Watering lavender: when & how much is needed?


I am currently studying agricultural and food economics. As a keen hobby gardener, plants take up most of my free time. A few years ago, I got especially interested in herbs, which is why I completed my studies to become a certified herbalist in 2018.

Favourite fruit: apples, cherries
Favourite vegetables: potatoes, fennel

Lavender has adapted to the Mediterranean climate and requires little water. Nevertheless, here you can learn what you need to pay attention to when watering lavender.

Lavender blooming in a garden
With proper watering, lavender’s fragrance and purple flowers are a treasure in any garden [Photo: Jeanette Dietl/ Shutterstock.com]

Lavender (Lavandula) is relatively undemanding in cultivation and easy to care for. However, the Mediterranean herb does not tolerate cold and moisture well at all. In the worst case, waterlogging can because the roots to rot and other parts of the plant to begin to mould. Naturally, your lavender still needs sufficient water to grow and thrive well, so the trick is to find the right measure for your prized specimen when watering.

When, how much and how often you need to water your lavender depends mainly on the external conditions and the form of cultivation. We explain below what you need to consider.

Watering lavender in summer

Thanks to its long taproot and a well-developed root network, lavender planted in a bed is able to supply itself with sufficient water and nutrients from deeper layers of soil. Therefore, when cultivating in the garden bed, you need to water lavender only during prolonged periods of drought. Flowers and leaves should come into contact with the irrigation water as little as possible. It is best to water early in the morning, as this allows the water to evaporate throughout the day. For more tips and tricks for successful overwintering lavender, see our dedicated article.

Lavender in a garden bed
Lavender hardly needs to be watered when planted in a garden bed [Photo: hraska/ Shutterstock.com]

Expert tip: Water close to the ground so that flowers and leaves are not wetted with water as much as possible. Otherwise, fungi may occur if the plants do not dry quickly.

Watering lavender in winter

Lavender grown in a pot requires more regular watering than in the open ground. Nevertheless, water potted lavender in moderation during the cold months and make sure that excess water can drain away. In the garden bed, water your lavender in winter only when needed, if the soil is frost-free and permeable. Otherwise, the roots could be damaged when the water in the soil freezes again due to cold temperatures.

Expert tip: You should avoid mulching lavender because organic material retains water and can encourage the formation of mould. It is better to use a layer of pebbles or sand, which will keep the soil dry and at the same time provide additional heat.

Watering lavender in a pot

As already mentioned, when growing in pots it must be watered regularly, but still with caution. It is best to ensure optimal pot drainage already when planting by placing a layer of drainage material – such as pebbles – in the pot and only then spreading the soil over it. A drainage hole at the bottom and a matching saucer also allow excess water to drain away.

Lavender plant being repotted
Make sure that lavender in pots has sufficient drainage to prevent waterlogging [Photo: Robert Przybysz/ Shutterstock.com]

The substrate should be kept moist, but never wet, when cultivated in pots. It is best not to water until the top layer of soil has dried, taking care to prevent water from running into the saucer if possible. If this does happen, you should remove the water from it as soon as possible because in the event of waterlogging this Mediterranean semi-shrub tends to root rot.

For more information on caring for lavender plants, see our care dedicated article.

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