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A Guide to Successfully Growing Lavender in Missouri


Does lavender grow in Missouri? Growing lavender in Missouri is an incredibly rewarding experience. It takes some patience and dedication. With the right technique and proper care, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of Missouri-grown lavender each season.

Best Lavender Plant for Missouri

Lavender (Lavandula) is a woody perennial herb. It belongs to the mint family. The genus contains over 39 species. To determine the best lavender to grow in Missouri, you’ll need to consider the plant’s hardiness zone and soil type. The most popular lavender varieties for Missouri include:

Lavandula angustifolia (English lavender): English lavender is a compact shrub with deep-purple flowers that turn pale purple as they age. This variety is hardy in USDA zones 5 through 9 and prefers full sun.

Lavandula x intermedia (French lavender): This hybrid has a sweeter scent than English lavender, with flowers that can range from purple to pinkish-white. French lavender is also hardy in USDA zones 5 through 9 and thrives in well-drained soil.

Lavandula stoechas (Spanish lavender): It has fragrant pink, purple and white flowers that bloom in spring and summer. Spanish lavender is hardy in USDA zones 8 through 11 and prefers full sun to partial shade.

Choosing the Right Location

When growing lavender in Missouri, one of the first steps is preparing the right location. From selecting a sunny spot with well-draining soil to assessing and preparing the soil for planting, you need to take your time if you want healthy plants.

Sunlight Requirements: Lavender thrives in sunlight, with at least 8 hours of direct sun a day. It is especially important to select an area that gets morning sun and afternoon shade. This can prevent the plants from becoming stressed, or damaged from too much heat.

Soil Requirements: Once you’ve chosen the location, you’ll need to assess the soil. Like most herbs and plants, lavender prefers sandy or rocky soils that are well drained. To test your soil's drainage, take a handful of damp soil and squeeze it in your hand. If it forms a tight ball when squeezed, then it has too much clay content and will likely require amendments.

Soil pH is also important for optimal growth. You can purchase a soil testing kit to test the pH level. Lavender prefers slightly acidic soils with a pH between 6 and 7. Too much alkaline content in the soil can affect mineral absorption. This also reduces the amount of nutrients available to the plants.

Soil Amendments: You should amend your soil with organic materials if it has a high clay content. For example, compost or mulch. This will reduce compaction and improve drainage. You can also add sand, perlite, vermiculite or manure to the soil for additional drainage.

When amending the soil, keep in mind that lavender has shallow roots and requires adequate aeration. Over-tilling or cultivating the soil too deeply can damage the plant’s root system. So it is important to take your time when preparing the area for planting. You can also add a slow-release fertilizer to the soil before growing lavender in Missouri.

growing lavender in pots

How to Grow Lavender in Missouri?

When to Plant Lavender in Missouri? The best time to plant lavender in Missouri is either in spring or early fall. It depends on the variety you're growing. Most varieties prefer cool temperatures. They will thrive when planted in early spring before the heat of summer sets in.

For fall planting, the lavender variety should handle temperatures as low as 15-20 degrees Fahrenheit. Planting in mid-September is best since this will allow time for establishment before winter sets in.

How Much Space Should You Allow Between Plants? When planting lavender in Missouri, you should provide enough space between plants. This ensures proper air circulation and growth. Generally, you should leave about a foot of spacing between each plant. You can increase the distance up to 18 inches apart for larger varieties.

Instructions for Growing Lavender in Missouri: Dig a hole twice as wide and the same depth as the container. You should break your garden soil up a bit if it is hard or compacted. Gently remove your lavender from the container. Place it in the hole. The base should be level with the soil surface.

Fill in around the root system with soil, being careful not to compress or compact it too much. Water lightly to settle the soil and give your lavender a much needed drink. Spread mulch around the plants. This helps maintain moisture levels in the soil. Place stakes or cages around each plant, if necessary, to provide support for stems and flowers when they grow taller.

Essential Care and Maintenance

Regular Watering: Regular watering is key to helping your lavender plants establish themselves in Missouri. You should water carefully because too much or too little water can damage the plants. During the first year of growth, it is especially important to water regularly and deeply. Generally, lavender plants need 1-2 inches of water per week during hot weather. You should spread out over several days. Water two or three times a week, rather than giving it all at once.

Mulching Benefits: Mulch is also an important part of caring for your lavender plants in Missouri. Applying a 2-3 inch layer of mulch around the base of the plant can retain moisture and suppress weeds. Mulch can protect the lavender plants from extreme temperatures. It helps reduce the incidence of fungal diseases.

Pruning for Healthy Growth

Pruning can maintain a healthy and vibrant lavender. The plants will keep in their desired shape and the stems will remain strong. It also encourages new growth. By pruning correctly at the right time, you can benefit from robust blooms each year.

Timing and Techniques for Pruning Lavender Stems and Flowers: The best time to prune lavender plants in Missouri is during the late winter or early spring months. This allows plenty of time for new growth to develop before summer.

It's important to prune just beyond the spent flower head, as this encourages more vigorous blooming throughout the season. It's also advisable to prune the stems and foliage, gently removing any weak or dead growth.

Harvesting Lavender Blooms for Use: When does lavender bloom in Missouri? Lavender blooms in Missouri from May to June. It is possible to harvest lavender blooms for various uses. For example, essential oils, sachets, teas and baths. When harvesting from your Missouri-grown lavender plants, aim to pick the flowers when they are just beginning to bloom. This will ensure that you get the most fragrant and flavorful blooms.

