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Prairies to Perennials

An almanac of all things that grow in Lincoln's backyard.
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Lavender in Full Bloom

Posted by Jennifer Fishburn - Herbs

Even experienced gardeners express frustration about successfully growing lavender. It can take up to two years to achieve the full rounded look of a beautiful mature plant. Many cultivars are labeled suitable to grow in USDA Zone 5b,but some of them can still be sensitive to the severity of the winter. It can take time to get the right combination of plants and weather to successfully overwinter lavender. In Central Illinois, two cultivars of lavender that have overwintered successfully are 'Munstead' and 'Hidcote', These two cultivars are currently in full bloom at the U of I Extension Master Gardener Herb Demonstration Garden located in front of Building #30 on the Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield, Illinois.

Besides selecting a hardy cultivar, lavender plants need a slightly acidic, well-drained soil. Mixing some peat in the planting area and regular watering until the plant is established will get it off to a good start. Thereafter, little watering or other care is needed, although applyingsome extra mulch for the winter is a good idea.The next spring, lavender willgreen up along the prior year's stems. Cut back only to the extent you want to shape the plant. After the first spring bloom, removing the spent blossoms willfoster a second bloom later on. Lavender blossoms may be harvested for culinary and aromatic uses.

Stop by the demonstration garden and enjoy lavender in peak bloom.

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