The Fundamentals of Growing Gorgeous Lavender

Growing tips for this fragrant, easy-care plant that thrives in sunny locations

Lavender, an herb with many culinary uses, also makes a stunning addition to borders and perennial gardens, providing sweeping drifts of color from early summer into fall. With its silvery-green foliage, upright flower spikes and compact shrub-like form, lavender is ideal for creating informal hedges. You can also harvest it for fragrant floral arrangements, sachets, and potpourri.


Botanical name: L. angustifolia
Zones: 5-8
Bloom time: June to August
Height:  2 to 3 feet
Flower colors: Lavender, deep blue-purple, light pink, white
Despite its Mediterranean origin, English lavender was so named because it grows well in that country’s cooler climate and has long been a staple in English herb gardens. The gray-green foliage and whorls of tiny flowers make this one of the most attractive lavenders in the garden. It’s one of the most cold-hardy varieties and the best for culinary use because of its low camphor content.

Botanical name: L. dentata
Zones: 8-11
Bloom time: Early summer to fall
Height: 36 inches and larger
Flower colors: Light purple
Also called fringed lavender, this showy variety is distinguished by narrow, finely-toothed leaves and compact flower heads topped by purple bracts. While the flowers have less aroma than English lavender, the fleshy leaves are more fragrant, with an intoxicating rosemary-like scent.

Botanical name: L. stoechas
Zones: 8-11
Bloom time: Mid to late summer
Height: 18 to 24 inches
Flower colors: Deep purple
This variety is prized for its unusual pineapple-shaped blooms with colorful bracts, or “bunny ears,” that emerge from each flower spike. Although the flowers are not especially fragrant, the light-green leaves are very aromatic.

Botanical name: L. ×intermedia
Zones: 5-11
Bloom time: Mid to late summer
Height: 2 to 2½ feet
Flower colors: Dark violet, white
This popular hybrid combines the cold hardiness of English lavender with the heat tolerance of Portuguese lavender (L. latifolia). It typically starts blooming a few weeks later than most English lavenders and features long spikes of highly fragrant flowers. Although not considered edible (due to high camphor content), the flowers and foliage are often added to sachets and potpourris.

Although all lavender (Lavandula) is native to the Mediterranean, there are many varieties offering a vast selection of bloom times, colors, flower forms, and sizes. “Bloom time can vary drastically between different locations—where one lavender blooms at the start of June, only 20 miles away could be a very different outcome,” says Kristin Nielsen, president of the Lavender Association of Western Colorado.

Contrary to the name, not all lavenders are purple. Some hybrids come in other lovely pastel hues such as violet-blue, rose, pale pink, white, and even yellow. The leaves can also vary in shape and color. To extend the bloom season as well as the color palette, consider planting several varieties.


Lavender is a tough, dependable woody perennial that will last for several years under the right conditions. Because of its Mediterranean origin, lavender loves the blazing hot sun and dry soil. If your lavender doesn’t thrive, it’s most likely due to overwatering, too much shade, and high humidity levels.

English lavenders and their hybrids are the best varieties for cooler climates since they are cold hardy north to Zone 5. However, they will grow best in a sheltered location with winter protection. For southern gardens in extremely hot, humid climates, Spanish and French lavenders are more tolerant of the moist conditions but should be spaced apart to allow good air circulation.

If your winters are too harsh or your soil is heavy and dense, consider growing lavender in containers. They will flourish as long as they receive at least 8 hours of direct sunlight a day and are planted in a high-quality potting mix with good drainage. In winter, bring your container plants indoors and place them in a sunny window. Learn more about growing lavender in containers at


All lavender varieties require well-drained soil, especially during the winter months. To ensure good drainage, mix some sand or gravel into the soil before you plant lavender or grow the plants in mounds, raised beds, or on slopes. Instead of applying moisture-holding organic mulches, consider using rock or stone, especially in humid climates.

Once established, lavender is very low-maintenance and requires minimal watering or pruning. If the stems become woody as the plant matures, prune it back by about half its height in the spring to promote fresh new growth and robust flowering. Plants that aren’t pruned also have a tendency to sprawl, leaving a hole in the middle. In the summer, clip faded blooms to encourage repeat blooming throughout the season.

Justin Claibourn of Cowlitz Falls Lavender Company in Randle, Washington offers the following advice:

  • Check your soil’s pH. “If it’s too acidic you can kiss your lavender goodbye,” he says. They will look great at first, but after a few years, you may notice plants dying off randomly. Once the roots grow out into the native, un-amended soil trouble can begin. Most universities will check your PH relatively cheaply or some hardware stores for free. You can amend your soil with lime to better accommodate your lavender plants.
  • Don’t overwater. “As a large-scale grower we typically irrigate twice a year—that’s it,” states Claibourn. Give your lavender a long soak to promote root growth, short and frequent watering cycles result in unhealthy roots that may rot.


  • Use lavender along walkways and garden paths where you can enjoy their scent and where they can benefit from the heat reflected off the pavement.
  • Plant in formal or informal herb gardens, where the cool, gray-green foliage sets off other green herbs and plants.
  • Create aromatic hedges or borders along fences and garden walls.
  • Use lavender as a natural pest repellent near patios and porches. The scent deters mosquitoes, flies, fleas, and other problem insects while attracting butterflies and bees.


