Full sunlight is one requirement a lavender plant must have to grow well and produce fragrant and plentiful flowers. But, can lavender grow in the shade?
English lavender can tolerate some shade or semi-shady conditions. But such conditions will not yield good flowering and fragrance results. Other lavenders do not grow in the shade that well.
Let’s find out more about why planting lavender in the shade is not a good idea.
English Lavender: Sun or Shade?
All plants are photosynthetic. They require sun rays to help synthesize food for their growth.
Lavender plants are no different, except they will require longer hours of sunlight than most plants.
Such long hours of sunlight are important for the growth of the plant and the development of large flower blooms.
On average, a lavender plant must have 6 to 7 hours of sunlight. There is no way to replace real sunlight and cutting it short will have effects on your plant.
While English lavender does tolerate some intervals of shade, it will not excel in long periods in the shade. If you still keep this lavender plant in the shade, expect to sacrifice flowers and growth.
English lavender grown in shade will not grow to its full potential if you provide too much shade.
Plus to compensate for the shade, you should use well-draining soil and adopt a sparse but regular watering routine.
How Do Other Lavenders Tolerate Shade?
English lavender might not handle shade well but does relatively better than all other lavenders. Other lavender cross-variants that can tolerate shade to some extent are:
- French lace Lavender (Lavandula multifida)
- Canary Island lavender (Lavandula canariensis)
- Fern leaf lavender (Lavandula multifida)
- Goodwin Creek Grey (hybrid lavender variant)
All of the above lavenders are variants of French Lavender (Lavandula dentata) and they are not as tolerant to shade. But with enough care, these variants can survive in shade.
But putting them in shade will lead to them being stunted and not flowering to their full capacity.
Ultimately growing them in full sunlight would be the best scenario that would yield optimal flowers and ideal sizes.
Can Lavender Survive In Shade?
Lavender is not a shade-loving plant and it tends to do best under the hot sun!
Shade is one factor that can even kill your lavender when it is in excess. This is because the plant cannot make enough food without sunlight.
While certain lavenders may tolerate some shade here and there, they are not meant to be under shade 24/7. Doing so will have dire effects on the lavender, death being one of them!
Even in small duration, the effects of shade will be visible to a gardener who looks closely, while some effects are quite obvious.
Flowers will not be as numerous and healthy as when grown in sunlight. Plus that distinct lavender aroma will not be as prominent.
Also, the size of the lavender plant will not be as big as it could possibly grow.
Lavender is largest when they grow in the presence of the sun with the right sunlight time allocation. Very short periods of shade may be tolerable in-between periods of sunlight.
Will Lavender Flower In Shade?
Sometimes a lavender plant can flower in the shade if there is some sunlight present during the growing phase.
But, a lavender plant grown completely in the shade will not flower. It will not even survive long enough to develop properly!
If you want your lavender to have a fighting chance of growing and flowering, make sure it gets some sunlight.
Lavender plants that are grown in partial sun and partial shade will flower and develop.
The flower buds are not as dense when the plant is in the shade for more hours than it is in the sun. This may also determine how long the flowers will last.
Another thing to worry about is the fragrance. The lavender aroma is not as strong in the shade as when the plant is kept directly in the path of sunlight.
So, basically, if you want full flower blossoms that last long, sunlight is a crucial factor. Also, fragrances are most potent when plants are grown completely in the open sun.
How Many Hours Of Sunlight Does Lavender Need A Day?
Now that we have stressed the importance of sunlight for lavender plants, your next question must be about sunlight duration.
On an average day, lavender plants should receive a minimum of 6 hours of full sun.
But, full direct sunlight for six hours may not be possible for every garden.
Besides, a lot happens in this much time and a few clouds are likely to pass or settle in the sky. Does this mean the lavender will also be affected?
Well not exactly. Only extended periods of shade are not ideal for this plant.
Suppose you have chosen a location to grow lavender but it only receives a few hours of sun.
Transplanting your lavender to a sunny spot will have several advantages. For one your plant will grow bigger and produce more flowers and fragrances.
Ideal Lavender Growing Conditions
Lavender has certain climatic and environmental conditions that must be met for them to grow to their best capability.
If you want plenty of flowers and large healthy lavender plants, you must provide the following conditions for them.
Grow lavender in a location that benefits from long hours of sunlight.
Between 6 to 7 hours of sunlight are mandatory.
Soil for lavender should be well-draining. To amend the soil to match this property requirement, add large amounts of sand or gravel.
The soil pH should preferably be alkaline (pH 6 -7.5) or at most neutral (pH 7).
Make sure to not provide any fertilizing material to lavender plants. This will make the lavender leggier and flower production will be poor.
Space lavender plants apart by 2 to 3 feet.
This ensures air can maneuver between plants and remove any remaining moisture.
Stick to a lavender watering schedule.
This is usually once every two weeks but less during winter seasons. Anything more may affect or kill your lavender plant.
Can lavender grow inside?
Yes, some variants of lavender can grow inside (indoors). Make sure the plant is not too close to air currents that may dry it out.
Also, be careful not to overwater the plant since internal conditions are not the same as outdoors. French lavenders do well indoors.
Sunlight is important, if not the most vital factor which decides a lavender plant’s fate.
Occasionally, during winter sunlight will be hard to come by. French lavenders should be brought inside while English lavenders can survive outdoors.
English lavender can tolerate the most shade compared to all lavender variants. However, it comes at the cost of growth, flowers, and a potent aroma.