While not well known as an acid lover, in the wild, some types of lavender prefer higher pH soil. Discover how ericaceous compost is helping more and more gardeners grow acid loving plants.
French lavender and the importance of soil conditioning
Lavender usually grows in neutral or alkaline soil: but this rule doesn’t hold true for every type. Make sure you’re not planting your lavender in the wrong soil by conditioning it where necessary. Whether your soil is slightly acidic or you’re looking
If you find plants like azaleas, camellias, magnolias or rhododendrons grow well in your garden, you might consider testing the soil for acidity before planting traditional lavender. Conversely, those with neutral or alkaline soil might prefer an acid-loving plant that requires soil conditioning prior to planting.
The best lavender for acidic soil (soil with a pH below 6) is Lavandula stoechas subsp. Stoechas or French lavender (also sometimes called Spanish lavender), a charming ‘tufted’ lavender which is becoming increasingly popular with UK gardeners. These plants are somewhat less hardy than the more widespread UK type, and as their name suggests favour slightly warmer temperatures, nevertheless it can prosper in the right position in most parts of the UK. Lavender can also be brought inside during winter if planted in pots, which helps protect the plant from frost.
French lavender is a versatile plant that, despite being less hardy that it’s UK cousin still retains much of its resilience and therefore is a perfect plant for British gardeners seeking to broaden their horizons. As an acid lover it can provide an attractive alternative to the more alkaline British variety, or alternatively can use ericaceous compost as a soil improver to product great results.
Ericaceous compost for growing French lavender
Ericaceous compost is designed to provide the right nutrition for acid loving plants and can be added to alkaline soil to benefit ericaceous plants. Researching your soil types and checking the best possible approach to growing the plants you want is vital before planting. With the benefit of planning and organisation, as well as natural soil modifiers like ericaceous compost, you can easily adapt your garden to suit even demanding acid-loving plants. By regularly adding an appropriate measure of ericaceous compost to your topsoil, depending on your soil condition, you can gradually alter the nutritional structure of your beds to favour a higher pH and help your acid-loving plants thrive.