A member of the mint family, lavender has been used for centuries as a versatile, unexpected flavoring in both sweet and savory foods. English lavenders are the best varieties for culinary purposes, and both the buds and leaves can be used fresh or dried. Because the flavor of lavender is strong, use it sparingly so it won’t overpower your dishes. The buds are best harvested right before they fully open when the essential oils are most potent.

  • Immerse a few dried lavender buds in a jar of sugar to give it a sweet aroma. Use the sugar for baking and in desserts.
  • Chop the fresh buds and add to a cake batter or sweet pastry dough before baking.
  • Add flower buds to preserves or fruit compotes to give them subtle spicy notes.
  • Sprinkle fresh lavender on a salad as a garnish.
  • Use fresh lavender to infuse teas, cocktails, and other beverages.
  • Use chopped buds and leaves to flavor roast lamb, chicken, or rabbit.
  • Make Herbes de Provence by blending dried lavender with thyme, savory, and rosemary.

Check out the original article

Tips for Successful Lavender Growing

TIP 1: Lavender needs full sun; a minimum of 6 to 8 hours.

TIP 2: Lavender does not like “wet” feet, so give it a good soak and then let the plant go dry. If your soil is heavy and slow to drain, create a hospitable place for lavenders by amending your beds with plenty of organic matter. Compost will promote soil aeration and help keep the plants from succumbing to root rot. Growing them in fast-draining raised beds is another workable option.

TIP 3: Plant spacing for English lavender (L. Angustifolia) is  30” spacing and for Lavandins (L. x intermedia) it is 36” between plantings.

TIP 4: Lavender likes pH between 6.5 or 7.0.  If you have low pH add dolomite lime and organic compost.

TIP 5: To maintain nice tight mound and prevent woody growth, prune regularly.   Year one of planting lavender, remove any new flowers and give your lavender plant a good “haircut”, using your pruning shears cut 2” inches above softwood in a mound type shape.  This will promote growth and begin to develop your desired shape. By year two your lavender will double in size.  When flowers bloom, harvest your stems.  By year three it will be even larger, continue to harvest stems during bloom. Pruning a lavender to the point where it has no foliage will most likely kill it, so prune back only in small increments. In spring, cut the foliage back by one third to stimulate new growth. Then, after the new foliage has grown in, cut that back by one third to stimulate new growth at the base of the plant. If new growth does break at the base of the plant, prune the plant back to just above the new growth. Never prune out old wood unless it is completely dead. During the cooler seasons, limit your pruning to the removal of spent blossoms and dead branches and avoid cutting into live woody stems. Cutting back plant material will promote a growth response. This is especially important to remember when it comes to pruning lavender since their new growth is particularly sensitive to cold temperatures. If lavender is prematurely pruned in fall or winter, the pruning stimulates the plant to waste energy as it produces new growth.  The result is tender new growth is damaged or killed by frosty temperatures, and the plant loses vigor or may die since its energy reserves are spent.

Tip 6: A lavender’s size and habit determine its use: 1) Smaller-growing, mound-forming English lavenders make great edging plants or can be massed to create a large silvery bank topped with hundreds of short lavender spikes. 2) Low-growing lavenders make good edgers or front-of-the-border plants. 3) Tall-growing lavandins make fine hedging plants. And since their foliage is larger and their flower stalks longer than those of their English lavender cousins, they catch the wind and provide movement in the garden, much the same way ornamental grasses do.

Basics of Lavender

Just getting started learning about Lavender?

Download this Fact Sheet from the Colorado State University Extension Office that will help you with the basic understanding of what it is, how it grows, what it needs, and what to watch out for.


Growing Lavender


Lavender can be propagated by seed, layering or stem cuttings.  We recommend using stem cuttings or layering because you can guarantee your new plants will not be a hybrid version caused by cross-pollinating.

By Stem Cutting.  To propagate by stem cutting, first prepare a container with well-draining, sandy soil.  Then harvest a 2-3 inch healthy growth from a well-established lavender plant (2-3 years old).  Place the newly cut stems into the moist, sandy soil approximately 1 inch deep and 3-4 inches apart.  Keep the soil moist.  Propagation time depends on the variety and growing conditions.  There are mixed thoughts on adding rooting hormone to the cuttings.  Do what you prefer.  Once the roots are pronounced, you can transplant your new plant into your garden or pots. *some varieties of lavender have royalties and propagating those plants is illegal.  Make sure you do your research and ask your garden center or plant supplier (where you got your original plants from) if there are any propagation restrictions.

By Layering.  Layering is done by covering low-lying stems with soil until they root.  If you choose to propagate by layering, choose healthy stems.  Remove all the leaves from the part of the stem that will be covered by soil.  If the soil doesn’t hold the stem in the ground, use a landscaping staple or a similar device to ensure it won’t pop out of the ground.  Leave the new plant attached to the ‘mother’ lavender until the following year, when you can carefully cut the stem and replant the new ‘child’ lavender.


