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Move or stay this fall (Lavender)?

Posted by rouge21 5b (My Page) on
Mon, Oct 15, 12 at 11:29

This is my first summer with any Lavender in my garden. Specifically I put two of the more compact lavenders "Blue Cushion" into my garden this past early August. Due to a change in this garden I need to move them at some point. The question is....should I do it now or wait until the spring?

(It is my understanding that Lavender are a bit finicky, especially early on. As I recall they require excellent drainage).

I see that the advantage of moving them next season is at that point i.e. next spring I will know if they survived their first winter in my garden. Otherwise I can't be sure if the demise of either is due to the autumn move or if it would have happened anyways regardless.

What do you think?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Move or stay this fall (Lavender)?

I would wait until the spring, but I'm a chicken about winter.


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RE: Move or stay this fall (Lavender)?

i quit after so many died in my z5 ...

and i did NOT move them ...

i think its all about winter drainage ...

heck.. just throw it away.. and solve you problem in toto .. lol

ken


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RE: Move or stay this fall (Lavender)?

Definitely spring.

If the don't make it, it may be worth trying Munstead Dwarf. It is one of the varieties that are fairly reliable around here (alkaline clay soil)


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RE: Move or stay this fall (Lavender)?

Okay, you have convinced me (no Ken not to "throw it away" ;)) but rather to wait until spring.


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RE: Move or stay this fall (Lavender)?

it will be dead.. and you will throw it away ...

ken

ps: and if not.. one shiney penny to you .. let us know.. prove me wrong ... lol ... yeah.. sure. .. [and now we will get answers from the ONLY 2 living people who have a yard full of it.. and have never lost one ... ever.. IN ZONE 5 ... i think there are 2.. if i recall old posts.. lol ..]


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RE: Move or stay this fall (Lavender)?

Ken, I will report back next April or so...something to look forward to :).


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RE: Move or stay this fall (Lavender)?

Amazing the range of experiences I've read for lavender in the garden, from can't kill it, to can't keep it alive. Differences re sun and drainage, mentioned, must be part of it.

Own experience agrees with English lavender being very hardy here and I frequently overwinter 'Munstead' and 'Hidcote Blue' in pots.

I'd move it now, as a spring/summer bloomer.


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RE: Move or stay this fall (Lavender)?

'Sunny' I think if I successfully move it soon after I see signs of life next spring they will still bloom that summer.


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RE: Move or stay this fall (Lavender)?

My vote is for Spring. They run into the most trouble surviving winter (due to moisture, not cold) so best not to stress it right before the winter.


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RE: Move or stay this fall (Lavender)?

If you do move it, wait until it is definitely dormant, so it doesn't stress out. Once you replant, I'd put it in as sheltered of a spot as possible, nearly due south exposure, up near the house & hopefully your eaves extend out far enough, so that it isn't at a drip line (if no rain gutters,) or even if you have them, avoiding icicles...Microclimates can make a big difference & I think they're a bit susceptible to lower leaf die of, from early spring warm winds, prior to breaking dormancy. My problem in the past, has been drainage & I always wanted the most violet in color, with Hidcote, so that meant planting with too much organic matter that it camepotted with. Then I'd water when dry & of course, every time there'd be a nasty downpour, nearly right afterwards! Death by 'drowning'.Mines potted with some crushed brick in the mix, to help with drainage & grown from seeds in poor soil, to start with.Then to make up for that, a house plant 'stick' of fertilizer, to help with boosting growth, when it's time to grow (usually late). Oh, & don't ever trim it, until well after new growth has started!


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RE: Move or stay this fall (Lavender)?

Thanks gringo for the good advice.

Mine are not near the house and had been planted in probably too rich soil and I know that it isnt perfect drainage in this location. So given all these strikes against I am leaving then where they are until spring when hopefully I will (unexpectedly) see signs of life. The move I am contemplating is only a couple of feet away from where they are currently planted so it isnt as if any of the above mentioned issues will be resolved with the move.


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RE: Move or stay this fall (Lavender)?

As one of the people who can't kill lavender, it has been my opinion for a while that a big part of the problem is that most of what you read on the subject is wrong. It isn't sand and good drainage that lavender needs, but lime. The Year It Rained, when we had measurable precipitation something like 28 days in December, and enough rain over the summer that things rotted that I honest did not know *could* rot, the lavender was fine. In 20 years, the only thing I've seen bother it was a couple of cold, open winters. That isn't at all a common weather pattern here.


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RE: Move or stay this fall (Lavender)?

^I think lavender needs both good drainage and slightly alkaline soil, but drainage (particularly winter drainage) is far more important. Rainy winters don't necessarily spell doom for lavender so long as the soil drains well. So, you likely have well-drained soil. It isn't as sensitive to pH as you might think -- most recommend a pH between 6.5 (slightly acid) to 8.0 (alkaline). A lot of people stress or kill their lavender by dumping lime on it without measuring the pH. Too much alkalinity is just as bad as acid soil.


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RE: Move or stay this fall (Lavender)?

Would you like to see pictures of my swamp?

Basically, if I have well drained soil, everybody has well drained soil. If you aren't putting it in a standing puddle, the drainage is good enough.


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RE: Move or stay this fall (Lavender)?

