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How big a pot would I need for English Lavender?

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

How big a pot would I need for English Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia or vera) to grow fairly well?

It would not necessarily have to thrive and reach maximum size, but flower and live for a few years?

I have heavy clay soil, PNW rain, and would rather amend just a few pots to have very fast drainage, instead of a whole raised bed.

Also, my yard is small and I just saw some Lavender in the Oregon desert that was 3-4 feet across! I don't have room for much of that.

Thanks for any tips.

Corey

Burien, WA(Zone 7b)

I wouldn't start with anything smaller than a 5 gallon or approx 1'x1' tall and wide. It takes quite a while for lavender to get that big.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Wow, that wouldn't be worth it to me. Thanks for the warning.

Burien, WA(Zone 7b)

I'm confused. What wouldnt be worth it?

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Finding that big a container and dedicating that much soil to a plant that I'd have to fuss over because of excessive rain and cool summers.

I have a small yard and tiny deck, so a one gallon container is "big" to me.

Corey

Rose Lodge, OR(Zone 8b)

Are you sure you're envisioning the right thing? Rick, we're talking the size of a milk jug.
It's unlikely that I even HAVE a container smaller than that.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

I saw:
>> I wouldn't start with anything smaller than a 5 gallon or approx 1'x1' tall and wide

Granted, the footprint of a one-gallon milk jug could hold a 1.5 or 2 gallon pot, but I think my biggest pots are 1 or 1.5 gallons. Anything that wnats more soil than that has to live in the ground.

I should add that my idea of growing plants in pots hadn't gone past petunias until this year, when I put some Lobelia into 2-4 quart pots.

Corey

Rose Lodge, OR(Zone 8b)

Oh, it is probably me that is confused. I think 5 gallons is overkill; they are not heavy feeders. I have lavender & rosemary in 2- or 3-gallon terracotta pots & they are quite happy. Especially because I can move them under the eaves during overly rainy weather. It's the drainage that is crucial.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

My "must grow" urge is tapering off as days pass since I saw the huge ones in the OPregon desert - like big plant peacocks.

But it sounds like I could start them in 1 gallon pots and then pot up in a year or two.

>> during overly rainy weather.

That's what dowsed my enthusiasm: rainy season lasts 8-9 months here!

Corey

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Hi Rick- I got lavender " Thumbelina Leigh" this spring, I think it was from Sunnyside Nursery. It's smaller than the usual, and would fit great in a 1 or 2 gallon pot. I have clay, on an east facing slope, and regular lavender survives here in the ground-so it seems clay is ok, if it drains and is properly neglected in the summer!

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Hmm, buy a plant instead of starting from seeds. I guess I could, but I'm stubburn about starting from seed whenever possible.

The idea of a smaller variety, suited to a pot, is great.

>> I have clay, on an east facing slope, and regular lavender survives here in the ground-so it seems clay is ok, if it drains and is properly neglected in the summer!

That is good to know, and probably deserves to be a tip in Plant Files.

I have no east facing slope, in fact no slope with even part sun. But If I get ambitious again, and kicked sopmething out of an expsting raised bed, and amended that soil more, I might try it.

Until then, at most a pot.

Corey


Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Corey- I have some seeds for "Hidcote" Lavender. I was going to start a lot of things the last two springs, but got too busy taking care of the old folks. Would you like them? Seeds don't last forever and I can't see being able to take care of seeds next spring either. Of note, my house had some lavender in the ground on the west side of the porch, near some trees, so it really only got a few hours of afternoon sun. It survived years of neglect, and bloomed nicely.

(Ang) Bremerton, WA(Zone 8b)

Corey, you can cut them back some each year.

According to Purple Haze Lavender Farm: "Remove the blossoms in the fall. Prune your plant in the early spring to 2/3 its size, leaving a couple of inches of green above the woody stems. It seems drastic but this will stimulate new growth. Don't be afraid togive them a haircut. They respond very well to being shaped because plants that are not pruned may have a tendency to fall open in the middle and sprawl."