The harder you prune the more rapid regeneration your lavender will undergo.

Those are hard words when you are afraid to cut too much or after watching all this growth happen in one summer to face knocking it all down.  But pruning is what you must do for your lavender plants to thrive and live longer.

There are some great videos on YouTube that will show you how to prune, but what does that mean?  I have a little plant in my hand ready to go in the ground, now what?

Prune it before you plant it.  Just a little off the top, making sure to remove any stems that have developed.  This is to help the plants energy to focus on the roots.  In this first year, you will see some stems and blooms.  Cut them, let them grow.  You will hear a variety of opinions but most agree to prune.  So in July,  August or September (you have to decide by your plants and this is where the YouTube videos will let you compare size) prune your plant about two inches above the lower woody branches of the plants.  You never want to cut into the wood as this retards the growth.  Yes, you will be cutting off about 1/3 of the plants, but having tried to grow lavender before and after I knew about pruning I can attest that my pruned plants grew where my non-pruned plant did not.

The following spring your plants might need a trim to shape it if it was blooming late in the fall and the rule of thumb seems to be don’t cut the plant too late into the fall. No, I don’t have a specific date, as again, it depends on your area.  It would be great to see some research on results of pruning in different months, but that is beyond what I can do.  So year two you will see more blooms.  When you harvest these this is a good time to prune again cutting back about 1/3 of the plant and never cutting into the wood.

Now you have mature plants and this is where pruning can vary.  You can prune in the spring or the late summer.  One way is to prune when you harvest shaping the plant as you go.  Some growers admit to not having enough time to spend on pruning.  If you prune in the summer you may need to do a trim in the spring to those ever-bearing varieties that produced stems all the way until frost.

The second thought is when you harvest, not cutting too deep so you don’t have all the leaves to contend with the leaves on your stems.

Then you will prune in the spring shaping the plant.

How much do you take off when you prune mature plants?  Enough to shape it, plus a little. In other words, you don’t have to take a 1/3 of the plant like you did when they were little.  Just remember aggressive pruning extends the plants life and you get better regeneration.

Here in southeastern Utah, we haven’t been growing for 10 to 15 years so we can’t compare pruning styles yet.  Someday we will and will see if the spring pruning made a difference compared to late summer pruning.

What tools do you use to prune?  In the first few years hand clippers work great, but when your plants are mature unless you are looking for a good hand workout you want to change tools.  Hand shears work and so does a 20-inch electric hedge clipper.  So far those who use the electric clippers have not seen damage due to tearing.

Year: 1
Spring: trim the plants as you put in the ground
Late Summer: prune 1/3 – 2 inches above wood and shape plant

Year: 2
Spring: trim left over stems
Late Summer:  prune 1/3 and shape plant

Year 3 option 1
Spring: trim leftover stems and shape.
Later Summer: prune as you harvest

Year 3 option 2
Spring: prune and shape
Later Summer: harvest


When it comes to fertilizing, question everything I say and seek further information if what I present raises questions in your mind.

In a study from the Egyptian Journal of Horticulture, optimal yields of aerial parts of lavender were observed following fertilization with urea at 88 lb./ acre. The best yields of essential oil were observed following application of ammonium chloride (N source) at 44 lb/ acre (ElSherbany et al. 1997)

Fertilizing is talked about in Lavender: The Grower’s Guide, The Lavender Lover’s Handbook and Dr. Swift’s excellent article Soil Preparation for Lavender.

Soil Test:

Need to know if the soil is deficient in nutrients Adding nutrients when not needed can cause imbalances and do more harm than good Older plants could show signs of nutritional stress if the soil is poor.

Three Main nutrients: Nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium

Nitrogen: main function to promote foliage growth Can help boost plant establishment when plants are first starting out (first 3 years) Too much nitrogen will boost leaf production at the expense of flower production Nitrogen application could increase stem length for cut-flower production Once plants are established using a low nitrogen fertilizer could help establish stronger roots and overall health of plants Probably want to avoid blood meal and fish emulsion on established plants as they are usually very high in nitrogen.

Phosphorus: main function to help root development and overall plant health Can be beneficial to add right before blooms begin to give the plant an extra boost Natural sources are bone meal and bat guano (need to check which kind of bat guano)

Potassium (also known as potash): key nutrient to boost plants’ tolerance to stress such as varying temperatures or long periods of drought Some growers use higher percentages of potassium to strengthen plant through winter Natural sources include composted fruits and vegetables and kelp meal

Phosphorus and potassium, however, move very little in most soils from their point of application, so it’s better to work them into the soil before planting to make sure they’ll be within the plant’s root zone.

Types of fertilizers:

Composts Good for adding organic matter to soil; Course composts can increase the porosity of the soil to facilitate the movement of oxygen and water to the plants roots Nutrient content not always known and usually not very concentrated.

Organic sources such as manures, guano, kelp, bone meal, etc. Need to be sure, not high in soluble salts Usually low percentage so if the soil is really deficient have to use large quantities.

Man-made sources – pellet or liquid Not organic certified Usually more concentrated than other sources.

