Growing Lavender In Florida: All You Need To Know

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Lavender grows best in full sun and dry, sandy soil. However, not all varieties tolerate Florida’s heat or humidity. The best lavender for Florida includes Phenomenal Lavender, exotic-looking Lavandula canariensis, and others. To maximize soil drainage, plant lavender in containers or raised beds.

What’s not to love about lavender? It looks fairytale-like, it smells like a spa, and you hardly have to water it. However, there are some challenges to growing lavender in Florida.

Though lavender prefers almost desert-like conditions, not all varieties thrive in hot climates. Also, high humidity can lead to fungal diseases. 

But don’t fret, Florida readers! You can grow perfect, healthy lavender — potentially year-round — by properly planting a suitable variety. 

In this article, I’ll describe some of the best lavender varieties for Florida, as well as how to propagate and grow them. 

These Lavenders Love The Sunshine State

It’s important to pick the right plants (including grasses) for hot, humid climates like Florida’s. This is especially true in Central and South Florida. 

Zone 8 — the state’s coolest hardiness zone — is the warmest most English lavenders can tolerate, ideally aided by light afternoon shade. 

Throughout the Sunshine State, more heat-tolerant lavenders can thrive without such precautions:

Sweet Lavender 

Lavandula Vera

Lavandula Vera
Image credit: needpix.com

This lavender is one of the best for aromatherapy. Its sweet-smelling, bluish-purple flower spikes bloom in spring and late summer. It features narrow, gray-green foliage year-round.

Within two-to-five years, this bushy perennial grows up to 16 – 18 inches (41 – 46 cm) tall and 24 – 30 inches (61 – 76 cm) wide. Americanmeadows.com recommends Lavendula vera for Zones 5 – 10. 

French Lavender 

Lavandula Dentata

Lavandula Dentata
Image credit: pxhere.com

The toothed, gray-green leaves of Lavendula dentata smell like a cross between regular lavender and rosemary. Its somewhat fragrant flowers feature light, bluish-purple flowerheads, topped with similarly-colored petals. 

While this variety typically blooms from early summer to fall, it can potentially bloom almost all year round in the right conditions. It tends to grow 24 – 36 inches (61 – 91 cm) tall and 36 – 48 inches (91 – 122 cm) wide. According to mountainvalleygrowers.com, L. dentata grows as a perennial in Zones 8 – 11.

Lavandula Pedunculata 

Lavandula Pedunculata
Image credit: commons.wikimedia.org

On the long stems of this bushy, show-stopping variety sit bulbous flowerheads topped with lighter-colored, feather-shaped petals. 

Featuring evergreen, aromatic, gray-green foliage, L. pedunculata grows about 24 inches (60 cm) tall and wide. It’s known to bloom continuously for long periods, almost year-round in mild climates. Plant Lust recommends it for Zones 6a – 9b. 

Fern Leaf Lavender 

Lavandula Canariensis 

Lavandula Canariensis
Image credit: commons.wikimedia.org

This exotic-looking lavender from the Canary Islands grows 3 – 4 feet (91.4 – 122 cm) tall and wide. It features bright green, fern-like foliage and irregularly-shaped, bluish-purple flowers. This variety blooms practically all year round in mild climates. 

Anniesannuals.com recommends L. canariensis for Zones 9b – 10.

Lavandula Multifida 

Lavandula-multifida
Image credit: commons.wikimedia.org

Also called French lace lavender, this variety quickly grows 1 – 2 feet (30 – 61 cm) tall and wide. It features fragrant, gray-green, fern-like foliage and produces bluish-purple petals on elongated flowerheads. This variety blooms year-round in areas with warm winters.

Missouribotanicalgarden.org recommends L. multifida for Zones 8 – 10. Because it’s sensitive to cold, Zone 8 growers should plant it in a sheltered location and surround it with heat-conserving mulch.

Lavandula Pinnata 

Image credit: flickr.com

This unique-looking lavender grows about 2 feet (61 cm) high and 4 feet (122 cm) wide. Its gray-green, fern-like foliage is lacey, fragrant, and fuzzy. Its flower stems can reach 3 feet (91 cm) tall and sport bluish-purple flowers spring through summer. In mild climates, L. Pinnata can bloom year-round.

