How to transplant lavender? It is however possible to transplant lavenders at anytime of year if necessary, although there may be more of a pronounced effect on the number of flowers produced that year, if it is transplanted outside of the optimal early spring window.
Transplanting during winter time is best avoided as soils are cold and tend to retain more water at this time of year, whereas lavender roots like to be kept dry.
To transplant lavenders successfully you will need to:
- Ensure the soil drains quickly; adding sand and grit is usually necessary.
- Check the soil pH; lavenders prefer a soil pH of 6.5-7.5.
- Water the lavender diligently for the first year (but not too much) as the lavender becomes established in its new home.
- Ideally add a white reflective stone mulch to increase sun exposure which will increase blooms.
- Choose the sunniest location in the garden (more then 6 hours of direct sun).
- Plant the lavender at least 2-3 feet away from other plants to ensure good airflow and maximum sun exposure.
Keep reading for exactly how to transplant lavender and take note of useful tips on how to minimize transplant shock as your lavender adjusts to its new home.
How to Transplant Lavender
Lavender grows best in sandy soil that is low in fertility and drains very quickly., which replicates the soil conditions of the lavenders native Mediterranean range.
If you transplant the lavender into rich organic soil that holds moisture or to clay soils, then the lavender will likely suffer from root rot and the soil may be too high in fertility (high fertility soils encourage foliage growth at the expense of producing blooms).
The ideal soil need to be around 30% sand (or grit) to 70% soil. The sand will ensure the soil retains a n structure that allows water to drain away from the roots as efficiently as possible. Sand and grit also do not contribute much nutrients to the soil so it will balance out rich soils, so that the lavender can produce a good bloom.
The hole you are digging or the pot you are using will need to be at least 18 inches in depth and 16 inches wide as this will accommodate the lavenders root system when it is full established.
If you are planting lavender in soil that tends to retain water (clay soils for example) then the bigger the area you can amend with sand the better, to ensure that water doesn’t simply drain away from the 18 inch amended soil area and pool or drain too slowly from the clay soil underneath.
Work the sand and grit in well with a spade or using a tiller and make sure there is a good distribution of sand throughout the soil. In soils with some clay content then gravel is better then sand at providing the right structure for drainage.
With potted lavender you can transfer the plant into a pot with 30% sand and 70% potting mix or well draining soil. It is essential that the pot has drainage holes in the base to allow excess water to escape.
Check your soil pH. If your garden soil is between pH 6.5 to pH 7.5 then it is within the ideal range to grow lavender. Most garden soil is within this range as most organic matter once full decomposed will be around pH 7 (neutral).
However if you have any concerns then you can buy an inexpensive soil test kit from amazon or a garden store. Soil tests are very easy to carry out, you can use it many times and they’re fraction of the price of several lavender plants. If your soil is too acidic (below pH 6.5) then you can add some agricultural lime or wood ash to raise the pH to the optimal level.
Step 1: Water Lavender once per week after transplant (Let Soil Dry Between Watering)
You will need to give the lavender a good soak immediately after planting with plenty of water as it adjusts to its new home.
Lavenders are drought tolerant plants that thrive on infrequent watering and they are much more likely to suffer from over watering then a lack of water as they are adapted to the, hot, dry areas of southern Europe.
However a lavender that has just been transplanted will need more care and attention until it becomes more established in the following season.
Step 2: Choose a Sunny, Dry Location for Transplanting
Lavenders require at least 6 hours of sun per day but will produce the best results in full sun. The less sunlight a lavender receives the less it will bloom and produce the oil that is responsible for fragrance, and it will likely end up with a leggy, untidy appearance. If the lavender is in full shade it will simply not be able to live as this is at odds with the Mediterranean conditions to which it is best suited.
Full sun also helps to keep the soil and the roots and foliage of the lavender dry so it less susceptible to fungal disease. Transplanting to a pot will be advantageous as you can move the lavender to the most sunny location and it will be dryer then planting in the ground which will benefit the roots.
Avoid transplanting lavender into any low lying or moist areas of the garden that tend to become damp naturally or for prolonged periods after rainfall. Raised beds, pots or planting lavender on mounds or rockeries will all provide more favorable drainage conditions for lavenders as alternatives to beds that have damp soil.
Plant lavenders 2 -3 feet apart to allow air flow through the foliage which will reduce humidity and discourage fungal disease.
The best time of year to transplant a lavender is early spring as this will minimize transplant shock. You can transplant lavenders in your garden or into pots, if you amend the soil for good drainage and water consistently for the first season until the lavender becomes established.
A common practice implemented by commercial lavender growers is to use a white stone or gravel mulch around the base of the lavender. This will keep weeds down and help reflect sunlight back onto the plant which drives keeps the foliage dry (to reduce the chance of disease) and encourages the lavender to grow and produce spectacular blooms.