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How to care for your indoor lavender

How to care for your indoor lavender

Lavender, your serene, fragrant companion, is thriving thanks to our guide on growing it indoors. Ready for the next step? Let’s delve into simple, effective care tips to ensure your lavender stays vibrant and healthy.

Understanding lavender’s light needs

Lavender is a versatile houseplant that flourishes indoors — if it receives enough sunlight. It’s essential for its vibrant blooms and health.

The sunshine factor

A south-facing windowsill offers the ideal light. Lavender needs 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight daily. This placement ensures it receives ample sun throughout the day.

Rotating your plant is beneficial. It promotes even light exposure, preventing the lavender from leaning towards the light source.

Embracing grow lights

Limited natural light? Grow lights can fill in. They’re great for making sure your lavender plant receives enough light during winter’s shorter days.

The GE BR30 Full Spectrum LED Grow Light is a great choice for lavender. It fits in a standard light socket and provides balanced light for indoor plants. Plus, it’s energy-efficient and doesn’t produce too much heat.

Position this light about 12-24 inches from your plant. Keep it on for 12-14 hours a day to mimic natural daylight. This helps your lavender grow strong and healthy.

Watering your indoor lavender plant

Getting the watering right is key to a healthy lavender plant. Lavender prefers to stay on the drier side, so it’s important not to overdo it.

How often to water lavender

The general rule is to water your lavender when the top inch of the potting soil feels dry. This typically means watering once every week or two, depending on the humidity and temperature in your home.

It’s better to underwater than overwater lavender. These plants are drought-resistant and can handle a little neglect. However, consistently dry, crumbly soil isn’t good either. Striking the right balance is key.

Spotting watering issues

Overwatering is a common issue. If your lavender’s leaves turn yellow or the stem becomes soft, it’s a sign of excess water. On the other hand, drooping or brittle leaves indicate underwatering.

Pay attention to these signs and adjust your watering routine accordingly. Remember, the amount of water your lavender needs can change with the seasons, so stay adaptable.

Regulating humidity for lavender

Lavender, with its Mediterranean origins, prefers environments that aren’t too humid. Managing indoor humidity is key to keeping your lavender houseplant happy.

Ideal humidity levels

Lavender thrives in conditions with lower humidity levels, typically between 30% and 50%. This range mimics its natural habitat and helps prevent issues like mold or root rot.

Tips to manage humidity levels

  • Use a dehumidifier: If your home is on the humid side, a dehumidifier can help. Place it in the same room as your lavender to maintain optimal humidity levels. These mini-humidifiers are perfect for small to medium-sized rooms. They’re efficient, quiet, and great for keeping the humidity around your lavender in the ideal range.
  • Ventilation: Good air circulation is important. Ensure your plant is in a well-ventilated area. This could be near an open window or a spot where air naturally circulates.
  • Avoid moist areas: Keep lavender away from kitchens, bathrooms, or other humid areas in your home.
  • Humidity trays: For a natural approach, place a tray with pebbles and water beneath your plant pot. As the water evaporates, it increases humidity around the plant, but not directly at the roots.

Adjusting your home’s humidity may take a little effort, but it makes a big difference in keeping your lavender in top condition.

Pruning and harvesting lavender

Keeping your lavender well-groomed and harvesting it at the right time are key parts of care. Here’s how you can do both with ease.

How and when to prune lavender

Pruning is like giving your indoor lavender plant a haircut. It keeps it healthy and looking good.

When to prune: Twice a year is ideal. Early spring to encourage new growth and after it flowers to keep it tidy.

Pruning steps:

  1. Grab some sharp scissors or pruning shears.
  2. Cut about a third of the plant. Focus on the green, non-woody parts.
  3. Shape it gently. Imagine giving your plant a nice, rounded top.

Pruning not only maintains the shape but also encourages fresh growth and more blooms.

Harvesting lavender: when and why

Harvesting lavender is all about timing. Plus, it’s super rewarding.

When to harvest: Early morning, after the dew has dried, is best. Aim for when the buds are formed but before they fully bloom.

How to harvest:

  1. Use scissors or shears.
  2. Cut right above the leaves, leaving a bit of stem.
  3. Don’t cut more than a third of the plant at a time.

Harvested lavender is great for sachets, teas, or just to add a lovely fragrance to your room.

Enjoy these moments with your lavender; they’re part of the fun of indoor gardening!

Varietal differences in indoor care

Not all lavender houseplants are created equal. Different varieties mean slightly different care tips. Let’s make sure you’re giving your specific type of lavender what it needs.

Tailoring care to different lavender varieties

  • Dwarf vs. full-size varieties: Remember from our growing lavender indoors guide, we talked about dwarf and full-size varieties? Dwarf lavenders, like ‘Munstead’ and ‘Hidcote’, are more suited for indoor growth. They’re compact and require less space.
  • Care adjustments: Dwarf varieties might need less frequent watering compared to full-size ones as they typically have smaller root systems. They still need plenty of light, though.
  • Identifying your variety: Check the plant tag for the variety name. Dwarf lavenders usually have shorter stems and smaller flowers.
  • Adapting your approach: If you’ve got a dwarf variety, be mindful not to overwater. They prefer being a bit on the drier side. As for light, a sunny window is still your best bet.

