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How do you grow Lavender Plug Plants transplanted into 9cm Diameter Pots in a very hot arid climate?

I'm looking for tips on how to look after lavender grosso plug plants (3cm x 3cm x 3cm) transplanted into 9cm Diameter Pots a very hot arid climate. We're hoping to plant these little lavender plants out into a field in the autumn when it's a bit cooler, and we're in a Mediterranean climate, so it's very hot summer right now (i.e. 30-40 degrees Celcius in the middle of the day). Humidity around 30%. What should we do with these plug plants once we have transplanted them into the 9cm pot? Should we put the pots in the sun? Or in the sun during the morning, shade in the afternoon? Or in a greenhouse? We're thinking it's better not to put them in the soil immediately, as we've read it's better for them to become established more in a pot first...

And do we feed them? I'm reading conflicting things on the internet! Some say don't feed, as you'll get lots of leaves but less flowers. Some say feed with a fertiliser with nitrogen in it. Maybe we should feed at first to get them established with lots of leaves, and then cut the feeding once we plant them out to encourage flowering?

And for watering, I've read they don't need a lot of water and only water once a week or so, but if they're in little plastic pots in very hot conditions surely they would need watering every day? Any tips would be gratefully appreciated!



  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 10,243
    Hi  Ruth and welcome to the forum.
    In my experience I've found if the roots dry out when they're in pots, the plants die quickly. So they're going to need plenty of water.
    I don't think they should be in full sun all day. Somewhere bright but out of direct sunlight until try're ready to plant out.
    I feed mine in the ground only early spring and after flowering. I give them just a little blood, fish and bone  - about 10-15g per plant.
    The compost you use should have enough nutrients for abut 6 weeks once transplanted.
    If they're in the pots for longer, then a half-strength general liquid feed every 2-3 weeks will keep them going.
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • Thanks Pete! I've never heard of using bone, fish and blood for lavender before! When you say plenty of water, do you mean once a day, twice a day? I did think lavender were supposed to be quite drought resistant, and it was dangerous to over water them... do you think that is less of a problem in my climate?
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 10,243
    It really depends on how fast they dry out. So on a hot day you may need to water a couple of times even if they're not in full sun.
    If you get the 'feel' of the pot when it's wet (heavy), it's easy to feel when it's dry (light).
    I'm in habit of just tilting or lifting the pots to gauge if they need watering.
    It's only while they've got a small root system they need some nurturing. Once they've been in the ground for a season they're quite tolerant of dry conditions, but by then they'll have sent down good roots.

    BF&B is a general purpose fertilizer that breaks down slowly, so it feeds the plant just a little over 6 weeks or so - they only need a little.
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • Thanks so much Pete! Very helpful advice :-)
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,025
    Hi @ruthgardner99lnaEjJM2 [ I had a friend at school called Ruth Gardener!] - in addition to @Pete.8's advice - it's often misunderstood about lavender, or any other sun loving plant,  re the watering. Until they're established, they do need a lot of watering, just like any other plant, especially in a pot. Planting them from a cutting or potted plant etc, is also different from something seeding into  a dry spot itself.  :)
    I'd also agree that they need to be kept a little more shaded while they're so tiny. Again, it's different once they're in the ground and established, but even in a pot, you'd need to be careful because they get dried out so easily, even a fairly mature, established plant. 

    Good luck with them  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Hi Fairygirl! I grew up in Aylesbury and Newbury... did you know me at school there? Ruth Gardner with no e after the d he he. This is SO helpful. Thank you to both you and Pete. Sounds like they might even need two or three times a day in our hottest weather? Pete's advice about tipping the pot seems helpful. Also I remembered that lavender sometimes get propogate in water! So it must be fine as you said at the early stages. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,025
    No - I've always lived here - and a private girls' school in Glasgow - which I hated  ;)
    I think I added that 'e' by mistake. She was Gardner too.  :)

    It's just one of those things, especially with small plants . If you can keep them a little shadier, they won't dry out so quickly, so that helps. I often put small plants - cuttings etc, in among other planting, especially shrubs if you have any. That's useful for protection over winter, but also for protection in hotter weather, which we do get here sometimes -  although folk don't like to admit it   ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • KiliKili Posts: 1,040
    If your going to put them in 9cm pots do a 50/50 mix of grit and compost as lavender like a fast draining soil.
    As @Pete8 and @Fairygirl have said in such small pots you need to keep an eye on watering.

    Here's an image of 6 lavender plants I grew from cuttings in 3" pots. There in a 50/50 mix of grit and compost. These are backup plants I'll keep in the greenhouse over winter and plant out next year.

    'The power of accurate observation .... is commonly called cynicism by those that have not got it.

    George Bernard Shaw'

  • Thanks Kili! Great photos!! We were thinking of just using our soil from our field, as it is rocky Mediterranean soil. We need to check the pH on it. I've read Lavadins like lavender grosso like more acidic soil pH5.8 to 6.2 ish, whereas English lavender likes more alkaline soil. Maybe it's unwise to just use some of our soil, and there won't be enough nutrients for the cuttings.... what do you all think?
  • Ps Kili, I presume you're in the UK? Did you grow these this summer? Did you water them every day? They look like they were kept in a greenhouse, so not in direct sun. 
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