by Matt Gibson
Lavender (Lavandula) is a fragrant and beautiful evergreen shrub known for its spires of dark-green to silvery gray foliage, each crowned with light purple flowers. Versatile lavender hedges love containers, sunny border locations, and gravel and herb gardens, and they make the perfect choice for outlining a landscaping division. Whatever your reasons are for adding a lavender hedge to your garden, the steps in this article will give you all the info you need to get started as well as keep the hedge looking beautiful.
The hedges grow one to three feet high and one to five feet wide. Lavender is fairly easy to grow. Its flowers draw the eye with their pleasing color and unique shape, and combined with the refreshing and inviting scent, make lavender a favorite of gardeners around the world. Lavender hedges are deer tolerant and attractive to bees and other pollinators that are highly beneficial to all the plants in your garden.
Lavender grows well anywhere near the sea, as well as in rocky ridges and loose soil beds. There are many different varieties of lavender available for gardeners to choose from, so selecting the right one for your specific situation is essential. Make sure to study the next section, which lists different types of lavender along with their specific needs and functions, so you can select the type or few varieties that will be most at home in your yard.
Just in case you need one more reason to convince you a lavender hedge is the way to go, the hedge gives your property an eco-friendly windbreak, which helps reduce soil drying and wind erosion, and as a result reduces the stress on surrounding plants, increasing their yields in the process. Choose the location for your hedge carefully to make the most of this benefit.
Varieties of Lavender
There are dozens of different types of lavender on the market that you can grow yourself. Most of these choices fall into three different species: Lavandula angustifolia, Lavandula x intermedia, and Lavandula stoechas.
Lavandula angustifolia is the most commonly grown form of lavender, and it’s also called true lavender or common lavender. Cultivars from this species are known to produce high quality lavender oil, so the angustifolia type is most commonly grown and harvested for just that purpose. Common lavender is a late spring to midsummer bloomer, as well as a great choice for mass plantings, edging along walkways, hedging, raised wall beds, and rock and herb gardens. Angustifolia cultivars are generally compact, featuring narrow gray-green leaves and short, dense flower spikes.
Lavandula x intermedia lavender specimens are typically taller than plants of the angustifolia variety. The two vary in appearance, too, with the hybrid producing dense mounds of green-gray foliage and long, loose flower spikes. Also called lavandin, this species flowers from middle to late summer and is equally well suited to be part of a hedge or feature as an accent plant. Lavandin cultivars are slightly less hardy than their angustifolia siblings, and they’re often grown and harvested to be an ingredient in fragrant potpourri blends.
Lavandula stoechas is more tender than its sibling varieties, but this type enjoys hot weather and thrives in USDA gardening zones eight through nine. Also known as French, Spanish, and butterfly lavender, Stoechas cultivars are great as part of container gardens and mass plantings. Stoechas plants tend to be more striking and visually appealing than their cousins, blooming almost continuously from the middle of spring all the way until late summer. This cultivar of lavender is recognizable because of its standout bracts, which imaginative botanists have noted resemble highly decorated ears sitting atop the plant’s short, dense foliage. ,
Growing Conditions for Lavender Hedges
Lavender plants require full sun for at least half a day. Most lavender varieties are hardy to USDA zones five through nine and prefer poor soil, with a pH ranging from 6.4 to 8.3.
How to Make a Hedge With Your Lavender Plants
For best results, situate your lavender hedge in a spot that gets at least 12 hours of sunlight exposure each day, and cultivate a 12-inch wide strip where you plan to create your lavender hedge. Loosen up the soil to about six to eight inches deep in this strip and the general vicinity where your hedges will be planted using a rototiller or a garden spade.
After loosening the soil, create a six-inch-high ridge on the top of its surface, adding topsoil, compost, or well rotted manure. The raised soil beds will encourage hedging along with a more dense and compact style of plant growth than you’d otherwise achieve.
Test your soil’s pH level. With any luck, the reading will fall somewhere between neutral to alkaline, or between 6.4 and 8.3, when you test it.
