals.
It can effectively keep mosquitoes, flies, moths, spiders, and other insects away from your garden, making your time a bliss while tending to the plants.
If you live in an apartment with no garden to plant lavender, you can plant it in a pot and place it on your window sills. Its scent will effectively keep away mosquitoes and flies away from your house. That’s why many people use lavender in their homemade bug spray.
- Lavender in Food
Lavender is also used as a herb for cooking. Its scent and color make the dishes look delicious and give them a unique taste. Lavender is used chiefly for cooking desserts, such as tarts, ice creams, cakes, scones, hot chocolate, pancakes, crepes, and salad dressing.
Recipe for making salad dressing using lavender
- 6 teaspoons of olive oil
- 1 minced garlic clove
- 1 teaspoon of lime juice
- 2 teaspoons of vinegar
- 2 teaspoons of honey
- 1 teaspoon of blended or finely ground lavender buds
Mix all the ingredients in a blender and run. And voila..! you have your salad dressing.
Lavender syrup recipe
- 1 cup of water
- 2 cups of sugar
- 3 tablespoons of dried or fresh lavender buds
- Put all the ingredients in a pot and boil them for 15 minutes while stirring occasionally. Ensure that the sugar is dissolved.
- Let it simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Remove the pot from heat and let the mixture cool and steep for about 60 minutes and sometimes longer.
- Test the flavor to ensure it’s to your liking.
- Then strain the mixture in a jug to remove the lavender.
- Pour your syrup into a bottle and refrigerate it.
- Then use as you see fit. You can pour it on your desserts or drinks.
5. Make Tasty Beverages
Lavender also makes tasty drinks. You can use it in your lemonade or make the popular lavender tea. Some people also include lavender in their drinking water.
First, you’d have to make syrup, as shown above, and then add it to your drinks. It can also be a great addition to your cocktails. And to add a unique taste, you can add lemon zest or honey.
6. Attracts Helpful Insects (Pollinators)
Apart from repelling nasty bugs, lavender helps attract good insects, such as bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, in your home garden. This makes it a great companion for other plants.
I don't have a lot of space on the balcony, I'm seriously looking at vertical farming option— Melon (@MaBankbuuk) November 27, 2022
I got a lavender plant too pic.twitter.com/M67JgIEoQB
7. Deer Resistant
If you live near a forest that is known to have plenty of deer, then make lavender your garden’s best friend. This is because lavender scent keeps deer and rabbits away, thus protecting your vegetation from being destroyed.
8. For Your DIY Projects (Bath And Body Products)
If you are a DIY person who loves to make your own products, be it cleaning products, soaps, or even skin products, then lavender is your goldmine.
Homemade lavender soap
- 14 oz olive oil
- 8 oz coconut oil
- 3 oz almond oil
- 3 oz sunflower oil
- 3.95 oz lye
- 9 oz distilled water
- 2 teaspoons of purple clay
- 1.23 oz of lavender essential oil
- Ensure you are wearing gloves and glasses before you begin the process. And work in a well-ventilated room to avoid breathing in the fumes.
- Pour the lye slowly while stirring in the distilled water until it’s completely dissolved.
- Next, pour in the purple clay while stirring. This gives the solution color.
- Set the solution aside for 40 minutes to cool down until the temperature is about 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Melt coconut oil in the microwave and mix it with the other oils.
- Take your lye solution, pour it into the warmed oils, and mix them with an immersion blender.
- Stir until the soap batter thickens and gets a light trace.
- Add your lavender essential oil and stir.
- Then pour the batter into a soap mold, coat it with wax, and place it in the freezer while covering it with a towel.
- Keep an eye on it; when it develops cracks, remove it and store it in a cooler place.
- Let the mold rest for about 2 days before removing it and slicing it into sizable soap bars. Ensure it’s not sticking to your cutting tools.
- Then cure the bars by placing them on coated cooling racks for about 4 weeks. Then it’s ready for use.