Methods of Application:

In order to get maximum benefit from manures and fertilizers, they should not only be applied in proper time and in the right manner but any other aspects should also be given careful consideration. Different soils react differently with fertilizer application. Similarly, the N, P, K requirements of different crops are different and even for a single a crop, the nutrient requirements are not the same at different stages of growth. The aspects that require consideration in fertilizer application are listed below:
1. Availability of nutrients in manures and fertilizers.
2. Nutrient requirements of crops at different stages of crop growth.
3. Time of application.
4. Methods of application, placement of fertilizers.
5. Foliar application.
6. Crop response to fertilizers application and interaction of N, P, and K.
7. Residual effect of manures and fertilizers.
8. Crop response to the different nutrient carrier.
9. Unit cost of nutrients and economics of manuring.

Fertilizers are applied by different methods mainly for 3 purposes:
1. To make the nutrients easily available to crops,
2. To reduce fertilizer losses and
3. for ease of application.

2. The time and method of fertilizer application vary in relation to
1) The nature of fertilizer.
2) Soil type and
3) The differences in nutrient requirement and nature of the crops.

Application of fertilizers in solid form: It includes the methods like:
I) Broadcasting: Even and uniform spreading of manure or fertilizers by hand over the entire surface of the field while cultivation or after the seed is sown in standing crop, termed as broadcasting. Depending upon the time of fertilizer application, there are two types of broadcasting:
A) Broadcasting at planting and
B) Top dressing. The term side dressing refers to the fertilizer placed beside the rows of a crop. Care must be taken in top dressing that the fertilizer is not applied when the leaves are wet or it may burn or scorch the leaves. Side-dressings could be washed from the crop in run-off or leached below the root zone.

‘Fertigation’ is the technique of supplying dissolved fertilizer to crops through an irrigation system. When combined with an efficient irrigation system nutrients and water can be manipulated and managed to obtain the maximum possible yield of marketable production from a given quantity of these inputs. Continuous small applications of soluble nutrients overcome problems of the fertilizer being washed away or going too deep, save labor, reduce compaction in the field, result in the fertilizer being placed around the plant roots uniformly and allow for rapid uptake of nutrients by the plant. To capitalize on these benefits, particular care should be taken in selecting fertilizers and injection equipment as well as in the management and maintenance of the system. Can get soluble fertilizers as either organic or man-made Need to make sure that the sources of nutrients are compatible with the plants being fertilized and with the water being used Modern fertigation should be able to regulate:
 quantity applied
 duration of applications
 proportion of fertilizers
 starting and finishing time The selection of the correct injection equipment is just as important as the selection of the correct nutrient. Incorrect selection of equipment can damage parts of the irrigation equipment, affect the efficient operation of your irrigation system or reduce the effectiveness of the nutrients.

The three usual methods of injection are:
1. suction injection
2. pressure differential injection
3. pump injection.

Most common Pluses and minuses to each method of injection The effectiveness of fertigation is often dependent on the effectiveness of the irrigation system. The full advantages of irrigation and fertigation only become evident if the correct irrigation design is employed to meet plant requirements and to distribute water and fertilizer evenly. Because of the corrosive nature of many fertilizers, the components of the irrigation system that come into contact with corrosive solutions should consist of stainless steel, plastic or other noncorrosive materials. Fertigation increases the number of nutrients present in an irrigation system and this can lead to increased bacteria, algae and slime in the system. These should be removed at regular intervals by injection of chlorine or acid through the system. Chlorine injection should not be used while fertilizer is being injected into the system as the chlorine may tie up these nutrients making them unavailable to the plant. Systems should always be flushed with nutrients before completion of irrigation. Before commencing a fertigation program, check fertilizer compatibilities and solubility.

During the irrigation season it is important to monitor:
 pH effects over time in the root zone
 soil temperature effect on nutrient availability
 corrosion and blockages of outlets
 reaction with salts in the soil or water.

When and How to Use Foliar Fertilizers

Foliar fertilizers are dilute fertilizer solutions applied directly to plant leaves. As with soil application of fertilizer, the goal of foliar fertilization is to supply plants with the nutrients needed for good growth. There are many products on the market that can be used as foliar fertilizers, but are they really needed? Is there any advantage to the foliar application instead of soil application?

When It’s Not Such a Great Idea

 The major pathway for nutrient uptake is by way of the roots. Leaves have a waxy cuticle, which actually restricts the entry of water, nutrients, and other substances into the plant. To limited extent nutrients applied to leaves can be absorbed and used by the plant, but for the major nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) the quantity absorbed at any one time is small relative to plant needs. That means that foliar application of these three nutrients can only supply a very small fraction of the total needed by the plant, so a foliar application should be considered only a supplement to regular soil application of these nutrients. If the plant already has plenty of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, a foliar application will not have any beneficial effects. In fact, if concentrations of nutrients in the foliar spray are too high, then leaf damage can occur and in severe cases may kill the plant.
 When liquid fertilizer is sprayed on foliage some nutrients are absorbed through the leaves and light, frequent applications would constitute true foliar fertilization. However, with heavier spraying there will be considerable runoff from the foliage and the liquid fertilizer will soak into the soil. In this case, there would be some nutrient absorption through leaves, but the majority of the nutrients used by the plant would actually be taken up by roots. From the plant’s perspective, this is essentially the same process that occurs when dry fertilizer is added to the soil. It will be more expensive and time-consuming than a dry fertilizer application. Phosphorus and potassium, however, move very little in most soils from their point of application, so it’s better to work them into the soil before planting to make sure they’ll be within the plant’s root zone.

