There are entire plantations of lavender in the south of Europe, grown mainly for cosmetic purposes. Lavender narrow-leaved ( Lavandula angustifolia), which is also called English - a plant frost-resistant and unpretentious, happily grows on poor soils. Therefore, today it is increasingly possible to meet and on our dacha plots. In this article I will tell you what you need to carry out the fall care of lavender. And also I will share my experience of breeding lavender in the fall.
Trimming lavender in the fall
In fall, around the middle of October, lavender pruning is mandatory. And if in the spring it is sanitary in nature (to remove dry, broken branches), then in the fall, firstly, I shorten the branches for decorative purposes, and secondly - so that they do not break under the weight of the snow in the winter. If the bush is old, it is also a rejuvenating procedure.
All young lavender bushes I do not do autumn pruning. Only when they reach 2 years of age.
Any adult lavender bush has woody, dry parts at the bottom and green parts at the top. I cut them back about 5 cm from the woody part. It will have a very modest appearance but it will look very pretty and bloom abundantly the following year. But remember that over time the green parts will also become stumpy and the bush will look untidy. Instead of being a ball, it will fall apart. Then it will need to be pruned very short - 5-10 cm from the ground on the woody stems - and lavender does not tolerate this procedure. They have almost as intense a smell as the flowers, so they will still be useful. I dry them. And then they can be made into an ikebana. And if you fill them in bags (sachets) and put them in the closet, there will not be moths.
The next thing to take care of before the lavender sleeps in winter is the soil where it grows. Lavender likes slightly alkaline or neutral soil, loose, with good drainage. Lavender does not tolerate too much moisture, it can make it sick and die. So soil must be taken care of even when planting the plant. If the soil is acidic, it is necessary to add ash, lime or dolomite meal in advance.
When preparing lavender for winter I sprinkle a little compost under each bush. This will be enough for her. The fact is that lavender is used to growing in poor, stony soils. And it really does not like an excess of nitrogen. On the other hand, for abundant flowering, you still need to apply fertilizer. Therefore, here it is necessary to observe the golden mean. Instead of compost, you can make ash or a little phosphorus-potassium mineral fertilizer in autumn.
Because of the dislike of lavender to nitrogen, it should not be mulched with plant material. The best mulch for it is pebbles. In my case it is some river pebbles. When pruning and in order to sprinkle compost, I remove them, and then spread them again. This is both mulch and drainage, and heating for the lavender. After all, the stones will be heated in the sun.
Covering lavender for the winter
The English narrow-leaved lavender is quite frost-resistant, especially the mature bushes. They will easily survive the winter without covering. And easily withstand frosts down to -25 ° C. The root system of lavender is rod and goes very deep, where it does not freeze.
On the other hand, under cover there is a chance that lavender will get sick, because it does not tolerate the excess moisture that can form there. For this reason, I do not cover adult plants, but only those bushes that are 1-2 years old, their roots are not yet so well developed, so they need protection.
Fir lapnik (or lutrasil, or something like that) can be used to cover such lavender bushes, it will create a warm air cushion for them. If you have all winter a lot of snow, you can cover the bush with snow and it will overwinter perfectly.
I cover the young lavender bushes only when the temperature is steady around 0 ° C for a few days, not before. I make a tent of spruce branches and tie it with a rope so that it does not fall apart.
Propagation of lavender in autumn
Lavender is very easy to propagate. There are several ways to do this.
Spreading lavender with seeds
Lavender reproduces very well by self-seeding. If you leave a couple of flowers on the bush, the seeds nearby will drop and overwinter. And in the spring you will find little sprouts under your bush. This is how it happens in nature.
And the easiest way for gardeners to propagate lavender with seeds by sowing it under the winter. Read our article on how to properly sow flowers for the winter, including lavender.
Reproducing lavender by grafts
My favorite way to propagate lavender is by grafting. Now is a great time to do it. Before I trim a shrub, I usually look around and make a few handy branches to graft. If you cut them first, they will be short and not easy to work with. I bend a branch of lavender to the ground, pinned it or pins of wire, so it lies tightly, or if there is no wire under the hands, the stones, which is less convenient. I sprinkle the top with earth. And so I repeat with other branches. Instead of wire or stones, you can make "slingshots" from the branches. And after that, I cover with compost and mulch with pebbles.
Please also read this.
Stones will be an additional load for the branches, making their contact with the ground more dense. And that's all there is to it. In the spring, I will simply separate the young lavender bushes with secateurs, digging them out carefully. The branches will have already formed roots, and I will transplant them to a permanent place.
Grafting lavender in the fall
Lavender is great to propagate with cuttings. This can be done both in spring and fall. It is even thought that cuttings take root better in the fall. So from those branches that remained at me after pruning, I choose a few - 10-15 cm in length.
The bottom green part of them I peel from leaves on 3-4 cm. And just plant in a chosen place. You can first make a groove, water it properly, spread the branches in it, and then fill with earth.
It is noticed that the thinner branches take root better.
Transplanting lavender in a container
I live in the south. In more northern regions, autumn lavender cuttings in the open ground may not have time to develop a sufficient root system and die from frost even under cover. In this case, it is better to plant cuttings in containers and keep them indoors.
At the bottom of pots I put shards, or you can some other drainage. Next, I prepare a mixture of garden soil and sand in a ratio of 3:1, moisten a little. At the bottom you can put wet sand for better drainage. I put a mixture of soil and sand in the pots, and on top of a wet sand layer thickness of 1 cm again.
Worms, for better rooting of lavender in containers can be pre-treated with growth promoters. With the cleaned tips I stick the cuttings into the pot. You can stick them 2-3 in one.
There is also such a technique as squeezing. For the best contact with the ground, after sticking the stalk in the ground, I grab it together with a ball of earth with my fingers and try to press the earth closer to it. As if squeezing.
After the pot with lavender should be watered and create greenhouse conditions for it. I put a cellophane bag on top. But be sure to make a hole in it or tie it loose. And so it stands at me for a couple of months. Then I do a revision and if the cuttings went into growth, the bag can be removed and he perfectly overwinters on the window sill.
Propagation of lavender by bush division
There is another way to propagate lavender - by bush division. Lavender has a long tap root which cannot be divided. However, it gives extra roots very easily. To do this you have to root it up.
Fill lavender shrub half way in with light soil. It is important to sprinkle the soil between each twig. Then literally every twig will give extra roots. And if you dip the bush in the fall, in the spring each of its rooted branches can be separated from the bush and replanted. And you can also strengthen an old bush in this way, by perching. It will give more roots and will bloom better.
Read also our article 7 simple rules of chic lavender.
Dear readers! Autumn is an important time of year to care for lavender, if you want it to please you next year with lush blossoms. Lavender, by the way, in good conditions blooms twice a year. The first time is in mid-June and the second time in August.