Anniesannuals.com recommends L. Pinnata for Zones 9 – 10.

Three Exceptional Hybrids

Why not enjoy the benefits of two lavenders in one plant? Here are three heat-loving hybrids recommended for Florida:

Phenomenal Lavender

While English lavenders generally don’t do well in Florida, Phenomenal Lavender is an exception. In fact, Burpee calls it “the toughest lavender ever.” 

A cross between cold-tolerant English lavender and heat-tolerant Portuguese lavender, this round-looking hybrid can survive cold winters AND hot summers. It’s also notably tolerant of humidity and acidic soil. 

Phenomenal lavender grows 24 – 30 inches (60 – 75 cm) tall and about 36 inches (90 cm) wide with narrow, aromatic, gray-green leaves. Its bluish-purple flowers bloom in midsummer and sometimes again in late summer or fall.

Burpee recommends Phenomenal Lavender for Zones 5 – 9.

Lavandula Allardii 

This lavender may be better to grow for its foliage than its flowers.

Also called Meerlo lavender, this evergreen hybrid is a cross between L. latifoila and L. dentata. Its highly fragrant, narrow, slightly serrated leaves are grayish-green in the center and edged in yellow or creamy off-white. Sunsetwesterngardencollection.com recommends drying them to use as a moth repellent.

Like Phenomenal lavender, L. Allardii is highly tolerant of heat and humidity. 

This lavender grows 24 – 36 inches (61 – 91 cm) tall and about as wide. It produces fragrant, pale lavender-blue flowers in summer. Though it only blooms once, and not prolifically, its flowers are larger than those of other lavenders.

According to mountainvalleygrowers.com, L. Allardii is a perennial in Zones 8 – 11.

Goodwin Creek Grey Lavender

Thought to be a cross between L. dentata and L. lanata, Goodwin Creek Grey lavender grows about 24 – 36 inches (61 – 91 cm) tall and wide. True to its name, this lavender’s narrow, tooth-edged leaves are a light, silvery green. 

In mild climates, GCG lavender produces spikes of soft, bluish-purple flowers almost year-round and is particularly appreciated for its winter flowers. In cooler regions, it blooms throughout the summer.

GCG lavender tolerates heat and humidity well. Americanmeadows.com recommends it for Zones 7 – 9.

Mona Lavender — A Shade-Loving Alternative To True Lavender

Image credit: pxhere.com

For partially-shaded areas or indoor gardening, consider planting Mona Lavender. Though this lavender-resembling member of the Plectranthus genus doesn’t smell like lavender, it provides similar curb appeal.

Mona Lavender grows about 12 – 24 inches (30 – 60 cm) tall and wide. It produces tubular, lavender-purple flowers in autumn, keeping them through winter under the right conditions. Its evergreen leaves are glossy, tooth-edged, and dark green on the top. But turn them over, and you’ll see eggplant purple! 

According to SFGate, Mona Lavender is a perennial in Zones 9 – 11. While it can’t handle frost, you can bring it indoors whenever you need to. Use window light rather than a grow light, as Mona Lavender depends on seasonally reduced daylight to bloom. If you can’t find it at your local garden center, you can ask them to order it or buy it from an online seller 

How To Grow Lavender In Florida

Give It Good Growing Conditions

In general, lavender prefers almost desert-like conditions. It thrives with at least six hours of direct sunlight and prefers dry, sandy, alkaline soil. While it can tolerate a pH of 6, it does best in the range of 6.7 to 7.3.

It’s crucial to plant lavender correctly. Since excessive water can kill lavender, Florida growers should plant it in containers or raised beds to optimize drainage. Also, planting lavender 36 inches apart can prevent fungal infections from humidity.

A suitable potting mix may be hard to find in stores. To grow lavender in containers, you can use sandy soil (ideally with seashell fragments to raise pH) or amend regular potting mix with lime. Or if you prefer, you can follow this potting mix recipe by Everything-lavender.com

  • One part sand
  • One part compost
  • One part fine garden soil
  • One part pumice/perlite
  • Enough lime to raise the mixture’s pH to about 7

General Lavender Care

Unless it’s visibly struggling, established lavender doesn’t need much care. It’s such a drought-tolerant plant that depending on your local rainfall, you may almost never have to water it. Fertilizing lavender can actually reduce its fragrance by diluting its essential oils. However, removing faded flowers will encourage the plant to grow new ones. 