If your soil is on the acidic side, you will need to make some adjustments to make it good habitat for the lavender hedges. During the fall, before you do your spring planting, thoroughly work dolomite or ground lime into the soil where lavender will grow to raise the alkalinity. Alternatively, use fast-acting lime pellets just before you do your spring planting in the fall.
Once you get the pH levels where you want them, begin amending your soil with two and a half pounds of lime for every 25 feet in length of that 12-inch-wide raised bed strip that you built up earlier. Space your lavender plants out about 10 or 11 inches apart , and put them smack dab in the middle of the hedgerow.
Water the the hedge beds frequently, taking care to keep the soil moist—but not wet or soggy—all throughout the first growing season. Once they’re established, however, lavender beds will need no further help for you as far as hydration, because they quickly become drought-tolerant.
Prune back your plants from the top by one-third in the early spring to encourage more flowering and bushier vegetation and foliage growth.
Double Digging to Maximize Drainage for Lavender Hedges
Soil that drains well is a must for lavender hedges, as this evergreen perennial herb can sometimes fall victim to fungal disease if the soil conditions are too wet. If your beds are not draining efficiently, use the double digging method as a quick fix to get your garden back on track.
First, remove a 12-inch-wide strip of soil that’s about a spade’s length deep to create a trench, then set the removed soil aside. In the bottom of the trench you just created, chop up the soil with a garden fork or spade. Drop the tool into the soil until it is fully submerged, then gently move it back and forth to loosen the soil. Then mix the soil you removed with manure or compost and fill the trench, creating a mound on top of the hedgerow.
Use This Landscaping Trick For Staggered Lavender Hedges
Another cool way to arrange your hedges is to stagger the rows a bit. To achieve this effect, you’ll first make a thicker hedge base by expanding your soil ridge to be 24 or 25 inches wide. Then double up the rows of lavender plants, making two separate rows spaced 12 inches apart. Instead of placing the lavender in each row right next to its neighbor, stagger the plants so that those of one row fall halfway between the space separating the plants in the other row.
Pruning and Additional Care of Lavender Hedges
Pruning lavender in the early spring is an essential practice to promote a bushier lavender hedge. This step also increases the flowering capabilities of your plants. Lavender also needs above-average air circulation in order to prevent being easy prey for disease.
Don’t crowd your hedges by planting anything else too close, and be diligent in your efforts to keep your hedgerow mound free of weeds so that the lavender plants have nothing to compete against for air and nourishment.
Videos on Planting Lavender Hedges
Check out this short video from Garden & Lawn about how to plant a lavender hedge:
This complete step-by-step guide teaches you the essentials of how to grow lavender hedges, whether in the ground or in a container:
Watch this video to learn how to use hedge plants to create a natural fence or privacy hedge in your own back yard:
Still a bit fuzzy on exactly how to prune properly? This tutorial explains exactly how, when, and how much you should prune your lavender hedges:
Check out this in-depth tutorial on how to correctly harvest, dry, and store lavender:
Want to Learn More About Growing Lavender?
The Gardening Channel team is no stranger to lavender cultivation. We’ve created articles to help you learn more about this wonderfully delightful flowering plant—how to grow it successfully, its many uses and health benefits, and how to prune and care for your lavender plants.
Follow this link to learn about three different ways you can use lavender to freshen your laundry.
Click on over to learn our tips and tricks on how to properly prune your lavender plants.
To learn more about planting and harvesting lavender, read this detailed article.
This guide teaches you about using lavender as a natural pesticide due to its antifungal, insecticidal, and antimicrobial properties.
More Resources on Growing Lavender Hedges
Gardenia covers Creating a Lavender Hedge
Gardening Channel’s Growing Lavender Articles
HGTV covers Types of Lavender
SFGATE Homeguide covers How to Make Hedges of Lavender
Preparedness Mama covers Planting a Lavender Hedge
Royal Horticultural Society covers Lavender