Growing Lavender in Maryland

Dried lavender flowers can be used in a variety of ways. One of my favorites to-dos is a lavender body oil perfect for soothing sore muscles and irritated skin and provides a scent that will relax both mind and body. Lavender Tonic is not difficult to make you will need thirty minutes of time to complete this project from start to finish.

Growing lavender is not difficult, even for those with less than prime conditions. By selecting the right variety for your area, you can easily grow masses of the fragrant, perennial herb for years to come.

There are over 200 varieties of Lavender.

Lavender flourishes in arid climates. In the Mediterranean where the climate is sunny and dry, and in the rocky soil of English gardens. Two varieties that are hardy enough to grow anywhere are English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) “Hidcote Blue” and “Munstead”. It’s always an adventure to try new varieties and see what grows the best with the least amount of time and effort.

Lavender Field with monarch butterfly with wings wide-open

Considerations when growing lavender.

First consider the growing conditions. Lavender loves dry well drained soil and full sun. As for soil-type, if you want to grow your lavender for its essential oils it is recommended that the soil is lean, chalky, and mostly alkaline in its nature. This combination minimizes risk of root rot from dampness.

Unique uses for the purple plant. Discover five ways to use lavender as a bug and moth repellent, to soothe aches and pains, for burn relief and in food. Calm your stomach, mind, and skin.

Don’t get the feet wet.

Though the plant is extremely tough and can survive a severe drought, it doesn’t do well in humid summers and severe winters, you can easily lose a plant or two with this sort of weather. In addition, it takes a while for the plant to become established. In its first few years, the plant is very sensitive, and requires a few handfuls of compost and fertilizer.

Damp soil kills lavender more than any other condition, the soil should be very well drained. Because in winter months the soil freezes and thaws continuously, a thick layer of mulch will help keep the plant’s roots dry.

We find that planting on mounds helps to drain water away from the root system, but the truth is in Maryland, the humidity and the recent rise in rainy season makes growing lavender more challenging than it has been in the past.

DIY Lavender oil recipe that's easy to make and supports relaxation.

Growing Lavender in containers

Lavender likes having its roots in a tight space. Pots should measure no more than an inch larger than the root ball, if the pot is much larger, there may be a problem with dampness. Make sure there is lots of drainage. Be sure there’s no standing water in the container.

For drainage: add some pebbles or rocks in the bottom layer of the pot which will keep excess water away from the roots. You can also choose to use a soilless mix for your plants which is mulch and other potting substances mixed together.

The best soil for growing lavender is gritty or sandy soil with a pH factor between 6.0 and 8.0. Lavender requires full sun, needing eight or more hours of direct sunlight a day.

dark lavender field

Not all lavender is ideal in pots. 

If you are searching for the best lavender for small containers are; Nana Alba (L. angustifolia) Irene Doyle (L. angustifolia) Blue Cushion (L. angustifolia) and Lavenite Petite (L. angustifolia). You can grow Hidcote or Munstead in containers, but repotting every 1-2 years is best for optimal growth and blooming.

Lavender Harvest at Chesterhaven Beach Farm

Lavender should be planted in full sun.

If this is your first time growing lavender the following do well in tight spaces: Fringed Lavender, (L. Dentata) and French lavender are good for zones 8-9. Spanish lavender is preferred in humid areas and environments such as ours here in Maryland.

We’ve had some good luck with Lavender Phenomenal (Lavandula intermedia) it is tolerant of high heat and harsh winter and shows resistance to the effects of humidity. Highly fragrant with concentrated essential oils Phenomenal is edible, deer-resistant and fast-growing.

Lavender oil is a relaxing elixir. Dried lavender flowers can be used in a variety of ways. One of my favorites to-dos is a lavender body oil perfect for soothing sore muscles and irritated skin and provides a scent that will relax both mind and body.

We’ve experienced lots of ups and downs growing lavender on the Eastern Shore, so we are are always looking for new and different varieties to add to our fields.

Pruning lavender is not at all difficult. Each variety may have different requirements.

The best time for pruning is once flowering is over for us, that is in late June. We find that this often results in two blooms per year during a good growing season.

What are your favorite types of lavender? What types have you had success growing? Let us know!

Unique uses for the purple plant. Discover five ways to use lavender as a bug and moth repellent, to soothe aches and pains, for burn relief and in food. Calm your stomach, mind, and skin.
Five Ways to use lavender

More on Lavender:

Harvesting lavender has become an event on Chesterhaven Beach Farm.
More on Lavender.
Lavender Recipes.
Lavender Infused Honey
Lavender Honey Lollipops

Resources
Lavender

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About the Author

kara

Kara waxes about the bees, creates and tests recipes with her friend Joyce, and does her best to share what she’s learned and continues to learn about the bees, honey, ingredients we use and more.

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2 thoughts on “Growing Lavender in Maryland

  1. This is pretty awesome.. I’d love to have an apiary on some lavender or hemp fields. Where on the eastern shore is this? Do they allow curious visitors?

    1. Hey Dan, Glad you like the article. It’s a labor of love, but we highly recommend it if you are up for the challenge. We don’t host guests on our apiary as yet. Maybe one day, just not today.

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