When It’s a Pretty Good Idea

 An appropriate time to consider foliar fertilization is when a specific nutrient shortage is evident based on visual symptoms or soil analysis. If a deficiency exists, then the foliar application would be one means of providing a quick but temporary fix to the problem. Certain soil conditions such as high pH, low pH, drought, excessive moisture, or cool temperatures may cause some nutrients to be unavailable for uptake by the roots. If anyone of these conditions exists, the problem may be more effectively corrected with foliar applications than with soil applications.
 A classic example of effectively using foliar fertilizers is for micronutrients such as iron. At high soil pH levels, iron is not available to plant roots even though high levels of iron may be present in the soil. Under high pH conditions, iron chlorosis or interveinal yellowing occurs on young leaves. A way to alleviate the chlorosis temporarily is to apply inorganic salts such as iron sulfate or chelated forms of iron directly to the leaves. Chelates are chemical compounds that help iron stay in solution over a wide pH range.
 The cuticle on leaves of most plants will cause water to bead up and prevent good penetration. So, for all foliar-applied products, it is important to include a wetting agent or surfactant to allow for full coverage of the leaf. If rain occurs shortly after an application, most of the spray will be washed off the leaves and reapplication will be necessary.

Important points about foliar fertilization:

1. Routine use of foliar fertilizers without a documented need is not recommended.
2. Foliar fertilization is unable to meet the total plant requirements for the major nutrients nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
3. Foliar fertilizers are most effective when soil problems occur that restrict nutrient availability such as iron availability in high pH soils.
4. Foliar fertilization should not be used as a substitute for good soil fertility management. Have your soil tested and fertilize according to soil test recommendations.



Lavender Essential Oil is an eminent and versatile oil that can be used on almost any part of the body for almost any ailment. It can be used in numerous body care products ranging from skin and hair care to emotional care through aromatherapy. Though the positive effects of Lavender Oil are unseen in aromatherapy, they remain powerful and have beneficial impacts on interconnected body systems. Lavender Oil is famed for its ability to treat aches and pains regardless of whether they are experienced emotionally or physically. This article highlights a small element of possibilities that can be achieved with the advantages of Lavender Essential Oil.

    • When diffused, Lavender Essential Oil can relieve headaches and nausea, and it can promote easier breathing by working as a decongestant. It can deodorize stale air, fabrics, and body odors.


    • In a massage, Lavender Essential Oil effectively soothes many types of pain, both mental and physical. It boosts circulation, lowers blood pressure, and strengthens muscles.


    • In a bath, Lavender Essential Oil can soothe inflammation, cold symptoms, and stimulate the body’s immune function through its anti-microbial properties.


  • In cosmetics, Lavender Essential Oil stimulates cell regeneration, detoxifies pores, and relieves itchiness associated with dry skin.


When diffused, Lavender Essential Oil’s soothing fragrance can relieve headaches and nausea and it can promote easier breathing by working as a decongestant. It can deodorize a room, linens, or the body. Its calming, sedative quality is known to promote rest and relaxation, helping it to treat anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Although diffusing is now commonly associated with electric diffusers, homemade natural sprays and reed diffusers can also be used.

Both Chamomile and Lavender have scents that are considered relaxing. In fact, because Lavender also repelled bedbugs and lice, it was stuffed into special pockets that were sewn into nightcaps. These days, ‘dream pillows’ are often stuffed with Lavender, Chamomile, and Hops and can be tucked under pillowcases. The following is a recipe for a spray, which may be easier to make and use:



Ingredient Amount
Chamomile Essential Oil 1 drop
Lavender Essential Oil 9 drops
Neroli / Vetiver Essential Oil 3 drops
Sweet Orange Essential Oil 2 drops

These oils can be used in a spray bottle, an electric diffuser, or in a reed diffuser; however, the water-to-oil ratios will vary, depending on the method of diffusion and the water capacity of the electric diffuser. Follow the instructions below is using a spray bottle.



  1. Put oils into a small spray bottle and fill with 60 ml / 2 oz. distilled water.
  2. Shake the bottle to thoroughly combine the blend.
  3. Spray over the bed or onto pillows just before bedtime.


Ingredient Amount
Lavender Essential Oil 4 drops
Bergamot Essential Oil 3 drops
Ingredient Amount
Lavender Essential Oil 4 drops
Bergamot Essential Oil 1 drop
Patchouli Essential Oil 1 drop
Ylang ylang Essential Oil 1 drop



  1. Add the essential oil blends to an electric diffuser.

SOURCE: 500 Formulas for Aromatherapy by Carol Schiller & David Schiller


Lavender Essential Oil can relieve various types of pain such as pain associated with improper digestion, wounds, bloating, muscle aches, joint pains, backaches, and sprains. Diluting it with a carrier oil and using it in a massage can stimulate the intestinal movement that prompts the gastric fluids required for proper digestion. This can help relieve stomach pain, flatulence, vomiting, and diarrhea. Inhaling the aroma of a massage oil that is infused with the soothing scent of Lavender Essential Oil will also ease the emotional pain associated with stress and depression, allowing the user to also relax mentally.


