Plant care & Tips

What Kind of Soil Does Lavender Like?

What soil does lavender like? Knowing the kind of soil lavender needs is the first and foremost step toward having a successful lavender garden. If you choose the wrong soil, growing lavender will be difficult for you.

I have seen many first-time gardeners suffer because they picked the wrong soil for their plants.

Lavender plant originated from the Mediterranean regions. The plant can survive under harsh conditions like intense heat and little water. Therefore, asking what is the best soil for lavender in pots isn’t a dumb question.

Now, what type of soil do lavenders need? Lavender likes Poor nutrient, airy, and well-drained soil. They can thrive amongst rocks, little water, and under intense heat. Lavender needs a medium that is neutral to slightly alkaline (lavender soil pH 6.5 – 8).

Lavender doesn’t do well with soil with water retention, and the compactness of clay soil is the exact opposite of soil the plant needs. Having much organic matter in your potting soil can increase the acidity of the soil over time. And you know acidic soils are bad for lavenders.

An Overview of Lavender Plant

Lavender comes with enormous benefits to us. It has a pleasant fragrance and is use as a scent for wardrobes. The foliage is edible and has medicinal value too.

The plants are excellent pollinator plants; they produce a soft scent that attracts pollinating insects. Having them around makes a good addition to any garden.

The plant is a low-maintenance plant that can survive with little water. They produce an essential oil that repels pests.

There are many hybrids of lavender cultivated for different climates and growing conditions.  Lavender, of the genus Lavandula, and has four subgenera which include:

  1. Lavandula angustifolia – English Lavender a.k.a. true lavender
  2. Lavandula stoechas – French Lavender
  3. Lavandula multifida – Egyptian Lavender a.k.a. fernleaf lavender
  4. Lavandula dentata – Spanish Lavender

What Kind of Soil Does Lavender Like?

Lavender grows in the wild among rock cracks, little water, under intense heat, and dry soil. The best way to encourage their growth is to imitate these conditions if you decide to plant in a pot or garden.

The soil conditions lavender thrive best are airy and well-drained soil, neutral to alkaline, and nutrient-poor.

Lavender is a shrub that comes from the Mediterranean, a region that is dry and hot. In the past, our beloved lavender plant grows in the wild. The soil was not prepared or amended for them, but they manage to survive.

In the wild, these plants grow within rock cracks, in dry soil, under intense heat. That was the condition lavender had, and they made the best out of it.

Therefore, when providing the best kind of soil, the plant needs, whether in a pot or your garden. You have to present a condition similar to what these plants have in the wild.

The characteristic of soil that lavender like best is: An airy and well-drained soil, Poor organic and neutral to slightly alkaline soil.

An Organic Poor Soil

Does lavender like organic soil? Lavender likes Poor organic soil; soil Poor in nutrients. It is advisable not to add much compose to the lavender soil mix.

The Plant and other woody shrubs prefer nutrient-poor soil. They need such kind of soil to grow better-scented flowers which is the essence of the plant anyways.

Excessive fertilizing of the soil will make lavender grow more leaves and foliage than flowers or get killed. Too much organic matter or compost breaks down and increases soil acidity. The acidic level may harm your plant as time goes on.

Slightly Alkaline Soil

The ideal soil pH should be around 6.5 and 8. In other words, lavender does best in neutral to slightly alkaline soil.

In a situation where the soil is acidic (pH lower than 6.5), most lavender plants will suffer because the condition isn’t what they want. To be safe, it is best to perform a soil test to know the pH condition of your soil.

What if my soil is acidic? When faced with acidic soil, add ½ cup of limestone and bone meal mixture and repeat the process every year this will continue to promote the growth of your lavender.

You can get your limestone and bone meal from Amazon.

An Airy and Well-Drained Soil

In the wild lavender grow among crack rocks. Therefore, the appropriate soil for this plant should be a little rocky. Having gravel mixed with soil will provide lots of airiness for your plant.

lavender’s natural habitat lacks rainfall and comes with intense heat. It has adapted and developed a root system that can extract all the water around to thrive. Therefore, having your plant in a humid, clayey, or human-controlled environment with so much watering isn’t the best for lavender.

New gardener thinks that they are doing their plant a favor by watering often, but they are killing them. Your lavender plant will develop a root rot with this kind of care.

Best Soil Mix for Lavender?

You can grow lavender either in the pot or on the ground in a garden. Therefore, whichever means you choose to grow lavender, there are few things you need to do to prepare the best soil mix.

Soil Mix Recipe for Lavender in Pots:

Soil Mix Recipe for Lavender in Pots - what soil does lavender like

I should sound it as a warning to you that regular soil is not suitable for lavender. Regular soil contains more nutrients than what is required and retains water. Therefore, it is not an ideal soil to plant lavender.

Here is the best potting soil mix recipe for lavender

One-third of perlite or coarse sand: Perlites are well known to be permeable. It is light rock sourced from volcanic areas. Coarse sand is light and airy; it gives room for increase drainage.

Two-third of potting soil: Potting soil provides the growth medium and structure that traps water and has a couple of nourishment.

