Make a Beautiful Windbreak for Your Garden
There are few herbs that bring as much delight as lavender. Its sweet smell and beautiful color brightens any home garden. Scent and color aside, lavender is a hard worker too, providing flowers for cooking, crafting, and herbal preparations. Lavender also mounds nicely into hedges to enhance your garden.
Problem: The Southern Wind
In my Texas yard, I have a new garden tilled and ready for planting. There’s a problem, though. It’s that pesky southern wind. During sunny days it blows and whips through my garden, drying out my crops FAST. I need a way to SLOW it down.
Enter the lavender hedge as a wind break.
Lavender hedges make fantastic windbreaks. A windbreak reduces soil drying, wind erosion, and stress on crop plants, thus increasing yields. Hedges sited along contours can reduce rainfall erosion on slopes. Once my new lavender hedge reaches maturity, it will be 3 to 4 feet tall and 40 feet wide. It will be beautiful.
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Benefits of lavender as a hedge
- Attracts bees and other beneficial insects to your garden
- Lovely smell
- Acts as a wind break
- An easy care plant, only requiring a shearing (back to 6-8 inches) in the spring.
- Drought tolerant
- Deer won’t bother it
- Good for crafts or herbal preparations
- Some types of lavender are edible
Lavender Cultivars for your Lavender Hedge
To grow lavender successfully in your climate, choose one that is perfectly suited to your area. Luckily, there are many, and you can find them at your local nursery. These businesses are vested in customer service and will only be selling plants that work for your climate.
When choosing lavender for making a windbreak hedge, look for cultivars that will reach at least 2 feet at maturity, however, 3 to 4 feet is even better.
Sweet Lavender or Lavandula heterophylla is a tough, quick growing lavender that reaches 3-4 feet in size when in bloom. It is perfectly suited to zone 8-11 and the hot, windy conditions that can arise in the Texas summer.
These fragrant flowers have a slight piney undertone making this hybrid not a great choice for culinary use. The lovely violet foliage may be used for fresh bundles, but it does not dry well as the buds tend to drop. It will be perfect for the lavender wands I like to make.
Lavender Grosso – Bears large fat lavender flower spikes over 2 to 3 feet tall mounded plants. You can easily find Grosso Lavender plants for sale in most nurseries because Grosso is a hearty grower, producing an abundance of Lavender flowers containing large amounts of essential oil. It fills in to make a beautiful hedge.
Hidcote Giant – If you can find it, this lavender grows up to 4 feet tall with deep blue flowers. According to Everything Lavender, Hidcote Giant is an intermediate Lavandin and very vigorous grower (36 – 40 inches) with a lovely strong fragrance. It looks like you may be able to purchase plants there, too. The bloom time is in early summer.
Related: Harvesting Lavender
- Lavender plants require full sun and well-drained soil. You can provide drainage with rocks and/or organic matter.
- The best time of year to plant lavender is early spring.
- Amend the soil with organic matter at planting time.
- Depending on your cultivar, you should plan on spacing the plants 12 to 15 inches apart. Most hedges will fill in within one year.
- There is no need to remove excessive rocks (which is great because my garden is full of them!)
- Lavender does not need fertilizer the first year.
- No need to cut back at planting.
- To give your plants the best chance of success, make sure the roots are not root bound from being in pots. A root bound plant may wilt quickly, have yellow or brown leaves, especially near the bottom of the plant, and may have stunted growth.
- Place stakes and string to define the area and keep your hedge straight.
To keep your lavender plants young, bushy and healthy, HGTV recommends you prune them in late winter or early spring.
Lavender does not spread on its own, so no need to worry about it taking over your garden.
Although lavender makes a great neighbor for the most part, there are a few types of plants that you should avoid pairing with it. Namely, plants that thrive in moisture and/or shade won’t like being next to sun-loving, dry-ground lavender.
If you are looking for other water-wise perennial plantings for your windswept garden, refer to this article from High Country Gardens.
Once established, this lavender hedge windbreak will give my garden the protection it needs from the harsh southern wind. The benefit of attracting pollinators and beautiful flowers is certainly a bonus too!
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