If part of your lavender plant looks wilted and differently colored, immediately remove it. Make sure to cut slightly below this section, through healthy tissue, to ensure no disease will remain. 

Lavender Can Get Sick!

Despite its toughness, lavender can get sick. If it starts looking off-color, wilted, or otherwise unwell, one of these issues may be the cause:

Excessive Soil Moisture

Excessive soil moisture can be a death sentence for lavender, especially in winter. Once it causes the plant’s roots to rot and its bark to die, you may find it easy to twist the dead or dying plant out of the ground. Time to start over!

Alfalfa Mosaic Virus

When a lavender plant has the Alfalfa mosaic virus, its leaves develop bright yellow patches and curl out of shape. Because it infects the whole plant, you can’t get rid of this virus by removing sick-looking stems. 

While it’s unlikely to kill your lavender, the Alfalfa mosaic virus is extremely contagious. If there are unaffected lavender plants nearby, it may be best to remove and burn the infected plant.

This disease is easily spread by aphids and poorly sanitized tools.

Lavender Leaf Spot

This fungal disease tends to affect lavender grown in humid, rainy areas. It can cause leaves to look yellowish, develop spots, and die. Plant a Florida-friendly lavender with proper spacing to prevent this disease.  

Mona Lavender Care

Because Mona Lavender isn’t a true lavender, it requires very different care. Besides thriving in partial shade, it also prefers rich, fertile soil and frequent waterings. This plant is a lot hungrier than lavender. Give it lots of compost and apply a water-soluble fertilizer every six-to-10 weeks. 

Removing new stem tips will keep your plant compact, promote new branching, and increase blooming. You can also increase blooming by removing faded flowers. 

For more information on growing Mona Lavender, Youtuber Grow Plants gives a comprehensive overview:

How To Propagate Lavender

From Seeds

Though you can grow lavender from seeds, it’s somewhat complicated. Eden Brothers explains the process:

In most places, the best time to plant lavender seeds is in spring or summer. But in Florida, you should plant them in fall or winter.

You will need:

  • Lavender seeds
  • A moist paper towel
  • A sealable plastic bag
  • A refrigerator
  • A location that never has standing water
  • Builder’s sand

Steps:

  1. Simulate Winter.

Lavender seeds sprout more easily after experiencing temperatures below 40 F (4.44 C) for a while. 

Wrap your seeds in a moist paper towel, seal them in a plastic bag, and refrigerate them for three or more weeks to simulate a more northern winter. 

  1. Find And Prepare A Planting Area.

Don’t plant lavender in an area that has standing water, even after rain. Adding half an inch of builder’s sand to the top of your planting area will help the seeds stay dry. 

  1. Plant The Seeds.

Plant your lavender seeds by scattering them over the soil and pressing them in. Don’t bury them, as they won’t germinate in darkness. The seeds should germinate in two-to-four weeks. 

  1. Water The Seedlings Sparingly.

Lightly water the seedlings once-to-twice a week or whenever they wilt. 

When they’re established, water them lightly when the soil’s dry two inches down. You may not need to water them at all if your area gets enough rain.

From Cuttings

You can propagate lavender from woody cuttings or soft, green cuttings. The best choice depends on the variety you’re growing and the season. 

For lavender varieties that bloom freely, it’s best to take hardwood cuttings. As their softer, green offshoots focus energy on flowering, they’re less likely to root successfully. 

Green cuttings root quickly, and you can take more of them without harming the parent plant. However, hardwood cuttings are more likely to become new plants.

The instructions below apply to both hardwood and green cuttings.

You will need:

  • An established lavender plant
  • Pruning shears
  • A knife
  • A plant pot
  • A rooting medium (half vermiculite/perlite, half peat moss, and some bark work well)
  • Rooting hormone
  • A transparent plastic bag
  • A stick 

Steps:

  1. Find Suitable Stems.

Whether woody or green, a good stem is:

  • Healthy-looking 
  • Straight
  • Free of flowers or buds

Use pruning shears to cut your chosen stem about three-to-four inches from the top, just below a leaf node.

  1. Prepare The Stem.

Remove all leaves from the stem’s bottom two inches. For the same part of the stem, use a knife to scrape the skin off one side.

