Growing and maintaining lavender in the Lowcountry can be tricky due to our heat and humidity, but its gorgeous purple blooms and heavenly scent make it well worth the effort. Be sure to plant angustifolia or intermedia varieties, which perform well in our climate. Lavender needs full sun and sandy, well-draining, alkaline soil and should be planted in a slightly elevated position to encourage air-circulation. If foliage becomes too dense, prune the inner branches to encourage air flow. To prevent fungus, do not overhead water.
Ask an Expert: Can you explain deadheading and why it’s needed?
“To ‘deadhead’ is to clip or pinch off spent blooms. Gardeners do this so that plants don’t waste energy on making seeds, instead flowering more profusely and growing stronger. It also makes for a tidier appearance. Annuals such as zinnias (below), marigolds, and gomphrena, plus perennials like coneflowers and bee balm, particularly benefit from deadheading, while other plants are ‘self-cleaning’—they quickly drop their faded flowers. A similar practice is known as ‘pinching back.’ Use your thumb and forefinger to pinch off the stem of herbacious growers like coleus to encourage lateral branching and a fuller appearance.”