Lavender does NOT require alkaline soil. They grow like weeds here in the PNW and our soil is uniformly slightly to moderately acidic. Good drainage and lean soils are important - we tend to have the bulk of our wet weather in the winter but lavender sails through as long as the soil is very well drained. Not wild about overly rich/well-amended soil either and never fertilize. I would also recommend waiting until spring to transplant. This is not a plant that takes well to transplanting anyway and spring will give it the better advantage.

btw, lavender should be pruned twice a year - at the end of the season, removing spent flower stalks and an inch or two of foliage and then harder in spring as the new growth becomes evident. This will keep the plant dense and compact, prevent splaying and increase flower production.

FWIW, this is an area that has many commercial lavender farms and a large summer lavender festival. Everybody that has a sunny spot in their garden grows lavender :-)


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RE: Move or stay this fall (Lavender)?

mad_gallica wrote: It isn't sand and good drainage that lavender needs, but lime.

Thanks for the tidbit of information. As one who has never supplemented with lime, \do you mean lime in powder/dust form or lime screenings? Do you mix it with the dirt or is it a separate layer just below the roots or further down?


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RE: Move or stay this fall (Lavender)?

^Test your pH first. If it is 6.5 or greater (some would say even 6.0 is okay), you don't need lime. If you need it, you would mix it into the soil. Use a quick-release lime.

Not saying lavender will not survive with poor drainage or acid soil, just that optimal conditions are well-drained soil and slight alkalinity.


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RE: Move or stay this fall (Lavender)?

That "well drained soil" caveat (of course not just for lavender) can be disconcerting to a gardener as it is difficult to easily quantify.


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RE: Move or stay this fall (Lavender)?

^There is a way to "quantify" it: Dig a 12" by 12" hole and fill with water. Wait for it to drain and fill again. If the hole doesn't drain within an hour, you have poorly drained soil and it should be amended to improve drainage.


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RE: Move or stay this fall (Lavender)?

I do know of this technique having seen it described often on GW. I guess I was thinking that 'Lavender' required an even better drainage location to be more likely to thrive. Time will tell for me. I will report back next spring re the status of my two dwarf English lavenders.


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RE: Move or stay this fall (Lavender)?

Let's say it took 45 minutes for the water to fully exit the hole -- then I would still be hard-pressed to call it "well-drained." So, it is a rough estimate but it is an estimate.

Lavender would ideally prefer soil that drains much more quickly than that. But people grow it here in amended clay soil and it does fine. So please do report back on your success (or lack thereof) so we all learn something!


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RE: Move or stay this fall (Lavender)?

Move in spring, yes.

Mine is about 6-8 years old (only one clump, not a yard full). Planted on a south facing wall, against the house, between two window wells, by the driveway, so drainage is impeccable as is the micro climate. So it can be done, but a lot needs to be right in our zone. An attempt elsewhere failed.

Photobucket

Wish I could remember the name. It was started from seed.

tj

P.S. Looks like I need to heed gardengal's advice on pruning.


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RE: Move or stay this fall (Lavender)?

UPDATE:

I have no experience with Lavender. Even in this crazy cold wet and snowy winter and spring it appears that the 2 Lavenders were evergreen...does that make sense? If so I guess It is still to early to see if they have survived their first winter? So should I wait until I see life or just go ahead and move them while they are still mostly dormant?

This post was edited by rouge21 on Tue, Apr 16, 13 at 21:43


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RE: Move or stay this fall (Lavender)?

My lavender is evergreen, although there is quite a difference in our zones, I still didn't expect it to be evergreen when I planted it 3 years ago. My lavender is in unamended clay soil with terrible drainage. You know what's more important for lavender than good drainage? Good air circulation. Yes, really.

It will be fine to move it anytime now, but I would just make sure no future frost dates are likely before I moved it. It doesn't need the added stress. Good luck!


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RE: Move or stay this fall (Lavender)?

I started lavender from seed a year ago via wintersowing. I had a nice patch of seedlings that grew steadily over the summer. I'll report if they survived the winter (which I fully expect) and that will confirm my status as one who cannot kill lavender in zone 5 in multiple gardens over multiple years (decades). For me, lavender is like black eyed Susan's. I take them for granted and have to chop them back to keep them from getting leggy.


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RE: Move or stay this fall (Lavender)?

I had Blue Cushion return for three years and it was beautiful. That third spring I found a perfect spot for it. Sadly it was all down hill after that. Was dead within a month or so. Doesn't necessarily mean anything. Not the first time I moved a beautiful plant where I'd be able to enjoy it more only to cause its demise. However most plants are easily transplanted so I don't expect it when it happens. Kick myself!


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RE: Move or stay this fall (Lavender)?

UPDATE

These 2 "Blue Cushions" easily survived the problematic winter and spring 2013. I moved them in late April and all was fine for this past summer. Although they were healthy they were probably not as floriferous as they could be due to a less than full sun location. I will give them one more season in this same spot just to be sure.


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Follow Up

My lavender did beautifully this summer. I separated some of the seedlings and moved them to empty spots. All have survived and are flourishing. I do have quite sandy soil, so they certainly have excellent drainage. I hand water in times of drought and to help new plants get established, but generally skip over the lavender. They get only rain and whatever water happens to reach them from their neighbors. I never do soil tests, I just grow what seems to be happy. I do mulch with shredded leaves, mostly to dispose of the leaves. The lavender is in total sun from sun up to sun down, unless the mailbox throws any shade. Maybe sun exposure is more important than we've discussed. I have always grown lavender where it never has any shadow thrown anywhere close to it, so it gets every possible ray of sunshine.

Martha


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