Ingredients Amount
Carrier Oil (Sweet Almond, Avocado, or Grape Seed suggested) 7 t.
Bergamot Essential Oil 5 drops
Mandarin Essential Oil 4 drops
Lavender Essential Oil 4 drops
Lemongrass Essential Oil 3 drops



  1. Mix the essential oils inside a dark glass or PET plastic bottle.
  2. Dilute the blend by adding the carrier oil.
  3. Massage onto chest for comforting and penetrating warmth.


Ingredients Amount
Carrier Oil 4 t.
Lavender Essential Oil 2 drops
Rosemary Essential Oil 2 drops



  1. Mix the essential oils in a dark glass or PET plastic bottle.
  2. Dilute the blend by adding the carrier oil.
  3. Massage gently onto the body for pain relief.


When used in a bath, Lavender Essential Oil stimulates the body’s immune function through its anti-microbial properties, which can combat the harmful effects of contaminants on the skin by inhibiting bacterial growth and reproduction. Inhaling the fragrance of bath water scented with Lavender Oil, which shows anti-inflammatory activity, can relieve inflammation that causes not only a sore body but also sinus pressure and headaches. Its decongestant and expectorant properties make Lavender Essential Oil beneficial for reducing or relieving respiratory issues such as coughs, colds, and the flu. It does this by loosening phlegm and mucus in the nose and throat to facilitate their elimination. Its anti-bacterial activity fights respiratory infections and inflammation from ailments such as bronchitis, laryngitis, and tonsillitis.

Adding Epsom salts to a bath boosts circulation, and relieves a tired and aching body of pain, joint inflammation, and abdominal cramps. Soaking in a salt bath with Lavender relieves tension in the body as well as tension headaches. Sore feet can also find relief from bathing in this therapeutic and stimulating combination that additionally helps detoxify the body and improve digestion.




Ingredient Amount
Carrier Oil (Jojoba or Sweet Almond Oil suggested) 4 fl. oz. (125ml)
Lavender Essential Oil 10 drops
Frankincense Essential Oil 5 drops
Marjoram Essential Oil 5 drops
Cedarwood Essential Oil 1 drop



  1. Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a dark glass or PET plastic bottle.
  2. Pour into a warm bath.
  3. Stir ingredients thoroughly into bath water.
  4. Soak in the bath.
  5. Store remaining oil in a cool, dark place outside of the bathroom, which can become humid.


Ingredient/Material Amount
10-by-10-inch square of muslin/cheesecloth/toe of nylon stocking 1
Lavender Buds 1 cup
Lavender Essential Oil 20 drops
String/Yarn Long enough to tie around a small pouch and hang from bathtub tub into the bathwater
Epsom Salt or Dead Sea Salt 1 cup
Baking Soda (Optional) ½ cup



  1. Place Lavender buds in the center of cloth/toe of the stocking.
  2. Add the essential oil to the buds one drop at a time.
  3. Gather all the material to create a loose pouch and tie together with the string/yarn.
  4. Run the bath water and pour the salt and baking soda directly under the running water to ensure they dissolve.


Used in a moisturizing cosmetic product such as a cream, lotion, or even in a facial steam, Lavender Essential Oil detoxifies, unclogs, tones, and brightens the skin, relieves itching, and can help treat acne due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. In facial steams, the steam facilitates decongestion of the nasal passages caused by allergies, colds, or flu symptoms. The soothing and stimulating aroma not only reduces anxiety, fatigue, and stress but also leaves a cool, clean scent in the home.

By adding moisture to the skin, the cicatrizant properties of Lavender Essential Oil facilitate the soothing of skin that is in need of healing due to dryness, burns, cuts, scrapes, or other damage. Lavender Essential Oil also fights the look of aging by smoothing the look of wrinkles and boosting circulation, which nourishes and oxygenates the skin to keep it looking healthy and rejuvenated.


Ingredient Amount
Distilled water 3 cups
Lavender Essential Oil 4 drops
Geranium Essential Oil 3 drops



  1. Thoroughly cleanse skin.
  2. Boil 3 cups of distilled or purified water.
  3. Remove the water from the heat and allow it to cool in a bowl for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the essential oils to the water and stir.
  5. Place the bowl somewhere stable and comfortable where you can sit for 10 minutes.
  6. Drape a large bath towel over your head, shoulders, and the bowl.
  7. Lean over the bowl with your face 10-12 inches away from the water, close your eyes, breathe deeply, and relax.
  8. Ensure that your eyes are closed during the entire steam, as the oils may irritate open eyes.


Lavender Essential Oil is known to effectively condition hair and control hair loss. This is due in part to its anti-depressant and sedative properties, which are beneficial for alleviating the stress, anxiety, depression, and insomnia with which hair loss is commonly associated. By diluting Lavender Essential Oil in a natural shampoo and regularly massaging it into the scalp, the increased blood circulation will enhance hair growth, condition the hair, treat dandruff and lice, and strengthen hair while improving a negative mindset.