Be sure to use sharp, clean pruning shears or scissors so as not to damage the stems or surrounding foliage. After harvesting, quickly hang the flowers upside down in a cool, dark place until fully dried. You can store your lavender blooms for use whenever you need them.

Managing Missouri's Climate Challenges

Humidity: Humidity is a major issue in Missouri. It can lead to fungal and bacterial diseases. This can damage or even kill lavender plants. To combat humidity-related issues, the soil should have good drainage and does not retain too much moisture. Proper irrigation techniques and the use of raised beds can help with this. Mulching around the plants can help reduce humidity levels in the soil. You can use gravel, shredded bark, or other materials.

Winter Protection: Winter cold is another obstacle to consider when growing lavender in Missouri. While many lavender varieties are frost-hardy, they can still be damaged if temperatures dip too low. To protect your lavender from extreme cold, it is important to provide winter protection in the form of row covers or mulch. Choose varieties that are suited to the climate. You should plant your lavender on well-drained soil. Because overly wet soil can freeze and damage roots.

Fertilization and Soil Enrichment

The Risks of Over-fertilization: Not over-fertilize lavender is the key to successful fertilization. Excess fertilizer can cause burning and inhibit the growth of lavenders. So you should keep an eye on the amount being used. The optimal fertilizer for lavenders consists of a slow-release nitrogen source such as fish emulsion or compost.

How to Enrich the Soil with Organic Matter? It's also important to enrich the soils for lavender plants. You should add organic matter when preparing the soil for planting. For example, compost or aged manure. Incorporate them into the surface of the soil to create a nutrient-rich environment for lavender roots to flourish. Adding some suitable amendments such as gypsum will help improve drainage and prevent waterlogging.

The Use of Natural Fertilizers: You can use some natural fertilizers to boost the nutrient levels in lavender beds without disrupting their growth. Cow manure and other animal manures are some great alternatives to traditional chemical fertilizers. Because they provide a slow release of nutrients that the plant can utilize over time. Compost teas can provide lavender plants with the essential nutrients they need for healthy growth.

lavender in missouri

Dealing with Common Pests and Diseases

Common Pests: Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that suck the sap out of plants. They can cause discoloration and stunting. You can use natural methods to prevent aphid infestation. For example, planting companion plants to attract beneficial insects or spraying with neem oil.

Spider mites feed on plant sap. They cause yellow or white spots on leaves, webbing and wilting of new growth. You can increase ventilation around your lavender plants to prevent spider mites. You should keep this area free of weeds and debris. You can also spray with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil, and remove any affected leaves.

Common Diseases: Powdery mildew is a fungal disease. It causes white to gray powdery spots on the surface of plant foliage and stems. Your lavender plants should have plenty of air circulation. Avoid over-fertilizing or overwatering. You can use sulfur-based spray as a preventative measure.

Root rot is caused by excessive moisture and poor drainage in the soil around your lavender plants. Signs of root rot include wilting leaves, yellowing foliage and a bad odor from the roots. Your lavender plants should have well-draining soil and are not overwatered. If you notice any signs of root rot, remove them immediately. This prevents further damage.

Fungal leaf spot is a common disease which causes small, circular spots on leaves. It can be prevented by avoiding overhead watering and providing adequate air circulation around your lavender plants. If you notice any affected foliage, remove it immediately. Apply a fungicide as needed.

Prevent Methods: The best way to prevent pests and diseases in your lavender garden is by keeping a close eye on the plants. Inspect frequently for any signs of disease or pests. For example, aphids, spider mites, scale insects and powdery mildew.

If you notice any of these, take immediate action by gently pruning off affected leaves and stems and treating the plants with an organic pesticide or insecticide. For diseases, you may need to spray the plant with a fungicide as recommended by your local nursery or agricultural extension office.

You should practice good garden hygiene. Remove any dead or diseased leaves and stems from the plants. You should rake mulch up regularly in your garden. Because this can provide a breeding ground for pests and diseases.

Harvesting and Utilizing Lavender

Determining the Right Time for Harvesting Lavender Flowers: Harvesting lavender should take place before fully open flowers. The ideal time to snip off the blooms is when they are still in bud form and just beginning to open up with some of their petals visible. By cutting at this stage, you will get maximum benefits from the essential oils. Using pruning shears, snip off the entire stem with flowers and leaves. You can also use your hands to pluck individual blooms if desired.

Harvesting and Drying Lavender for Culinary and Craft Purposes: Once you have harvested the lavender, it’s important to dry it properly. Start by lightly bundling the stems together and tying them with a rubber band or string at the top. Hang upside down in a cool, dry environment for up to two weeks until fully dry.

Once dried, you can use lavender in many ways. For example, crafting, cooking, sachets and potpourri. Add lavender to herbal teas and make essential oils. Culinary-wise, it can be used for flavoring jams, jellies and ice cream, as well as making lavender sugar.

Creative Ideas for Using Dried Lavender: You can create a fragrant sachet to keep in drawers and closets or make a dried flower wreath for special occasions. You can also use lavender buds to make homemade cosmetics. For example, soaps, bath salts and lavender lotions.

For those with green thumbs, lavender tea is an easy to make fertilizer for your garden. Simply steep one cup of dried lavender in two cups of boiling water. Cover and let it cool. When cooled, strain the mixture and use it as a nutrient-rich liquid fertilizer.


Can you grow lavender in Missouri? Growing lavender in Missouri successfully can be a challenging endeavor. You should understand the nuances of this unique crop and its specific requirements. You will harvest fragrant lavender flowers by taking the time to learn about it. For example, irrigation techniques, soil types and pest control methods.

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