You may find out that your lavender is not in the right place as it is lacking sunlight or you want to show off the flowers when the lavender blooms. So how should you transplant your lavender?
For successful transplanting of Lavender, you must have the right sunny location, soil (pH, nutrient levels, drainage), extraction technique, and watering schedule in place.
Below are a few tips that you can leverage for successful transplanting.
Choose The Most Ideal Transplant Time
You can’t just transplant a plant any time of the year. Picking the best time to transplant your lavender plants is important as it directly influences the success of the transplant.
Most lavenders are not cold-hardy except English lavender.
Transplanting during winter will only yield failure as the plants are not capable of adapting to their new environment in cold conditions.
Instead, the best time to transplant lavender is in spring or fall (only in areas that don’t experience hard winters).
It takes lavender transplants a while to readjust and establish themselves in their new surroundings. These plants will likely not flower in the summer that follows.
Besides, lavender, which is new, never flowers in its first year. It must first reach maturity, then it will flower.
But, the following year when the lavender is more than comfortable in its new surroundings, it will definitely bloom.
All you have to do is keep the conditions favorable for flowering and you will be rewarded.
Select The Right Spot
With a minimum requirement of 6 hours of direct sunlight every day, location is an important decision when transplanting lavender.
Without this amount of sunlight, lavender plants will not grow, flower, or produce fragrance to their full capacity.
Less sun equates to fewer flowers and fewer oils which produce the famous lavender scent. The growth of the overall plant could be leggy or stunted depending on the availability of sunlight.
For lavender to thrive and grow successfully, you must try to mimic the conditions of its native growing place, the Mediterranean. This area is known for its hot climate, sunny days, and porous and rocky soil.
This high requirement for sun helps the lavender by keeping the soil and air surrounding the plants dry.
Lavender does not thrive when there is too much moisture around the plant, especially when roots become overly wet.
Select The Right Pot
Planting lavender in pots has the advantage of being able to bring them indoors when winter arrives. For English lavender, this is not necessary but it helps other variants of lavender like French and hybrid lavenders.
Make sure the pot measures 18 inches in depth and 16 inches in width to accommodate the lavender plant. Note that their root systems can become quite long and will extend downwards.
Select a pot made from terracotta or clay as they don’t dry out too fast but fast enough. Avoid selecting metal containers as they can affect soil moisture. Stay away from materials that hold water, like wood!
Choose Your Soil
If you are hoping to grow healthy lavender that goes on to bear beautiful fragrant flowers, you must have the right soil.
Lavender loves a specific soil profile, any other soil will not be good enough!
Amending the soil before planting lavender is important as you cannot do it during or after planting.
Correcting soil is not a process that takes immediate effect. Plan and get the soil ready well in advance to not complicate matters.
Getting your soil perfect for your lavender will require you to pay attention to three soil characteristics.
- Draining Potential
- Soil pH
- Nutrient Levels
a. Draining Potential
As mentioned, lavender does not like to sit in wet or watery soil. There is only one way to assure that soil does not retain water.
If you have soil with high clay content, you need to increase the sand/gravel content.
To make sure the soil is perfect and guarantee it to be extremely porous, you should make your own soil mix.
You can mix sand/gravel with compost in the ratios of 50:50 or 30:70. The soil will definitely be good enough for lavender as it drains well.
b. Soil pH
A garden that has decomposing matter will eventually develop a neutral pH (pH 7). This is fine since lavender can still thrive in this neutral soil.
Anything less than a pH of 6.5 is considered too acidic for growing lavender.
The best soil pH for lavender is alkaline measuring at a pH of 6.5 to 7.5. Acidic pH is not good for lavender and you have to fix this immediately.
Incorrect pH will affect the flowering tendencies of the plant and possibly its health as well.
Unsure about your soil’s pH? Soil test kits are affordable and you buy one to make sure your soil checks out. This helps to spare you from the last-minute problem of having acidic soil.
c. Nutrient Levels
Lavender likes soil with low to medium nutrient concentrations, just like the sandy soil found in the Mediterranean.
Replicating this soil will be key to transplant lavender successfully.
Overly fertile soil will promote leggy growth in these plants. The lavender plants will grow rapidly but at the expense of flowers.
You will see lots of green growth in fertile soil but no colorful violet flowers.
Because of their lack of desire for nutrients, avoid fertilizing and feeding lavender plants.
