Growing Lavender

Course CodeBHT228
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Learn to Grow and Use Lavender

Lavender has been a popular cultivated plant for many centuries and is perhaps the most common, and certainly one of the most versatile herbs you could ever consider growing. It can be grown as a shrub, a tub plant or a hedge; you can keep it cut low or let it grow to over a metre tall, depending on the species. The flowers and leaves can be used for medicinal, craft, cosmetic and even culinary purposes. It is sold as ‘bunched lavender’, stripped flowers for crafts and distilled for its essential oil – making it a profitable commodity world-wide

    Lavender can be grown in most temperate and sub tropical climates; but you so need the right species for the right place; and if you want plants to live long; they need to be treated a particular way.

    For the best commercial results, it may be better to have a temperate climate, relatively low humidity, and well drained alkaline soils.

    Enrol today and also get six free eBooks recommended by our horticultural tutors.

    Lesson Structure

    There are 10 lessons in this course:

    1. Introduction
      • Classification and identification of lavender.
      • General characteristics of Lanendula.
      • Resources, contacts (i.e. nurseries, seed, clubs, etc.).
    2. Soils, Fertilisers and Nutrition for Lavender
      • Soil structure.
      • pH.
      • Organic matter.
      • Ameliorants.
      • Organic growing.
    3. Cultural Techniques for Lavender Growing
      • Pruning.
      • Water management (mulching, irrigation, drainage, etc.).
      • Planting and establishment methods.
      • Crop scheduling.
      • No dig gardening.
    4. Lavender Propagation
      • Propagation from cuttings.
      • Propagation growth media.
      • Other propagation methods.
    5. Commercial Alternatives
      • Managing a Market Garden.
      • Standards.
      • Mulches.
      • Problems and their control.
      • Weed control without chemicals.
      • Economic outlook for herbs.
    6. Plant Variety Selection and Breeding
      • Breeding and selecting new varieties.
      • Lavender clone selection for essential oils in Tasmania.
    7. Building Plant Knowledge
      • Lavender types and other varieties.
      • Advantages and disadvantages of different varieties.
    8. Harvesting, Postharvest Treatment and Storage
      • Harvesting.
      • Distillation and oils.
      • Post harvest preservation of fresh product.
      • Drying lavender.
    9. Processing and Making Lavender Products
      • Lavender crafts.
      • Using herbs in cooking.
      • Selling herb products.
    10. Marketing Lavender Produce
      • How to market your produce.
      • Considering your market.
      • Market research.
      • Selling successfully.

    Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


    • Describe the plant naming system and classification of plants.
    • Discuss the nature and scope of the Lavender genus.
    • Describe the nutritional requirements of the lavender species.
    • Explain the cultural requirements of the lavender species.
    • Explain propagating techniques specific to lavender
    • Describe commercial lavender growing operations.
    • Select species appropriate to the climatic and soil conditions of a chosen locality.
    • Describe of a variety of lavender species and cultivars.
    • Describe the production processes on a lavender farm.
    • Describe various lavender products and discuss the way in which they are processed.
    • Explain the processes used in the marketing of lavender products.

    What You Will Do

    • Prepare a collection of 20 different types of lavender in the form of pressed, dried, labelled specimens.
    • Compile a resource file of contacts relevant to lavender and lavender growing.
    • Contact a number of lavender related organisations for information on their activities in the industry.
    • Collect and test at least three different soil samples.
    • Identify and (optional) manufacture a potting mix suitable for lavender growing.
    • Collect information on organic and inorganic fertilisers from fertiliser companies.
    • Research information on machinery used in horticulture by contacting the companies that produce it.
    • Produce a no dig garden or an organic garden.
    • Manufacture a propagating mix for lavender cuttings.
    • Take lavender cuttings for propagation.
    • Contact a herb nursery to observe their operation.
    • Research irrigation equipment by contacting irrigation suppliers.
    • Cross pollinate lavender and grow the resulting seed.
    • Compare various types of lavender.
    • Harvest a number of different types of lavender.
    • Produce a small quantity of lavender oil.
    • Produce two non edible and one edible product containing lavender.
    • Visit a shop selling lavender products to observe marketing procedures.

    Lavender Types and Classification

    Lavender is perhaps one of the most popular herbs grown worldwide. Thousands of acres of lavender are grown commercially, particularly in Europe, for lavender oil which is mainly used in cosmetics and soaps. The plants are ideal for hedges, garden shrubs and topiary. Dried flowers are used in potpourri, sachets, and other crafts. Dried flowers are also, sometimes used in cooking (eg. to flavour bread or biscuits).

    Lavenders are in the genus Lavandula - there are approximately 30 species of lavender, many subspecies and numerous cultivars.