  1. Prepare A Pot.

Fill a pot with a commercial or homemade rooting medium.  

  1. Add The Cutting.

Dip the lower two inches of the stem in rooting hormone. Use a regular stick to poke a hole in the rooting medium. This way, the rooting hormone won’t rub off when you add the cutting. 

Gently lower the cutting two inches into the hole and firm the rooting medium around it so it stands straight.

  1. Add The Bag

Gently cover the pot with a transparent plastic bag to create a mini-greenhouse. 

  1. Check On The Cutting 

A green cutting will root in two-to-four weeks, whereas a hardwood cutting will take longer. 

You can tell if a cutting has rooted by pulling it very gently. If you feel resistance, roots are probably holding it in place. Do this only once every few days to avoid snapping them.

Once your cutting has rooted, you can remove the plastic bag.

  1. Help The New Plant Grow

Place the pot in a sunny location. Water it only when the soil’s dry, and only enough to moisten the uppermost inch. 

Once a week, give the new plant quarter-strength liquid fertilizer. After two-to-three weeks, you can safely transplant it to a new pot or bed.

Propagating Mona Lavender

The best way to propagate Mona Lavender is from cuttings.

You will need:

  • An established Mona Lavender plant
  • Pruning shears
  • A glass of water
  • A sunny window
  • A plant pot
  • Potting soil

Steps:

  1. Cut Off A Stem.

Using pruning shears, cut a stem just below its seventh leaf pair from the top. 

  1. Remove Most Of The Leaves.

Gently pinch off all but the two uppermost leaves from the stem.

  1. Trim The Stem.

Count six inches from the top of the stem and cut through, below the nearest leaf node.

  1. Put It In The Glass.

Place the stem in the glass of water. Roots will grow from each submerged leaf node.

  1. Leave It In A Sunny Window.

Leave the glass in a sunny window for two weeks, changing out the water whenever it looks cloudy. When the roots look crowded, continue to Step 6.

  1. Fill The Pot With Soil And Fertilizer.

Add an inch of potting soil to the plant pot, sprinkle on some granulated houseplant fertilizer (as much as the package recommends), and cover it in a little more potting soil.

  1. Plant The Cutting.

Add the rooted stem, holding it in place as you bury it in potting soil. Leave half an inch of space at the top so water won’t flow over the rim. 

  1. Water Frequently.

Keep the potting mix moist until your new Mona Lavender plant is growing vigorously. Transplant it to an area with proper growing conditions and enjoy!

FAQs

Does Lavender Grow In Florida?

Many lavender varieties can handle Florida’s climate. Just be sure to plant them in containers or raised beds to maximize water drainage. Spacing the plants at least 36 inches apart will prevent fungal infections caused by high humidity.

Where To Buy Phenomenal Lavender In Florida?

While you may find Phenomenal Lavender at your local plant nursery, you can also order it online from sellers like Premier Plant Solutions  and Findlavender & More .

When Does Lavender Bloom In Florida?

When lavender will bloom depends on its variety and your hardiness zone. Some varieties will bloom almost year-round in mild climates. Mainland Florida (excluding the Florida Keys) contains hardiness Zones 8 – 10.

Which Lavender Grows Best In Florida?

With good soil drainage, certain lavender varieties can thrive in Florida. Suitable varieties include:
– Sweet lavender 
– French lavender 
– Fern leaf lavender 
– Spanish lavender 

Here are another three specific cultivars recommended for Florida:
– Phenomenal lavender
– Lavandula Allardi
– Goodwin Creek Grey lavender

Florida Isn’t Too Hot For Lavender: Have Fun, Floridians!

Florida gardeners can have it all — mild winters, pristine beaches, and luxurious lavender. Here’s a quick recap: 

  • When growing lavender in Florida, choose a suitable variety 
  • To maximize water drainage, plant it in a raised bed or container
  • Spacing lavender 36 inches apart will protect it from fungal infections caused by high humidity. 
  • Once your lavender is established, follow standard lavender care guidelines.

If you want a more shade-tolerant plant with a lavender-like appearance, consider Mona Lavender . Its light purple flowers look as dreamy as lavender blossoms.

Got any questions? Please let me know in the comments!

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Last update on 2020-11-25 at 08:09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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