How to Plant Lavender ‘Provence’


Lavender 'Provence' Planting

Lavender ‘Provence’ (Lavandula x intermedia) is a hybrid lavender with a strong, sweet aroma and abundant flowers, that is cold hardy (tolerates frost and snow) to USDA zone 5-10.

To plant and grow lavender ‘Provence’ successfully, it is important to emulate some of the soil and watering characteristics of its native Mediterranean home range.

Keep reading to learn the correct soil mix, watering and how to plant lavender ‘Provence’ so that it produces a strong fragrance and lives and flowers for many years…

Choose a Suitable Planting Area

Lavender ‘Provence’ is an adaptable lavender variety that can live in a range of climates, easily tolerating frost and snow in the Winter with the correct preparation. However it is important to recreate some of the characteristics of its native Mediterranean home range when choosing a planting area.

Lavender ‘Provence’ have several requirements for the appropriate planting area, these are:

  • Choose a location with full sun (or at least 6 hours)
  • Well draining soil
  • Some airflow or occasional breeze

Lavender smell the best, flower the most and can live for many years in full sun so choose a nice sunny spot whether you are planting in pots or in garden boarders. ‘Provence’ will not live as long or produce the same strong fragrance in shady areas of the garden.

The soil must also drain quickly. Lavender thrive in dry conditions so avoid boggy, or slow draining areas of the garden.

If you have clay soil in your garden I recommend planting all lavenders in pots, containers or raised beds as they have much more favourable drainage then some garden soils. Also amending the soil with sand and grit much easier when planting in pots rather then digging in clay in garden boarders.

Some airflow will also help to prevent fungal disease. Lavender grows natively by coastal regions in the South of Europe, so it is more than able to tolerate windy areas. Lavender hedges often provide useful windbreaks for more delicate plants or in vegetable gardens.

Planting Distance

Lavender ‘Provence’ is a medium sized lavender that can reach a width of 24 inches during summer. Therefore to keep it in good health it requires planting at a distance around 18 inches to 2 feet from other plants. This is because:

  • 18 inches, 2 feet will give the lavenders root systems enough space to establish in the soil without competing with other plants for space, water and nutrients.
  • Planting ‘Provence’ a distance away from other lavenders will ensure that they can grow in full sun without other nearby vegetation casting shade.
  • Lavenders do not like being crowded by other plants in enclosed areas where the air is consistently still as the will encourage fungal disease. Planting lavenders 2 feet apart will ensure each lavender will have enough airflow around the foliage to avoid problems.

When to to Plant ‘Provence’ Lavender

When to plant lavenders

The best time to plant Lavender ‘Provence’ is the Fall, although Spring and Summer are still good times to plant.

Planting in the Spring or Fall when the soil is still warm allows the lavenders roots time to establish without the threat of blazing sunshine drying them out. (Lavenders are drought resistant plants once established, but require more care and attention after planting).

Planting in the Spring is also a good time, however the lavender may naturally suffer some transplant shock which can affect blooms. Planting ‘Provence’ in the right soil mix and watering carefully will help mitigate the affects of shock so that the plant can bloom.

However no matter how careful you are, lavenders of all types always tend to bloom best the year after they have been planted.

If you are planting in the Summer and live in a relatively hot climate such as California or Southern Europe then you will have to water lavender more regularly for the first few weeks whilst the roots establish.

Prepare the Soil and Dig a hole

Lavender planting

Dig a hole several inches in width bigger then the root ball or plant in a container roughly 12-16 inches across (Read my guide to choosing the right pot for lavenders).

Ensure that the hole is well draining by watering it with either a hose or a gallon of water from a watering can. If it drains away quickly then this is a great place to plant lavender. If the soil drains slowly then consider planting in pots instead.

Place the lavender in the hole and back fill the space with a mixture of 1/3 horticultural sand or grit and 2/3’s potting soil or compost.

Horticultural sand
Lavender soil

This may seem like a large proportion of sand or grit but lavenders are specifically adapted to grow in sandy soils with quick drainage, low moisture and low to medium fertility.

In these seemingly harsh conditions, ‘Provence’ lavender will produce the strongest fragrance and the most blooms.

(For more information read my article on the optimal soil mix for lavenders).

Soil pH

Soil Gauge for lavender planting

Lavender ‘Provence’ grows in soils that range from slightly acidic to alkaline (pH 6.5-8). If your garden soil is very acidic then planting in pots or containers may be a better option.

To identify the soil pH in your garden, look around at your garden and your neighbours gardens to see what sort of plants are growing.

If there are plenty of acid loving plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias etc. then you may have to plant lavenders in pots. Find a gardening enthusiast in your neighbourhood and ask to find out the soil pH in the local area.

Otherwise you can buy a soil test kit (such as the one in the photo). Soil gauges are easy to use and do not require specialised knowledge to use, and are available for a great price on amazon.

Amend the soil by adding a tablespoon of horticultural lime, or half a cup of wood ash (both alkaline) to the soil mix to bring the pH into the optimal range for pots and containers.

To learn more, read my article on lavenders and acidic soil.

Water Frequently Until Established

Watering lavender

Lavenders are naturally drought resistant plants that thrive in hot and dry climate of the Mediterranean and therefore do not require much water when established (water once every 2 weeks during summer).

However they require careful watering after plant as the root system establishes in the soil.

Water your lavender ‘Provence’ right away after planting, with a generous soak. Water once every other day for the first week after planting and then water once per week for the first month if you are planting in Spring or summer. After the first month scale back the watering to once every two weeks.

If you are planting the the fall, water once every three days for the first week and then once per month until Winter. Lavenders are dormant over Winter so will not require any additional water if left outside.

Fully Established lavenders (after one year) only require watering if the weather has been consistently hot and there has been no significant rainfall for two or three weeks.

Water generously to encourage the roots to establish well in the soil. Lavender are both drought resistant and heat tolerant and have no problem with harsh, arid conditions.

(For more information about watering in different climates and conditions read my article on how often to water lavenders).

Key Takeaways:

  • Choose an area with full sun, well draining soil, and some airflow.
  • Plant lavender ‘Provence’ around 18 inches to 2 feet apart.
  • Dig a hole that is wider then the root ball of the lavender and add a soil mix of 1/3 sand or grit with 2/3 compost for improved drainage and to replicate the preferred soil conditions in Southern Europe.
  • Lavender ‘Provence’ require soil to be pH 6.5-8. If your soil is too acidic, add some horticultural lime or wood ash which are both alkaline.
  • Water the lavender after it is planted and water frequently till the roots have established. Water once every two weeks in hot weather and do not water during Winter dormancy until Spring.

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