Does Lavender Grow Well In Arizona
Yes, lavender does grow well in Arizona! Lavender plants like Arizona’s alkaline, sandy, and barely fertile soils. Choose full sun exposure when possible for optimal blooming. If you live in hotter areas such as Phoenix, Scottsdale, or Tucson that are in zones 9 and 10, try to place your plant so it gets a little shade from a tree or your house in the peak afternoon heat. And be sure to give new plants extra water during the hottest weeks otherwise avoid overwatering.
What Lavender grows best in Arizona
There are plenty of lavender varieties for various conditions (like cold tolerance) or superior aroma, color, bloom stalk length, and even culinary use. Local nurseries, landscapers, and extension agents should know which cultivars do best in your climate, whether it’s a little hotter, colder, or more humid than the plants typically like.
Although most Lavender aka L. Angustifolia varieties grow well in zones 5 through 8, a few survive down to zones 3 or 4 and others perform well in zones 9 and 10. Plants commonly called Spanish lavender (Lavandin or L. x intermedia, L. stoechas) do best in hotter, more humid climates. Here is a list of types of Lavender that grows well throughout Arizona:
Spanish Lavender: (Lavender stoechas): Also known as Rabbits ears lavender, due to the bracts on top of the flower stem. A very attractive variety with deep purple flowers and a lovely scent.
Provence Lavender: (Lavendula X “ intermedia”) Provence is a culinary lavender used in savory and sweet dishes for their flavor. This variety is grown by all the Arizona Lavender farms. It is also called lavandin. It makes a fantastic cut flower with its tall blue spikes.
Fern Leaf Lavender: (Lavendula multifida) A very easy variety to grow, however, it does not have a great lavender smell. The fern-like silver foliage is very attractive and bees and hummingbirds love it.
Goodwin Creek: (Lavendula x ginginsii) This variety smells amazing and I currently have it thriving in a pot. A beautiful variety that is very tolerant of heat. Long slender dark purple flower spikes.
French Lavender: (Lavendula dentata) The dentata in the botanical name refers to the toothed leaf shape, dentata meaning “toothed”. This is a very fragrant variety with stunning foliage. It does well with heat and dry conditions.
Grosso: (Lavendula Grosso): Possibly the most fragrant lavender of all. It is used in the making of essential oils and other fragrance products. This variety is also grown by local lavender farms. Grosso is a french hybrid with dark blue flowers. It grows into a large bush and is best-planted in-ground.
When To Plant Lavender In Arizona
The biggest mistakes gardeners make when planting lavender in Arizona are planting times and watering. While lavender is considered a full sun plant, our desert sun is brutal, therefore planting between May and September should be avoided. Get plants established when it is cooler, plant in late fall or early spring. If temperatures are above 80 when you plant out, give it some sun protection until it is established.
How Often Should Lavender Be Watered
Initially, water your lavender well, and water again in 2-3 days. Do not allow the plant to dry out completely before it becomes established. This does not mean it should be over watered, check for the soil to be slightly damp before watering again. Once your plant has established, less frequent watering will be ok. However, due to the intense heat, your lavender will still need more water than lavender grown in the Mediterranean.
If you are hand watering, soak deep 2-3 times a week depending on how quickly your soil dries up. The key here is how quickly the soil dries up. Your lavender may do just fine with less watering. Observation of your specific growing conditions will help determine what kind of watering schedule will be necessary. If you are on flood irrigation, the bi-monthly summer watering schedule will be sufficient.
Does Lavender Like Full Sun
Ideally, plant lavender in a spot that gets morning sun and afternoon shade. Some will take all day sun if there is enough moisture in the ground. Wilting lavender is a good indication that it is getting too much sun or not enough water.
It is not uncommon for herbs and veggies to wilt during the heat of the day, but they should perk up once the sun goes down. If this is not happening with your lavender, or the wilt looks really bad, then it’s time to either give it a little drink or some shade.
When To Prune Lavender
In early fall, prune and remove one-third of the year’s growth. Do not cut into the woody brown stems, or those branches will not grow back. Shape it into a mounded shape. During blooming, the dead blooms are pruned to ensure continuous blooming. Cut all the way at the base of the stem, rather than just the top of the dried-out flowers. In colder areas that get frost and even snow, they should be protected from the cold.
Lavender plants need little care once established. Each spring as new growth begins, lightly prune your lavender for shape to keep it rounded. Avoid cutting into the woody branches; just cut back remaining flower stems and some of the outer foliage to get a nice round shape.
Can Lavender Be Grown In A Pot In Arizona
Lavender prefers a neutral or alkaline pH, therefore our desert clay is good, but drainage needs to be added. Lavender should not be planted any deeper than the soil level in the pot. This is a sure way to kill lavender. There are a few differences between growing lavender in a pot and growing in the ground.
Pots heat up very quickly in the summer and can easily cook your plants. Therefore plant in the largest pots you can and avoid unglazed terracotta. One reason potted lavender dies is that the root system gets as large as the aerial part of a plant. The roots can get very constricted, in addition to no soil being left in the pot. The roots could be matted or pot bound and water is not reaching most of the roots. They will need to be planted in the ground after two years or up potted to a much larger pot if they are to survive.
Potted lavender needs to get afternoon shade, or it will not survive. In addition, it will need to be watered every day or every other day, depending on how quickly the pot dries out. Lavender does not do well if the roots sit in water, so drainage is important, but ensuring that the plant does not get too dry is also necessary. The pot itself should be well shaded or wrapped to ensure that it can remain as cool as possible.
Lavender in a pot will benefit from a small feeding of high phosphorus food, too much nitrogen can cause a lot of green growth but no flowering. Lavender does not require rich fertile soils, it prefers poor well-drained soil.