Everything You Need to Know About Soil Requirements for Lavender Plants

Lavender lights up landscapes with its beautiful foliage and stunning purple flowers. And it adds an alluring fragrance and symbolic value to both your garden and home! If you’d like to grow this plant at home, choosing the proper soil is key. In this guide, we’re going to cover all you need to know about choosing the best soil mix for potted lavender plants.

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The Best Soil for Lavender Plants – The Essentials

Lavender plants grow best in a well-draining and well-aerated soil mix that contains a low to moderate amount of organic matter. The soil should have a pH that is close to neutral—between 6.5 and 7.5.


Why Soil Choice Matters

Why Soil Choice Matters

If you think soil is simply where plants anchor, think again! Soil provides numerous roles, and using suitable soil is essential for healthy plants.

Here are some of the functions that soil plays in plant health and growth.

  • Structural support: Soil provides a place for plant roots to anchor, supporting the plant.
  • Gas exchange: Air spaces in the soil provide space for soil microbes and plant roots to exchange gases like carbon dioxide and oxygen.
  • Water holding: Soil should allow water to remain in the soil in between waterings. This allows plants to have access to water even during periods of drought.
  • Drainage: A proper soil mix will allow excess water to drain. This prevents roots from remaining constantly wet.
  • A home for microbes: Healthy soil provides a home for beneficial microbes. Organic matter helps provide both spaces for microbes to live as well as food sources.
  • Nutrient holding: When you apply fertilizer, plants do not automatically absorb all of the nutrients. Soil particles like clay and organic matter help hold positively charged nutrient ions (cations) until plants are ready to take them up.
  • Temperature regulation: Soil heats and cools more slowly than the air, which helps buffer temperature changes.

Types of Soil Particles

Soil scientists describe natural soil particles based on their size. The ratio of these different particles is then used to describe soil texture.

The three types of soil particles are sand, silt, and clay.

  • Sand particles are the largest and have a gritty feel.
  • Silt particles are mid-sized and create a flour-like feel.
  • Clay particles are the smallest and lead to a sticky texture.

Along with these three particles, natural soils may also contain larger inorganic materials like rocks and organic material.

What Are the Primary Components Used in a Potting Soil Mix?

What Are the Primary Components Used in a Potting Soil Mix?

While natural soils are primarily made of sand, silt, clay, and organic matter, potting soils are different. Here are some common materials used in soil mixes.

  • Compost: decomposed organic matter that is rich in beneficial microbes; increases both soil water holding abilities and drainage
  • Sphagnum peat moss: decomposed peat bog material; improves water holding capacity and drainage; acidic pH
  • Coco coir: shredded coconut husk; improves water holding capacity and drainage
  • Vermiculite: expanded volcanic rock that helps retain moisture
  • Pine bark fines: small bark pieces that improve aeration and drainage
  • Pumice: porous rock that improves aeration and drainage
  • Perlite: expanded volcanic rock that improves aeration and drainage
  • Sand: large inorganic soil particles; increases aeration and drainage
  • Soil activators: materials that boost soil life and increase nutrient uptake; materials include humic acid and beneficial microbes
  • Rocks/pebbles: improves aeration and drainage; often placed at the bottom of a pot rather than mixed into potting soil

Common Signs You’re Using the Wrong Soil Mix or Lavender Plants

Yellowing Leaves

If your lavender plant’s leaves are turning yellow, the potting mix may not be offering enough drainage. Try swapping the soil with a mix that offers better drainage.

However, be aware that other factors can lead to yellowing leaves. These include improper temperature and watering too much.

Lack of Flowers

If you’re using soil with an acidic (low) pH, your plant will not be able to take up nutrients properly. This can lead to a lack of flowers.

Remember that peat moss has an acidic pH, so using a mix that is high in this material is not the best choice for lavender plants.

The Importance of Well-Draining Potting Soil for Lavender Plants

The Importance of Well-Draining Potting Soil for Lavender Plants

In their native habitats, most types of lavender plants grow in sandy or rocky soils. As you might expect, these coarse soils offer excellent drainage!

Mimicking this well-draining soil is a key part of keeping your lavender plants happy. If your soil holds too much moisture, the roots may develop a fungal disease known as root rot. This can lead to problems with water and nutrient uptake as well as death.

What Soil pH Levels Are Best for Lavender Plants?

Lavender plants prefer a soil pH that is close to neutral. Aim to keep the pH between 6.5 and 7.5.

The Ultimate Lavender Plant Potting Mix Home Recipe

The Ultimate Lavender Plant Potting Mix Home Recipe

To make a custom lavender potting mix, combine the following:

  • 2 parts sand
  • 2 parts peat moss or coco coir
  • 1 part perlite
  • 1 part well-aged compost

Mix the ingredients until well combined.

The Best Pre-Mixed Soils for Lavender Plants

If you’d like to use a pre-mixed soil for your lavender plant, you have multiple options.

One option is to choose a basic peat-based potting mix such as Fox Farm Happy Frog Potting Soil. Mix together three parts potting mix and one part sand for an optimal lavender mix.

Another option is to purchase a mix that is designed for lavender plants, such as this Lavender Potting Soil Mix from Soil Sunrise


Soil Mix for Indoor Lavender Plants FAQs: 

How Often Should I Switch Soil for My Lavender Plants?

You only need to switch your lavender plant’s soil when you repot. If your plant is healthy, you can expect to repot it every three to five years. However, you should switch the soil if your plant’s roots become diseased.

You can use cactus soil for lavender plants, but it isn’t the best choice. A better option is to mix one part cactus soil with three parts peat-based potting soil.

Lavender plants prefer their soil on the drier side. This is why choosing a well-draining soil mix and water only when the soil is dry is essential and provide your potted lavender plants with plenty of sunlight.

No, the size and type of potting container do not influence the potting mix you should use. Lavender plants growing in all types of containers prefer well-draining, coarse potting mixes.

Lavender plants do not need particularly deep potting containers. If you have an extra deep container, you can fill the bottom few inches of the pot with pebbles and then add potting soil. This will help with drainage and prevent excessively moist soil.


Wrapping Up

When it comes time to choose a soil mix for your lavender plants, keep a few key points in mind. Remember to provide lots of drainage via sand, perlite, or pebbles, and aim for a pH that is close to neutral.

For more, see our in-depth guide on how to harvest, dry, and preserve lavender at home and our essential guide to propagating lavender if you’re looking to expand your collection.


Contributing Editor | Full Bio | + posts

Briana holds a B.S. in Plant Sciences from Penn State University. She manages a small market garden where she grows vegetables and herbs. She also enjoys growing flowers and houseplants at home.

Author

Briana holds a B.S. in Plant Sciences from Penn State University. She manages a small market garden where she grows vegetables and herbs. She also enjoys growing flowers and houseplants at home.

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