Growing Lavender in Georgia
Various people have posted the following comments about their experiences with lavender in Georgia:
Zone 7a/b: ...it's been problematic in my garden here. Of the five or six angustifolia [English lavender] varieties I've tried in the past couple of years, three died back, and then off, fairly soon. If planted in the fall, they grew and looked small but nice during the winter, put on a great spring and early summer show, then tended to get sick with the hot humidity of summer. Qualifying them as good annuals anyway. I do still have 'Seal' as a survivor that's actually looking pretty decent after 2 years.
Zone 7a: "My Spanish lavender is doing great. In fact, it is just now [June 10, 2002], reaching full bloom and looks just swell. Give it a try."
Zone 7: "Neighbor has a Spanish lavender that looks pretty good -- it's about 3 years old. PS -- buy plants as I think the seeds were impossible to do."
Zone 7: I have lavender stoechas [listed in Hortiplex as French Lavender] that is doing really well. I can't remember exactly when I bought it, but I think in summer of 2002. Then I moved this year and brought the lavender with me. It has grown and really looks good. I amended the soil with compost and plenty of sand. I don't water it much. It's on a slight slope so probably never gets waterlogged.
Zone 7a/b: My Select Seeds catalog just arrived, and I notice it offers seed for a selection of Spanish lavender (stoechas pedunculata) 'Fragrant Butterflies." Lavender is easy to grow from seed, so this would be a good way of getting a nice stand of a type that should do better than most.
Zone 7b, South Carolina: I have spanish lavender "otto quasti". It's beautiful and from what I have read very suitable for this area.
Zone unknown: "For me, lavender lasts for only about three years, then it's time for a new plant as it gets woody and scruffy. There was someone on my street who had Spanish lavender that lasted longer than that, but eventually they replaced it (with more) after probably about 5 or 6 years."
Zone 7: "I have had the best luck with Lavender 'Provence'. It has come back beautifully for five summers now and is covered up with blossoms right now [mid June]. Some other varieties just disappeared after two or three years. The bees love it almost as much as I do! I plant all my herbs in raised beds in soil that has been lightened up with mason's sand, vermiculite, compost, Nature's Helper etc....they need good drainage. I almost never water my lavender. It doesn't seem to need it! I get 'Provence' at Pike's and Lost Mountain Nursery on Dallas Highway ( Rte.120). Good luck!"
Zone 8b-9a: "I have had good luck with Provence lavender. Maybe not as ornamental as others but long lasting strong scent for harvesting flowers. Makes great potpourri!"
Zone 7: "I started 'Hidcote Blue' lavender from seed this year. It germinated slow (a little over two weeks), but all seeds germinated. I planted the seedlings outside in large containers in early May and they are really taking off! Beautiful purple flowers, heavenly fragrance, and very sturdy plants. Hidcote Blue is compact and bushy lavender that is supposed to do well in the South."
Zone 7: This fall I planted the Hidcote and have seen some die back where I pruned off a few flowers. This spring I'm going to give it a dose of lime and shear it back like a shrub and hope for the best.
Zone 9b (coastal Florida): "I grow these 3 lavenders; Hidcote, munstead , and fernleaf ......The key with lavender is don't improve the soil ; it likes it loose and sandy / good air circulation / infrequent but deep watering- it virtually looks after itself and the lavender sprays are so lovely and longlasting !
Zone 7: I have santolina lavender [listed in Hortiplex as santolina; lavender cotton] at my mailbox. It does very well there.
Zone 7b: The grey santolina can look horrible until it's a nice size, then it gets 'domey' and if you keep it cut back it stays in the wonderful shape. I found it an excellent replacement for the frustrating to grow here artimesias. I also grow a lot of the green shrubby santolinas. I appreciate their evergreen quality and they look fantastic next to grey foliage plants because their green is such an unusually pure kelly green.
Fern Leaf Lavender:
Zone 7: I picked up two fern leaf lavender - lavandula pinnata at Lowe's last spring on a lark 'cause they were cheap and attractive. Really surprised at how well they thrived all through the summer. They appeared to have doubled in width and the shoots were probably around two feet. They lasted late into November and then died back. They are supposedly perennial, but we'll see. It sure was pretty for most of the year. I had amended the soil with compost.
Zone 7b: I have the fern leaf lavender too. That seems to be one of the easiest to propagate by cuttings in vermiculite. I enjoyed it immensely the 1st year, but the 2nd year I found it growing in all sorts of wonky directions and quite floppy. This is good if you need a flopper so I put it in some raised beds where it looks it's best 'dripping' down over stones.
Some general comments:
Zone 8: "Lavender will tolerate Georgia conditions better in the Atlanta area than in South Georgia. Down here, it does not do well because of the heat. It might do fine for one year, but after that you can kiss it goodbye."
Zone 8b, Florida: "I've had L. x intermedia 'Hortensis' doing very well for me here in north Florida for 3 years. It has not bloomed but has wonderful foliage and has stayed small (--------------------------------
General lavender care:
Everyone agrees that all types of lavenders need really good drainage. An online article suggested trying your plants in containers at first, until you find a spot in your garden that they will like. The article also said that lavender may not be very long-lived, so you may have to replace your plants every few years.