Taking an environmentally sensitive approach to pest management


Kelly McGowan
University of Missouri
Plant Science & Technology
(417) 874-2955

Growing Lavender in Missouri

Kelly McGowan
University of Missouri
(417) 874-2955

July 11, 2023

minute read

field of lavendar

Credit: Adobe Stock

2023 is the third year of lavender research being conducted by specialists from University of Missouri Extension. This research was in response to both commercial growers and homeowners inquiring about growing methods specific to Missouri, which are currently unavailable. Research plots are located at four locations: Springfield, Kirksville, Ste. Genevieve, and Mt. Vernon. The Mt. Vernon planting is in a standard high tunnel.

Lavender can be a viable crop for Missouri, but can also have some challenges. Lavender requires well-drained soil, both in winter and summer. This can be achieved by planting on raised rows or raised beds. Although lavender needs well-drained soil, it will also need supplemental irrigation for at least the first two to three years. New plants are becoming established during this time and will need this water during the hot, dry part of the summer. Spider mites can also be an issue during summer. Spider mites thrive during hot and dry weather and populations can quickly explode and spread throughout lavender plantings. Close monitoring for this pest is necessary. Winter protection is also recommended for lavender plantings in northern Missouri.

Lavender plants are typically rooted plugs that are planted in either spring or early fall. Site prep, including soil testing, should be done before plants are sourced.

Cultivar trials have been a part of this research on both Lavandula and English varieties. Lavandulas that have been successful include Provence, Phenomenal, Super, Gros Blue, and Grosso. English varieties include Hidcote, Munstead, Royal Velvet, and Folgate.

English varieties are the earliest to bloom anywhere between May and June, followed by Lavandulas throughout the rest of summer. Most plants will provide a heavy first bloom flush, followed by smaller yields throughout the growing season. Harvesting is done by cutting the flower spikes down to the plant's foliage. Drying can easily be done by hanging bundles upside down in a dry location.

Commercial grown lavender can be utilized many different ways. Agritourism is very popular with on-farm events consisting of you-pick days, crafts, and workshops. Essential oil distillation is also very popular with lavender producers. Many other value-added products can also be made from lavender including lotions and bath products, culinary items, dried floral arrangements, sachets, and many types of crafts.

For new lavender operations, sourcing plants in large quantities can sometimes be difficult and often have to be purchased online. Unfortunately, the plants sometimes struggle during the shipping process. More local production of lavender plants are needed. Fortunately, lavender is fairly easy to propagate from cuttings and growers are encouraged to learn to propagate their own replacement plants.

For more information on growing lavender in Missouri, contact Kelly McGowan at mcgowank@missouri.edu, call 417-874-2955, or mail inquiries to 2400 S. Scenic Ave. Springfield, Missouri 65807.

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REVISED: July 11, 2023