• The Lavender Experiment

    by  • May 11, 2014 • Sierra Foothills • 8 Comments

    What happens if you don’t trim lavender?

    You all may know I like garden experiments. For the last two years I’ve been experimenting with my Spanish lavender field and NOT trimming the blooms off.

    2014 Lavender field

    2014 Lavender field

    This is the field a week ago that I’ve not trimmed OR watered and as I went up to inspect, I noticed something really nice.

    Seven years ago, I planted a grid of 4″ lavender plants, 3 ft apart on an abandoned driveway with a gravel base. Not only are the eighteen plants blooming just as nicely as ever with NO care, but there are dozens of 2-3 inch seedlings ready to be transplanted elsewhere. Bonanza! I’ll be able to plan another field!

    Conclusion: With prices going up for 4″ pots of flowers and herbs, letting your lavender go to seed makes for good value and less work.

    Here is the Lavender field from planting to now:

    2007 Lavender planted

    2007 Lavender was planted on an old driveway uphill from the house, about nine 4″ plants, three ft apart.


    2008 More plants were added to create a grid.  They bloom in April and May

    2008 More plants were added to create a grid. They bloom in April and May


    2008 Growing but pretty sparse

    2008 Growing but pretty sparse


    2010 Blooming in May, now looking like a field!

    2010 Blooming in May, now looking like a field!


    Spanish Lavender, Lavandula stoechas, have the largest flowers

    Spanish Lavender, Lavandula stoechas, have the largest flowers


    2011 Lavender in full bloom in the gravel soil

    2011 Lavender in full bloom in the gravel soil


    2013 Field is a true joy each April and May

    2013 Field is a true joy each April and May.  This is the first Spring bloom after a ‘no trim’ Summer’


    2014 Lavender fields hopefully for a long time maybe not forever

    2014 Lavender fields, maybe not forever, but hopefully for a long time



    Sue Langley, a passionate gardener and photographer lives and gardens with her husband and Corgi, Maggie on 7 acres just south of Yosemite, Zone 7 at 3000 feet. She also manages the Flea Market Gardening Facebook page and website.

    8 Responses to The Lavender Experiment

    1. carol
      May 11, 2014 at 12:43 pm

      I built my home 5 years ago and I added Lavender on my slope it is as beautiful as Day one, But I do cut it back, it comes back full with good color and full of blooms in spring I love it and the Deer will not touch it .

      • Sue Langley
        May 16, 2014 at 6:25 am

        Oh, Carol, I’m glad to hear that you’re enjoying your lavender, too! This year, I will trim mine to keep the nice rounded shapes. After two years not, it will look nice. Meantime, I’ll be planning where I can transplant the seedlings.. Fun!

    2. May 17, 2014 at 7:50 pm

      Thanks for the Spanish lavender update. I dug up a neighbors tiny plant last year, stuck it in a I-don’t-care-if-it-lives-or-dies flowerbed, and it lived to sprout into a nice, healthy-looking plant this spring. That’s in our fenced backyard. NOW I know what to plant in our front (unfenced and deer vulnerable) yard. Don’t you love the flower color?

      • Sue Langley
        May 20, 2014 at 7:36 am

        Yes, lavender, rosemary and rockrose are all on my list for tough, and colorful shrubs that deer don’t eat. The first two bloom twice a year! The Spanish lavender has the largest flowers and just glow in afternoon light…love the color! Did you know there is a rose-pink lavender, Nickie?

    3. May 20, 2014 at 12:32 pm

      Don’t believe I knew about the rose-pink lavender. I have rosemary and Spanish lavender in my backyard (along with yarrow), all transplants from next door, all doing very well. I plan to introduce them into the front yard, as well. What color is your rockrose?

    4. Sunshinewai
      July 3, 2014 at 5:28 am

      Did you know there are white lavender?

    5. Carol
      April 30, 2015 at 10:25 am

      Now that I have about a dozen lavenders and they are looking wonderful I have been trying Sage I wish I kept the Names one has purple Flowers and smells wonderful in the Cool evening breeze coming off the river the other one has a dark Cinnamon flower and also smells nice I also have a Russian sage it is nice but not so nice a smell and the deer won’t touch them I tried yarrow it was so pretty the first year but this year it came back a nice green ball then the Deer ate it so i put a flower pot over it every night it has come back but not as nice ,I am hoping they will leave it alone one it becomes woody they may not want it, they didn’t touch it last year

      • Sue Langley
        April 30, 2015 at 11:19 am

        Most sages, or salvias are perfect for our area. The deer, I think, they are too pungent to eat. Yarrow, too,…and hopefully they’ll leave it alone. Too fuzzy! ~~ Sue

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