Ingredients Amount
Shampoo Base 100 ml
Sandalwood Essential Oil 10 drops
Lavender Essential Oil 6 drops
Ylang Ylang Essential Oil 4 drops



  1. Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a clean, dark container.
  2. Use a small dab to lather hair, then rinse.
  3. Repeat, if necessary.
  4. Follow up with a conditioner or rinse.



Sometimes a little extra help is needed to keep hair beautiful, especially during harsh weather and times of stress. The following are some ideas to inspire self-pampering. Heavier oils can be cut with a bit of Glycerine if preferred.


Carrier Oils that have proven to be excellent for hot-oil treatments are:

  • Argan Oil (for all hair types and fine hair)
  • Avocado Oil (for dry hair – very heavy – blend a very small amount of other oils or glycerine)
  • Calendula Herbal Oil
  • Coconut Oil (for greasy hair)
  • Jojoba Oil (for all hair types and fine hair)
  • Oat Oil (for seborrhea – very heavy – blend a very small amount with other oils or glycerine)
  • Olive Oil (for dark hair – very heavy – blend a very small amount with other oils or glycerine)


Essential Oils that may be blended include:

  • Chamomile (for fine hair, and blonde hair)
  • Chilli (for hair loss)
  • Cinnamon Bark (for red and auburn hair)
  • Clove Bud (for auburn hair)
  • Lavender (for all hair types)
  • Rosemary (for dark hair, and thinning gray hair)
  • Sage (for dark hair)
  • Thyme (for dark hair)



  1. Gently heat 4 T. of the chosen Carrier Oil.
  2. Remove from heat and add 30 drops of the chosen Essential Oil(s).
  3. Massage sparingly into dry hair, focusing especially on the ends. Massage into scalp, if it is very dry.
  4. Wrap hair with plastic wrap, then wrap over this with a towel.
  5. Leave in for at least 1 hour.
  6. Shampoo well, repeating if necessary, then condition as usual.
  7. If there is enough oil left for another treatment, store in a clean container and refrigerate.



Chamomile Essential Oil: This oil can improve negative moods, which are commonly associated with sleeplessness. It’s soothing, sedative property promotes the relaxation required for a restful sleep state.

Neroli Essential Oil: Inhaling the alluring, relaxing, uplifting scent of this oil can reduce blood pressure, stress, and feelings of grief. It is known to effectively sedate body and mind to promote the onset of sleep.

Vetiver Essential Oil: The aroma of this warming, balancing oil has a grounding and sedative effect on the mind. This decreases obsessive, paranoid, phobic, and anger-induced tendencies. Vetiver is known for its ability to stimulate blood circulation and to alleviate aches, pains, and general physical exhaustion. By doing this, it reduces stress and pressure in body and mind.

Sweet Orange Essential Oil: This essential oil is known to prevent fungal infections and to inhibit the growth of further bacterial growth, which is useful for disinfecting wounds.

Bergamot Essential Oil: This energizing oil is known to boost blood circulation and to reduce nervous tension, stress, and anxiety, which in turn replaces negative mental states with feelings of joy, refreshment, and vigor. The relief of heavy emotional stressors such as sadness may lead to reduced blood pressure, increased relaxation, and better regulation of the sleep hormones serotonin and dopamine, which may lead to better sleep.

Patchouli Essential Oil: Patchouli is a sedative oil that is known to relieve tension and uplift negative moods by stimulating the hormones responsible for experiencing pleasure. By relaxing the mind and body, it reduces symptoms of insomnia and promotes restful sleep, which results in improved metabolism and cognition.

Ylang ylang Essential Oil: This oil is thought to have a euphoric effect on the mood, which helps reduce nervous conditions such as anxiety, tension, and palpitations. It is known to reduce high blood pressure and, being beneficial for regulating rapid heartbeats and breathing, it reduces other negative emotions such as anger and frustration.

Sweet Almond Carrier Oil: This carrier oil provides an intense hydration suitable for all skin types. This skin-softening lubricant is almost odorless and is packed with vitamins, minerals, proteins, and essential fatty acids. Skin will look and feel nourished and revitalized.

Avocado Carrier Oil: This carrier oil is an odorless healing oil that is silky to the touch and is easily absorbed by the skin. Its anti-wrinkle and regenerative properties prevent the early onset of visible signs of aging by keeping the skin hydrated, nourished, elastic, and soft.

Grapeseed Carrier Oil: This is a light, fast-absorbing oil that promotes the speedy healing of wounds and minimizes the look of scarring. It is odorless and is not known to stain sheets. Skin, being the largest organ, excretes the most toxins from the body thus boosting blood circulation.

Mandarin Essential Oil: This sedative oil relaxes the nerves and promotes feelings of calm, eliminating stress.

Lemongrass Essential Oil: This calming oil is commonly used to relieve anxiety, irritability, and sleeplessness, improving the length and quality of sleep.