The above is my number one mix that permits lavender to develop very well in my pot. There is some other soil recipe good for lavender you could discover around your environment. Gardening is certainly not a definite science, so different soil blends might work.

The soil has to be light and with more coarse material for air passage.

How to Prepare Soil for Lavender in Pots?

To prepare the ideal soil mix recipe for a lavender plant, the first thing you need is to have a top grade well-drained potting soil. Try not to buy cheap brands found in some nurseries. These soils come with lots of pests and loaded with horrendous textures.

I strongly suggest that you use Foxfarm Ocean Forest Garden Potting Soil Mix. I have used it for my plant, and it grew optimally. Foxfarm has a PH of around 6.3 to 6.8, and this is ideal for lavender. Foxfarm has an all-around permeability and probably with the best consistencies of all gardening soils.

Soil for Lavender in Pots - foxfarm
FoxFarm Organic Potting Soil

Combine two parts of potting soil with one part of perlite, oyster shell, or coarse sand. The mixture makes the ideal potting soil for lavender. Two-third of Foxfarm + one-third of oyster shell, coarse sand, or perlite.

After all the ingredients are together, start mixing vigorously. Use a trowel or your hand to mix them very well (Wear a garden glove, if you don’t have one get from here). It is essential to blend the three-component properly for better results.

Soil for Lavender in Pots - Perlite - what soil does lavender like
Mother Earth Perlite

Soil for Lavender on the Garden

The requirements applicable to grow lavender in a pot are the same for lavender planted directly to the soil in the garden. However, extra care is needed, as you do not have total control as you had in a pot.

Firstly, you need to perform a water retention test before planting. Now, make a hole the same as the one for planting lavender and fill it with water. Pay close attention.

Did the soil soak all the water within 10 seconds? or just sat there for more than 10 minutes? If your observation is the latter case, you should prepare the garden soil to support lavender growth.

How to Prepare Garden Soil for Lavender?

When preparing the garden soil for a lavender plant, there are two ways to do it:

  1. You can make a raised bed and use the soil mix medium talked about before;
  2. Or Amend the soil if your garden soil is like the second soil in the water retention test above.
 Raised beds - How to Prepare Garden Soil for Lavender
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Soil Amendment for Lavender Plants Outdoor

Planting my lavender plant outside requires that I amend the soil for my plant. I do so by following these steps. Add perlite, coarse sand, oyster shell clay stones, and any other non-water absorbing material that increases drainage and airflow. These give the best soil amendments for lavender planting.

You can amend your garden soil in the below manner:

Dig a hole in the place you want to plant your lavender. If you have to grow varieties of them, go with a long burrow.

Place at the lower part of the opening a couple of layers of rocks and oyster shells. The process keeps the roots from getting wet as the inevitable overabundance of water will occupy the stone’s spaces instead of growing the roots.

Prep the soil mix and fill the burrow. The soil mix recipe should be equivalent to one previously discussed. Use half of your soil mixture here.

Lay the plant into the hole and be mindful not to break a large number of roots. Use the leftover portion of the mixture to cover the gap between each lavender plant and the opening.

Use gravel or rocks as soil cover to keep weeds away from stalking and contending with the lavender plant.

Frequently Asked Questions on What Soil Does Lavender Like

Can I Grow Lavender from Seed?

Yes! Lavender can grow from seeds, but they are difficult to grow from seed. Growing lavender plant from seed takes additional steps to get the germination process going. Lavender seed is planted indoors about three to four months before the anticipated planting time for your zone or region.

Can you use potting soil for a Lavender Plant?

When starting a lavender garden, you can use potting soil with perlite, coarse sand, or clay rock. The best potting soil mix recipe for lavender planting is two-third of potting soil + one-third of perlite + one-third of oyster shell and coarse sand.

There are many mixes you can find around or maybe discover other soil recipes good for Lavender. Gardening is certainly not a definite science. Other soil mixes might work. But, the soil has to be light and with more coarse material for air passage and drainage.

Does Lavender Plants like acidic soil?

Lavender prefers an alkaline soil of about pH 8. But grow in slightly acidic soils from pH 6.5. These ambient duplicate the normal soil conditions in the Mediterranean region where lavender grows in well-drained, sandy, and alkaline soils.

However, when faced with much acidic soil. There are other ways you can make your soil more alkaline. The easiest and the best way is by adding lime. Garden Lime can be gotten in most garden stores online and offline.

limestone - What soil does lavender like
Earthborn Elements Calcium Carbonate Powder

It comprises ground limestone with calcium carbonate as the active ingredient, contributing to neutralizing the soil.

Can I Use Cacti Soil for Lavender?

Lavender can effectively grow in cactus soil. But, it is probably going to need more wetting than the lavender mixture. Keep in mind, lavender isn’t a desert plant and requires more water than cacti plants. You can water your Lavender plant once each week, while Cactus can get water one time each month.

Finally on What Soil Does Lavender Like

Thinking of what soil does a lavender like is the first approach towards having a successful lavender garden. The soil potting mix recipe mentioned above is one of the best mediums to plant your lavender plant.

If you are starting your first lavender garden research wide, connect with other experienced gardeners on and off the internet. 

Happy gardening.


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