I can testify that they can take quite a butchering. A "landscaper" trimmed the ones we have here way back to the point we weren't sure they'd survive. They've bounced back just fine and flower the same as usual, maybe even more.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Actually, I'm giving my seeds away rather than looking for more. I'd better focus on plants more suited to my soil and climate for several more years, and put the energy into amending and creating mroe raised beds.

Althoguh, I was teempted at Home Depot on Sunday, when I saw a Lavender marked down to $2.50!

Corey

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Corey- maybe that is a good idea. This last hard winter I lost so many things that were only marginally hardy here. I am really trying to plant more of the stuff that survived. It's funny tho, some stuff I thought would die is doing great. For example there are some California Lilac (Ceanothus) shrrbs at least 10 feet tall. I think they must be 25 years old. They didn't like that cold weather, but have recovered. I lost a Spirea, and those live in much colder areas. I still give in to temptation. I was in Bellingham last week, and got two little shrubs from New Zealand for 2.50$ each at an end of season sale.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

I think it matters a lot how fast we go from "cool" to "cold", and perhaps how often we cycle through "thaw" and "freeze" in the spring. The USDA "average minimum temperature" is only one factor.

And how and when things are mulched must matter.


Corey

Seattle, WA

Hey, Rick. I was just in Everett today on my way home from Whidbey. I must have a jillion little volunteers coming up everywhere around my lavender, so don't be so determined about seeds. They often waste time when nature is being her old abundant self. Lots of people have little volunteers spilling out onto their sidewalks. Knock on a few doors! A tough plant to kill, and probably a wooden or clay planter would allow for plenty of evaporation. I was going to say sun is most important, but at my "new" house, both lavender and rosemary are growing like fools in the shade of my giant conifers. Don't forget to put in some rosemary, esp. if you like lamb. Every time I brush up against mine, the perfume sends me into near ecstasy. Also, both plants can be easily cut down to size, and cuttings will take root in a container of water, too, if you want more. These can make nice gifts or donations.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

>> both lavender and rosemary are growing like fools in the shade of my giant conifers.

Hunnh! I get a lot of my "info" from reading, but real people with real plants keep saying "on the other hand, that just ain't so".

>> a wooden or clay planter would allow for plenty of evaporation.

I like 8" or 12" paving stones propped up to make a raised bed. My theory (learned from Al / Tapla) is that a raised bed sitting on top of soil that drains is much better drained than a pot or planter with holes that just have a transition from potting soil to air. In a raised bed, in effect, the entire Earth is a big wick to keep water flowing down and out of the bed.

Some day I may try rooting cutting again. I know how to rot them, but not how to root them.

Whidbey Island, WA(Zone 8b)

Rick,
I live just across the water from you on Whidbey Island. We have numerous lavender farms here, so I can't see why you're afraid of the weather. Lavender is from England, which has very similar weather to ours. Lavender thrives here.
I'd go back to HD and see if they have any left. Or get those seeds in the ground! Really, what have you got to lose?

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

I keep reading "crown rot" and "very well-drained soil". Anyway, I just chopped down some juniper bushes and the will be digging out their roots and turning clay and rocks into soil for a few months. At the end of that time, I'll have some room for either a lot of small things, a few tomato plants, or a few lavender plants.

This is why I would rather put things into pots if they might live that way. I have more open space on the driveway or deck than I have bed space.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

I found some sad-looking year-end underwatered Lavender discounted at Home Depot - a pot for $2.50.

I brought it home and it looks happier. I think I ought to pot it up right away to the biggest pot I have, with well-draining mix. Plus compost? But maybe not fertilize it much.

I hope I don't stimulate it into late growth that can't take the cold.



Union, WA(Zone 8b)

Don't fertilize, it doesn't need it. The only thing to fertilize in the fall is your lawn.

This message was edited Sep 17, 2012 10:09 AM

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Thanks!

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