Lavender in the fall - care and reproduction
In southern Europe, there are whole plantations of lavender, grown mainly for cosmetic purposes. Narrow-leaved lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), which is also called English - the plant is frost-resistant and unpretentious, grows with pleasure on poor soils. Therefore, today it can increasingly be found in our summer cottages. In this article I’ll tell you what autumn lavender care should be done. And also I will share my experience in the propagation of lavender in the fall.
Pruning lavender in autumn
In the fall, approximately in the middle of October, it is necessary to trim the lavender. And if in the spring it is sanitary (you need to remove dry, broken branches), then in the autumn, firstly, I shorten the branches for decorative purposes, and secondly, so that they do not break under the weight of snow in the winter. If the bush is old, then this is also a rejuvenating procedure.
To very young lavender bushes, I do not do autumn pruning. Only when they reach 2 years of age.
Any adult lavender bush has woody, dry parts below and green parts above. I cut branches, retreating about 5 cm from the lignified part. The bush after such a haircut will look very modest, but it will become lush and will bloom profusely the next year.
You can cut it higher, especially if you feel sorry for the bush. But remember that over time, the green parts will also become woody and the bush will take on an untidy appearance. He, instead of a ball, will fall apart. Then you will have to do a rejuvenating pruning - to cut the bush very shortly, 5-10 cm from the ground on lignified stems, and lavender does not tolerate this procedure.
When pruning, I use a pruner, but many people find it convenient to do this with clippers.
The remaining branches of lavender I do not throw away. They have almost the same intense smell as the flowers, so they are still useful. I am drying them. And then you can make ikebana from them. And if you fill the bags (sachets) with them and put them in the cupboard, then the moth will not start there.
The next thing to take care of before the winter sleep of lavender is the soil where it grows. Lavender loves slightly alkaline or neutral soil, loose, with good drainage. Lavender does not tolerate excess moisture, it can get sick and die from this. Therefore, the soil should be taken care of when planting the plant. If the soil is acidic, it is necessary to add ash, lime or dolomite flour to it in advance.
When preparing lavender for the winter, I put a little compost under each bush. That will be enough for her. The fact is that lavender is used to growing on poor, stony soils. And she really does not like excess nitrogen. On the other hand, for abundant flowering it is still necessary to apply fertilizer. Therefore, here it is necessary to observe the middle ground. Instead of compost, you can add ash or some phosphorus-potash mineral fertilizers in the fall.
Due to the dislike of lavender to nitrogen, it should not be mulched with plant materials. The best mulch for her is pebbles. In my case, this is a bit of river pebbles. When trimming and in order to add compost, I remove them, and then lay them out again. This is mulch, and drainage, and heating for lavender. After all, the stones will heat up in the sun.
Winter Lavender Shelter
English narrow-leaved lavender is quite frost-resistant, especially adult bushes. They calmly winter and without shelter. And they will calmly withstand frosts to -25 ° C. The root system of lavender is pivotal and leaves very deep where it does not freeze.
On the other hand, under the shelter there is a chance that lavender will fall ill, because it does not tolerate the excess moisture that can form there. For this reason, I do not shelter adult plants, but only those bushes that are 1-2 years old, their roots are not yet so well developed, therefore they need protection.
To shelter such lavender bushes, you can use spruce spruce branches (or lutrasil, or something like that), it will create a warm air cushion for them. If you have a lot of snow all winter, then you can sprinkle the bush with snow and then it will winter well.
I shelter young lavender bushes only when the air temperature confidently keeps near 0 ° C for several days, not earlier. I make a hut out of fir branches and tie it with a rope so that it does not fall apart.
Reproduction of lavender in the fall
Lavender reproduces very easily. There are several ways to do this.
Propagation of lavender seeds
Lavender reproduces well by self-sowing. If you leave a couple of flowers on the bush, then the seeds will fall nearby and winter. And in the spring under your bush you will find small sprouts. This is so in nature.
And summer residents are easiest to propagate lavender seeds, sowing it in the winter. How to sow flowers in the winter, including lavender, read in our article.
Lavender propagation by layering
My favorite way to propagate lavender is layering. And now is a great time for that. Before pruning a bush, I examine it and select a few convenient branches for layering. Simply, if you first trim, the branches will become short and it will be inconvenient to work with them.
Twigs are better to take thin, not branched, not yet very lignified. I tilt the lavender branch to the ground, pin it either with wire studs so that it fits snugly, or, if there is no wire under my hands, then with stones, which is less convenient. Sprinkle on top of the ground. And so I repeat with other branches. Instead of wire or stones, you can make slingshots from branches. And after that I sprinkle with compost and mulch pebbles.
Stones will become an additional burden for layering, which will make their contact with the earth more dense. And that's it. In the spring, I just cut off the secateurs of young lavender bushes by carefully digging them out. The branches will already form the roots, and I will transfer them to a permanent place.
Cutting lavender in the fall
Lavender perfectly propagated by cuttings. This can be done in spring and autumn. It is even believed that cuttings take root better in the fall. Therefore, from those branches that remained after cutting, I choose a few - 10-15-centimeter long.
I clean their lower green part from the leaves by 3-4 cm. And just plant them in the chosen place. You can first make a groove, how to spill it with water, put branches in it, and then fill it with earth.
It is noticed that thin branches take root better.
Cuttings of lavender in a container
I live in the south. In the more northern regions, autumn lavender cuttings in open ground may not have enough time to develop a sufficient root system and die from frost even under cover. In this case, cuttings should be planted in containers and kept indoors.
I put shards at the bottom of the pots, and you can use some other drainage. Then I prepare a mixture of garden soil and sand in a ratio of 3: 1, moisturize a little. At the bottom, you can put wet sand so that there is better drainage. I lay the mixture of soil and sand in pots, and on top again a layer of wet sand 1 cm thick.
Cuttings, for better rooting of lavender in containers, can be pre-treated with growth stimulants. With the cleaned tips I stick the stalk into the pot. You can stick them 2-3 in one.
There is still such a technique as push-ups. For better contact of the handle with the ground, after I stick the handle in the ground, I grab it with a lump of earth with my fingers and try to press the ground to it more tightly. It’s as if I’m squeezing it.
After the lavender pot you need to water and create greenhouse conditions for it. I put on a plastic bag on top. But you must definitely make a hole in it or tie it loose. And so it costs me a couple of months. Then I do an audit, and if the stalk has grown, then the package can be removed and it will winter well on the windowsill.
Reproduction of lavender by dividing the bush
There is another way to propagate lavender - by dividing the bush. Lavender has a long core root that cannot be divided. However, it very easily gives additional roots. To do this, it must be spud.
For this, the lavender bush is covered with light soil almost halfway. It is important to sprinkle earth between each twig. Then literally every branch will give additional roots. And if you spud the bush in the fall, then in the spring each of its rooted branches can be separated from the bush and transplanted. And in this way, by hilling, you can strengthen the old bush. It will give more roots and bloom better.
Dear readers! Autumn is an important time of the year to care for lavender, if you want it to please you with lush bloom next year. Lavender, by the way, in good conditions blooms twice a year. The first time is in mid-June, and the second in August.