How to Grow Lavender in Containers

Lavender is an aromatic plant native to the arid Mediterranean region. Between its rich scent and romantic reputation, most gardeners at some point succumb to the urge to add it to their repertoire, no matter how poorly the local environment suits. Lavender needs dry air, well draining soil, heat and sun. One way to provide the right conditions to lavender no matter where you live is to grow it in a container. A container-grown lavender can be kept in a single room, on a patio, or moved about as the seasons require. The few simple tips that are needed to keep a container-grown lavender healthy and sweet smelling are included in the steps below.

Step 1 – Choose a Location

Lavender likes sun. Choose a location where you plant will get around 8 hours of good sunlight every day. If you live in an area with cold winters, either expect to keep your lavender inside year round or move it inside in the winter. It will still need as much sun as possible in the winter.

Step 2 – Choose a Pot

The most important factor in choosing a pot for lavender is drainage. There must be multiple ways for the water to get out. Add more if necessary. Lavender will rot if its roots are wet. Never allow a saucer below a pot of lavender to retain standing water.

The pot size should be only slightly larger than the size of the root ball. Lavender likes its roots in tight spaces. Beyond that, pick a pot that suits you and the location where you want to put it. Remember, if you want to move the plant around, choose a container that is light enough to move, even with soil in it.

Step 3 – Choose a Soil

Choose a soil that drains well so the roots will not stay wet. The best mixes are sandy with good water drainage. A mix that is alkali and a bit chalky will also improve the intensity of the fragrance.

Step 4 – Pot Your Lavender

A layer of gravel or Styrofoam packing peanuts at the bottom of the pot will improve drainage keep the lavender's roots from working out the openings. If the drainage openings are large, cover them with a piece of broken pot or a rock, something that will keep the potting material inside without blocking the hole. Fill the remaining pot with your chosen soil and lavender plant.

Step 5 – How to Water

Lavender prefers to be dry. Wet it down when first placing it in the pot, but after that allow the soil to dry out and only water it when the soil is dry.

Step 6 – Fertilizer

For plants grown in a container it is vital to add a bit of fertilizer on a regular basis. Nutrients are washed out of the soil every time you water. Add a fertilizer that contains nitrogen and calcium in the mix for the best fragrance.

Step 7 – Transplanting

Your lavender will continue to grow larger and need a new pot. Expect to repot about once a year. This is an excellent time to add a slow release fertilizer to the potting soil.