Removing The Lavender Plant From Its Old Spot
Taking the lavender out of its old spot is a delicate procedure that requires technique and some patience!
Damaging the roots can quickly lower the chances of survival or increase the time needed to recover and adjust.
Here are a few tips for digging up your lavender plants prior to transplanting:
- We suggest using a fork to remove your lavender plants from the soil. This is because a spade or shovel is very likely to cut through and damage roots.
- Pour water and soak the soil before uprooting the plant. This helps the soil to bind to the roots. The longer the original soil can surround the plant’s roots after transplanting, the lower the chance of transplant shock.
- Transplant shock is the period of time a plant requires to acclimatize itself to its new conditions following transplantation. Transplantation shock can cause growth stunts, lack of flowering, and even death. Transplanting correctly will help to avoid it.
- Push your fork into the soil, around the entire width, and gently tease it out of the ground by lifting it slowly. Remember, lifting it out with the roots in touch and as much soil as possible is the aim.
Plant The Lavender!
The soil is ready and the lavender plant is ready as well, there is nothing left to do but plant it!
Make sure the hole is deep enough since lavender roots can reach 8 to 10 inches in depth.
After planting, give the lavender plants a generous watering to soak the surrounding soil. This will stimulate root growth, something you will definitely hope happens from day one.
During the first two weeks, water the plants after 2 or 3 days.
Many gardeners take to placing white pebbles around the lavender plant. This is because they reflect light back at the plants and stimulate amazing flower blooms.
These stones also block out parasitic weeds which may hinder the growth of the lavender.
Watering is a vital activity that should be well-monitored for the first few weeks after transplanting your lavender.
Lavender plants are drought resistant, but only when they are mature and have established their root system.
During the first week, water the plant every 2 or 3 days or so but make sure the soil is not soggy. If it is wet, abstain from watering.
After the first week, you might want to switch to a weekly watering. This should allow the soil to dry between each watering session, all the while strengthening its roots.
Once roots are strong and established, you can switch to watering once every two weeks. Anything more than this is not acceptable unless you live in extremely drought-prone areas with a hot summer climate.
But, we are sure that once every two weeks watering will suffice and anyone can stick to this routine.
Watering newly transplanted lavender is something you will have to pay attention to, make a schedule if you must.
Pruning your lavender should take place the first fall after the transplant took place. You should cut back ⅔ of the lavender.
Avoid cutting back all the way to the woody stems as this could leave the plant vulnerable and this will do more harm than good.
Pruning lavender strengthens their stems and can somewhat improve their tolerance to cold and frost.
If you notice that your lavender plant is looking heavy on one side, pruning evens out the plant making it more uniform.
The pruning activity helps to keep plants tidy and compact which is great seeing as lavender can get very bushy!
What Not To Do When Transplanting Lavender?
Moving a plant from one location to another is not easy on the plant since you are literally changing its whole ecosystem.
If you are planning to transplant your lavender plant, take note of these tips. Failing to follow them could end badly for your lavender.
- Take care to remove the lavender carefully without damaging roots. Do not remove all the soil surrounding the roots leaving them bare. If your lavender was planted in clay soil then you can remove all of the soil around its roots.
- Abstain from using fertilizers (organic or chemical) as these will lead to the development of a leggy plant and poor flower output. Plus, an excess of Nitrogen from the fertilizer could result in your lavender turning yellow.
- If you must apply mulch to your lavender to enhance the appeal and suppress weeds, use stones or white pebbles. You should not use anything that will retain water or exude nutrients.
- Pick your lavender variant out carefully, consider your climate first! English lavender is the most cold-hardy and will survive the winter outdoors.
- French lavender and other hybrid variants cannot tolerate being in the cold let alone the frost. Planting them in pots allows you to bring them indoors and increase their chances of surviving winter. Do not leave them outside during cold and rainy weather.
What is transplant shock in lavender?
Transplant shock occurs when a plant is being shifted from one location to another. Your plant may exhibit symptoms like wilting, and discoloration, it may even die!
Even if you move it around within your garden, conditions will be different and not identical.
Two locations within the same area can differ in terms of soil quality, sunlight availability, and surrounding plants.
So, naturally transplanting a lavender plant will come with certain chances of ‘transplant shock’.
In order to successfully transplant lavender, you must minimize your lavender’s transplant shock by trying to speed up the adaption.
This can be done by making sure the lavender is extremely comfortable in its new location.
Now you can start transplanting your lavender and changing your garden’s appearance.