Homemade lavender tonic water
You can make lavender tonic water for your skin using this simple recipe.
- 7 drops of lavender oil
- 150 ml of distilled water.
Mix the two in a spritz bottle and shake well before use. You can also use the mixture to spray around your house for a refreshing smell and keep bugs away.
Homemade bath scrub
If you want a natural bath scrub, then follow this recipe:
- ½ cup of sea salt or white sugar
- ¼ cup of baking soda
- 20 drops of lavender oil
- ¼ of extra virgin coconut oil or olive oil
- Ground coffee if you love its smell
- Add several dried lavender flowers
Mix the ingredients in a jar, seal it, and store it in the fridge.
Scoop out the amount you need each time and use it to scrub your body, including the face.
9. Decorating The House
If you love placing flowers in vases around your house, ensure that lavender is included in your arrangement. Not only will it make your home look beautiful, but it will also help repel bugs from the house.
It also comes in handy if you have pets, as it can help repel ticks and other insects.
10. Craft Projects
If you are crafty, lavender is a great flower and plant to keep you and your kids busy for hours. You can make flower crowns and wear them on your heads, then take pictures for memories.
You can also use dry lavender in your pillows, which will be of great help as it will calm and soothe your mind for better sleep.
You can also make a lavender potpourri
Take your dried lavender buds and add several drops of lavender essential oils. Then add mini pine cones. Then make small sachets filled with your potpourri. Then you can place it in your closet and drawers to keep them smelling sweet and fresh.
If you love making candles, you can also use lavender to make lavender-scented candles. The candles enhance your house ambiance and give it a relaxing aromatic fragrance.
11. Can Be Used To Make Essential Oil
As we all know, lavender essential oil is made from lavender buds. If you have a big garden of lavender, you can easily make your bottle of essential oil at home.
If you are using your oil for cooking purposes, ensure that you use an edible carrier oil. On the other hand, if it’s for cosmetic purposes, you have to ensure the carrier oil is suitable for your skin.
Some of the best carrier oils include avocado, jojoba, grape seed, argan, safflower, sunflower, hempseed, and coconut.
- Take a glass jar and fill it with dried lavender buds up to 3/4 full.
- Pour your carrier oil over the lavender buds up to the brim to ensure all the buds are covered. Then seal it with an airtight lid.
- Place the jar outside in a warm and sunny place for 1-3 weeks. Remember to shake it regularly.
- After three weeks, strain your mixture using a fine mesh strainer. You can repeat the process using a cheesecloth.
- And there, you have your lavender oil and store it in a cool, dry, and dark location. Or in the fridge.
Lavender grows in huge bunches, making your garden look beautiful and smell nice.
Desert lavender, just now coming into bloom. I love the contrasting colors & textures of this drought-tolerant plant! They emit a wonderful fragrance after it rains, or when you rub the silvery-gray leaves between your fingers. #FlowerReport from my coastal #SoCal garden. pic.twitter.com/9RHYPEoChj— Melodye Shore (@MelodyeShore) November 27, 2022
When is the Best Time to Grow Lavender?
The best time to grow lavender is spring, as the soil is just warming.
Tips for Growing Lavender at Home
- Since lavender grows into huge bushes, you are advised to grow the plants at least 3 feet apart.
- Ensure that the soil is dry and has access to full sunlight for a minimum of 6 hours.
- These beautiful flowers prefer poor or moderately nutrient-rich soils with a neutral pH.
- The flowers bloom during summer.
Lavender is an excellent addition to your home garden as it looks beautiful and smells nice. The plant’s versatility is the reason it’s many people’s favorite. It not only repels terrible bugs in your garden but also attracts pollinators.
The buds can be used to make tasty cuisine and drinks, not forgetting to keep your home free of bugs and smelling nice. Grow lavender in your garden and get to enjoy the benefits discussed above.