Knowing whether you have a dwarf or a full-size lavender can make all the difference in how you care for it. It’s all about those little tweaks to keep your plant happy and healthy.

Maintaining soil quality

Healthy potting soil equals a happy lavender plant. Let’s focus on two key aspects of soil care when it comes to lavender: drainage and alkalinity.

Ensuring proper drainage and alkalinity

  • Drainage is key: Lavender doesn’t like wet feet. Make sure your pot has drainage holes. Use a well-draining potting mix: typically a blend for cacti or succulents works well. This helps prevent water from pooling around the roots, which can lead to root rot.
  • Maintaining alkalinity: Lavender prefers slightly alkaline soil. If your soil is too acidic, you can add some crushed eggshells or a bit of lime to increase the pH. This mimics the natural conditions of lavender’s native Mediterranean region.

Regularly checking your pot for good drainage and monitoring soil pH can keep your lavender thriving. It’s all about creating that perfect environment for your plant to grow.

Pro tip: Add perlite to your potting mix if it doesn’t drain properly. We’ve written a beginner-friendly introduction to perlite and its uses here.

The role of fertilizers in lavender care

Figuring out whether to fertilize your lavender can be a bit of a puzzle. Let’s break down the do’s and don’ts to make it easier.

To fertilize or not?

  • Pros of fertilizing: A little bit of fertilizer can boost growth and flowering in lavender. It’s like giving your plant a small nutrient kick.
  • Cons of overdoing it: Too much fertilizer, though, can harm your lavender. It can lead to excessive soft growth, making the plant more susceptible to diseases and less fragrant.
  • Recommended fertilizers: If you choose to fertilize, go for a balanced, slow-release fertilizer. Organic is great, and something with equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium is ideal.

We recommend Espoma Organic Plant-tone. It’s an all-natural, balanced fertilizer that’s gentle on your lavender. Perfect for providing nutrients without overwhelming it. Apply it lightly, and only during the growing season (spring and summer).

Remember, lavender is naturally hardy and doesn’t need a lot of extra feeding. Sometimes, less is more when it comes to fertilizing.

Optimal temperature for indoor lavender

Lavender isn’t just about sunlight and water; it’s also about the right temperature. Keeping your indoor lavender in its comfort zone temperature-wise is important for its well-being.

Keeping lavender at the right temperature

  • Ideal temperature range: Lavender prefers temperatures between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 27 degrees Celsius). This range is most like its native Mediterranean climate.
  • Avoiding extremes: Try to keep your lavender away from cold drafts and hot air vents. Sudden temperature changes can stress the plant.
  • Summer tips: If it gets too hot in summer, consider moving your lavender to a cooler spot in your home. A well-ventilated room is ideal.
  • Winter care: During winter, make sure your lavender isn’t too close to cold windows. If it’s chilly, moving it to a slightly warmer area can help.

By maintaining a stable, comfortable temperature, you’ll help your lavender thrive indoors, no matter the season.

Transplanting lavender plants

Transplanting your lavender is like giving it a new lease on life. Let’s talk about when and how to do it.

When and how to transplant

Signs of a tight fit: If your lavender looks cramped, with roots peeking out or slow growth, it’s time to repot it into a bigger pot.

Best time to transplant: Spring is the perfect season when your lavender is waking up from its winter nap.

Easy steps to transplant:

  1. Gently take your lavender out of its current pot.
  2. Choose a new pot that’s slightly larger. We suggest using a terracotta pot because of its breathability.
  3. Fill the new pot with well-draining soil.
  4. Put your lavender in the new pot, making sure the top of the root ball is level with the pot’s rim.
  5. Fill with soil, pat it down gently.
  6. Water thoroughly and place it in a sunny spot.

Transplanting gives your lavender room to breathe and grow healthier, and you’ll everything you need to do it at your local garden center.

Routine maintenance for healthy lavender

Taking care of your lavender is like tending to a friend. Here’s what you need to do regularly to keep it thriving:

Ongoing care and monitoring

  • Regularly check for dry soil, signs of pests, and overgrowth.
  • Lavender loves a bit of pruning now and then.
  • Keep an eye out for yellowing leaves, wilting, or a lack of blooms

Address any of the above issues promptly with our tips from earlier.

Conclusion and additional resources

Lavender care isn’t complicated, but it’s essential to get it right. With the right balance of sunlight, water, and a little pruning, your lavender will reward you with beautiful lavender flowers for a long time to come.

If you want to dive deeper, check out our related articles for more lavender wisdom:

How to grow lavender: a beginner’s guide — Ready to start your lavender garden? Learn about choosing varieties, soil preparation, planting, and more.

What to use lavender for — Discover the wonderful world of lavender’s uses. From cooking to essential oils, aromatherapy and beyond, lavender can do it all. Explore its diverse applications and get inspired!

Amanda Shiffler
About the author

Amanda Shiffler

With an M.Sc. degree in agronomy and over a decade of experience gardening, Amanda combines her plant knowledge and knack for writing to share what she knows and loves.