    Lavender species are divided into the following 6 sections: Spica (also known as Lavandula), Stoechas, Dentata, Pterostoechas, Chaetostachys and Subnuda.
    The first four sections are those most used in horticulture generally.

    Spica (also referred to as Lavandula section)
    Cultivars in this section are shrubs usually growing to 36” or more but also includes some dwarf varieties. The former name ‘spica’ refers to the spike-like nature of the flower heads.

    Lavandula angustifolia syn L.vera, L.spica, L.officinalis (English lavender). A shrub to 1 metre tall; leaves linear lanceolate to linear oblanceolate to 5cm long to 6mm wide, whitish when young, becoming green; flowers approximately 1cm long usually purple.

    • Lavandula alba   no botanical standing.  This is a white flowering variety of L. angustifolia.
    • L. angustifolia ssp. angustifolia.
    • L. angustifolia ssp. pyrenaica
    • Lavandula lanata
    • Lavandula latifolia syn L. spica

    There are many hybrids within this section.
    L. X intermedia (hedge lavender) is a known cross between L. angustifolia and L. latifolia. This sub group within the spica section has many cultivars; the name Lavandin applies to these cultivars.

    Note: When the parentage of a cross is known; you should always name place the cross breed name before the cultivar name e.g. L X intermedia ‘Grey Hedge’. This is not the case when the parentage or one of the parents is unknown.
    Lavandula X intermedia and L. angustifolia are the only two species recommended for culinary purposes.

    Plants grow to around 90cm. and have broad round fertile bracts.

    • Lavandula stoechas ssp. stoechas (Spanish/Italian lavender)
    • L. stoechas ssp stoechas 'Alba’,
    • L stoechas ssp. pendunculata - syn. L. stoechas ssp. canariensis,
    • L stoechas ssp. sampaiana – a shrub to 1 metre tall; leaves linear to oblong – lanceolate; flowers usually purple.
    • L. viridis 1m green/cream flowers, narrow green leaves

    Dentata (sometimes included in Stoechas)
    Plants have toothed leaf margins, inflorescence have reduced sterile bracts compared with stoechas. Spikes are elongated and sterile bracts appear about 1/3rd of the way down the spike.

    • Lavandula dentata (French lavender) - a shrub between 30cm and 1 metre; Grey green linear oblong leaves crenately toothed to pectinate pinnatifid; purple flowers.
    • L. dentata var. candicans

    This less commonly grown group is distinguished by "winged flower spikes".
    Shrubs have heavily branched stems. The flower spike is compact and usually without stems.

    • Lavandula multifida – a shrub to 70cm, grey tomentose, leaves pinnately or 2 pinnately dissected, to 1.5 inches long; flowers blue violet.
    • L. canariensis
    • Lavandula pinnata – a shrub to 1 metre tall, leaves pinnate, to 5cm long; flowers lavender colour.
    • L. pubescens
    • L. abrotanoides

    There are also some intersectional crosses i.e. Lavandula x allardii, L. x heterophylla.
    Note: Lavandula x allardii  (Mitcham lavender) is thought to be across between L. latifolia and L. dentata.

    This section, plants of which are not very common in cultivation, consists of herbaceous plants with branched peduncles and spikes. Stems and leaves are thick and do not resemble other species of lavender.

    • L. bipinnata
    • L. gibsonii.

    A rarely cultivated section - plants are herbaceous,  the fertile bracts are alternate or spiral in arrangement. Adult plants are often devoid of leaves.
    The following are the three most important species in this section.

    • L. subnuda
    • L. macra
    • L. aristibracteata


    Why study with ACS?

    We are different in many ways

    • Established since 1979, Internationally recognised (IARC)
    • Support from an international team of highly qualified herb experts
    • Courses are continually reviewed and revisions are happening every month of the year
    • Courses are "experiential" based learning (This is different to many other schools)
    • Member of International Herb Association since the 1980's
    • Course developed by a team of more than a dozen herb experts (horticulturists and natural therapists) from the UK and Australia, headed by our principal, John Mason, FIOH, FAIH, FAIH; author of several herb books, with over 40 years involvement with herbs.

    How Can You Benefit From This Course?

    • Follow a passion, develop horticultural and manufacturing skills.
    • Start a lavender farm.
    • Produce lavender products.
    • Start a business or build a career with lavender.

    And Remember -

    • Enrol today and also get six free eBooks recommended by our horticultural tutors.

    Get in touch

    You can start the course at any time. If you have any questions contact us now by -

    Phone (UK) 01384 442752, or (International) +44 (0) 1384 442752, or

    click here to contact our specialist tutors for FREE COURSE ADVICE.

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