Should You Add Sand to Soil for Lavender Plants?

Every gardener knows that finding the right soil for the plants you’re growing is crucial for a garden’s success, and lavender is no exception. You need to create the ideal conditions for these plants to succeed, and deciding whether to add sand to the soil when planting is a crucial step. So, should you add sand to soil for lavender plants?

You should add sand to soil for lavender plants unless you’re planting in naturally sandy soil. Lavender plants thrive in well drained soils, and adding sand or grit to your soil can improve drainage. As a rule of thumb, keep the potting soil-to-sand ratio at 70:30.  

Want to learn more about the soil you should plant your lavender in? Read on, and I’ll give you all the answers you’re looking for and some additional tips for growing this well-loved flower in your garden.

Best Soil for Growing Lavender Plants

Lavender plants grow best in well-drained soil. The Mediterranean environment that lavender is native to doesn’t get an excessive amount of rainfall and has soil that drains quickly.

You don’t need to live in a climate like this to grow these flowers. You only need to replicate these conditions in your garden, and one way to do that is by adding sandy soil.

You won’t need to add sand to the soil if the soil in your area is naturally sandy soil. If you aren’t quite that lucky, you’ll need to improve the drainage by adding sand. In other words, whether you should add sand to soil for lavender plants comes down to the type of soil in your garden.

Specifically, clay and other soils with poor drainage will need a bit of work to help your lavender plants grow. Here’s how to grow lavender on such soils:

  1. Start by creating a mixture of garden soil and sand at a roughly 70/30 ratio ー gritty sand works better than fine sand for this purpose. 
  2. Next, dig out a spacious area for your lavender plants, about 18 inches (45.72 cm) wide and 12 inches (30.48 cm) deep, and redistribute the soil in your garden. 
  3. Plant your lavender plants in the hole and fill it with the sand and soil mixture.
  4. Give the plant thorough watering to help it through the transplant process.

In addition to improving the drainage, adding sand to the soil improves aeration. That boosts microbial activity, making the soil healthier.

Adding sand also loosens the soil and makes it easier for roots to penetrate and spread out in search of minerals. That’s especially helpful to lavender plants because they don’t have strong roots.

Identifying Types of Soil

The first step to planting your flowers in the correct type of soil is knowing how to identify the various soil types in the first place. Then, you can use that knowledge to figdetermineat type of soil you’re working with.

Here’s a brief overview of the different soil types:

Sandy Soil

Light and fine compared to other soil, sandy soil is the ideal type of ground for growing lavender plants. The loose pack of the soil allows water to pass through easily, making this soil very fast to drain. That’s unlike other types of soil, which retain moisture much longer.

Another quality of sandy soil is that it heats up much more quickly than other soil types. This type of soil also tends to be low in nutrients, which are mostly washed away when water drains through the soil. However, this lack of nutrients is not a detriment for growing lavender plants.

Clay Soil

Sticky when wet and possessing a smearing quality, clay soil can be difficult for gardeners to work with. It tends to be very densely packed and retains water very well. To prevent standing water from rotting your plants at their base, you should improve the drainage of clay soil by adding sand or grit to the area you’re planting in.

Clay soil also takes longer to heat up than other types of soil. You should especially keep this in mind for any flowers you’re planting that bloom in early spring, as clay soil may not be adequately warmed up by that point in the season.

Silt Soil

Similar to sandy soil, silt soil features intermediate-sized or fine particles. But unlike its sandy counterpart, silt retains moisture and nutrients more easily.

This soil also becomes compacted easily under pressure, making it more difficult for water to pass through than when it’s loosely packed. As such, you should improve its drainage when planting flowers that thrive in sandy soil, such as lavender plants.

Chalky Soil

Chalky soil comes with some variety; it can be either light or heavy in texture. You can identify it easily by looking for the gravelly bits of calcium carbonate mixed in with the soil.

These bits of sediment make this soil difficult to garden in. Calcium carbonate is very alkaline, which can stunt the growth of many kinds of plants. Make sure what you’re planting in this soil can deal with that level of acidity, so you don’t end up disappointed.

Peat Soil

Filled with organic material and nutrient-rich, peat soil creates fertile conditions that stimulate plant growth. This soil also has high moisture retention, draining very slowly through the tightly-packed particles.

Peat soil is usually found in the wild and isn’t a concern for gardeners. However, it is good to be able to recognize it in case you encounter it on your property.

Loamy Soil

Providing a balance between the different types of soil, loamy soil features many of the best qualities of other types while avoiding the extremes. This soil is a mixture of sandy, silty, and clay soils. That balance of different qualities makes it ideal for many kinds of plants.

Loamy soil holds plenty of nutrients that help plants grow healthy. It also drains quite easily, if not quite as quickly as sandy soil will.

Other Tips for Growing Lavender Plants

Want more advice on how to make the most out of your lavender plants? I’ll give you some more tips below. You can also refer to this guide for even more helpful suggestions that you can put to use in your garden.

Prune Your Plants Regularly

Not only will pruning your lavender plants give them a neat appearance, but it also encourages further growth. Regularly pruning away flowers that have begun to wilt will encourage the growth of new flowers, helping your lavender plants achieve the most attractive appearance possible.

Plant Your Lavender With Adequate Space

Plants need room to gather the sunlight, water, and nutrients they need to grow strong and healthy. If your lavender plants are too close together, they will compete for these vital resources and won’t grow to their fullest potential. Leave enough space between your plants to allow for healthy air circulation and reduce competition for essential growth factors.

Give Your Plants Plenty of Light

Lavender plants do best when they’re exposed to plenty of sunlight. They should get a minimum of eight hours of direct sunlight daily. 

Consider the spot you’re planning on planting your lavender plants to see how much sunlight it gets throughout every part of the day. Avoid planting under structures or trees that might cast a shadow over your plants.

Know Your Types of Lavender

Different varieties of lavender plants can vary in terms of appearance, scent, and other qualities. Knowing the type of lavender you’re planting will help you set the right expectations for what you’ll end up with once the plant has grown. You can refer to this guide for an overview of some common kinds of lavender and their various qualities.

Conclusion

Lavender is a beautiful flower that can enhance any garden. These flowers originate in Mediterranean climates, where sandy soil is prevalent, and there isn’t much moisture in the ground. That’s why they don’t tolerate overly wet conditions.

If you don’t have the fast-draining soil these plants thrive in, you can replicate it by adding sand or grit to your garden. You should also be sure to give your lavender plants adequate space and sunlight. Follow all these tips, and you’ll have everything you need to show off these plants in your garden.

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of TheGrowingLeaf.com, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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