Carrier Oil of your choice: Carrier oils help to dilute essential oils before topical application, as their potency can be harmful when used in high concentrations without dilution. Carrier oils also help essential oils remain on the skin longer without quickly evaporating.

Rosemary Essential Oil: This analgesic and anti-inflammatory oil stimulate blood circulation, which is vital to managing pain and which makes it a popular remedy for arthritis, muscle and joint pains, and headaches. It promotes faster healing for wounds by facilitating the process of coagulation.

Frankincense Essential Oil: This oil has a grounding scent and promotes easy breathing. It induces feelings of tranquility, contentment, and relief from the physical and mental efforts of the day, thus proving to have properties that combat depression and anxiety, which are common factors in sleeplessness. It is known to reduce heart rate and blood pressure and to allow the body to reach an ideal body temperature that is conducive to sleep.

Marjoram Essential Oil: This oil relieves pain and spasms associated with ailments such as cramps and pulled muscles. Its antiseptic property protects against viruses and fights against bacteria that make wounds septic, thus promoting faster healing. By stimulating circulation, it warms the body, helps reduce mucus and coughing, and relieves arthritis.

Cedarwood Essential Oil: This antiseptic oil helps the body combat harmful bacteria, and its expectorant properties can clear the respiratory tract by loosening the phlegm that causes congestion.

Steaming Water: Applying steam to the face increases circulation and perspiration, which cleanses the pores of dirt and removes dead skin cells. It plumps and firms skin cells to make the face look fresh and youthful.

Geranium Oil: The sweet, floral scent of this uplifting oil offers relaxation to body and mind. It is known to improve mental function and to boost the moods of those who suffer from anger, anxiety, and depression.

Sandalwood Essential Oil: This oil is known to clean and clear the scalp of dandruff while soothing the senses with its sedative fragrance. It stimulates hair growth and strengthens hair while adding moisture and enhancing its natural shine.

Lovely Lavender for the Nervous System

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia and other species)

There are many species of lavender, and any aromatic species can be used. I grow Lavandula angustifolia in my garden for harvesting and usually grow a few different varieties to experiment with. Lavender is not a herb that grows wild in the northeastern United States.

Lovely lavender calms the nervous system, heals burns on the skin, and disinfects harmful bacteria in the digestive tract. You can drink the tea, wash burns with it, cook with it, and even put it in your bucket to wash your floors and walls. This will not only act as a disinfectant, it will smell lovely and bring a peaceful vibration into your home.

Lavender is a physical ally in so many ways. Scientific research has shown that it contains a class of molecules called monoterpenes. One of these is perillyl alcohol, which has been shown to help stop cancer cells from dividing. Lavender is also a spiritual ally, helping bring ease and sweetness into our lives.


Use dried lavender flowers and leaves for teas, infusions, baths, oils, sprays, honey balls, or as part of a smoke blend. You can make a soothing lavender bath by adding a half-gallon of lavender tea into your bath water, or grinding dry leaves and flowers and mixing them with sea or Epsom salts. Add one tablespoon or more of this mixture to a bath. Do what’s pleasing to your senses in terms of how strong or mild a lavender aroma you like.

If you are adding essential oil of lavender to a bath, make sure you add it (5-10 drops) after the bath is filled so that it doesn’t dissipate and waste the oil. You can also make your own fresh lavender flower and leaf infused oil. If you use that in your bath, add about a tablespoon when the bath is about half full, and swirl it around to blend it in. It creates a fragrant, beautiful blend and helps in situations on the whole continuum from simple calming to post-traumatic stress healing.

Lavender tea is pain-relieving, muscle-relaxing, anti-depressant, and helps to soothe an aching or breaking heart. For any of these last purposes, it can be used alone or combine it with oat straw.

Lavender helps with tension headaches and anxiety. Herbalist Kiva Rose shares this observation and advice: “Lavender is appropriate as a nervine when a person is anxious, confused and has a wrinkled forehead that can’t relax. The forehead will give it away every time.”

Another lovely way to use your lavender is an infused honey. This helps with agitation, the blues and bitter grief.

Lavender tea helps ease insomnia. It is a relaxing, restful sleep herb. It’s theorized that chemicals in lavender in lavender interact with the reticular activating system (RAS) in the brain that controls the wake-sleep cycle to induce restful sleep. That may be—or it may be the lavender-hued woman who rises up out of the plant to stroke your hairline like a loving mother (probably right over the area of your reticular activating system) who soothes you to sleep. Or perhaps it’s both, and they are different expressions of the same effect!

You can put a small bag of dried lavender under a pillow, and spray lavender water onto pillows and other bedding for restful sleep and especially to relieve nightmares. I’ve had very good results using lavender for children and adults with nightmares. Here is an easy spray recipe:

Lavender Spray – Variation II

  • Dried lavender flowers
  • Quart Jar
  • Spray bottle
  • Water

Put 1/8 cup of good-quality dried lavender flowers into a quart jar. Cover with boiled water. Cap and steep for 20 minutes. Decant promptly, squeezing the flowers to retrieve the past of their oils. Fill your spray bottle with the lavender infusion. Keep refrigerated with not in use to prolong the shelf life of this preparation. You can also add one drop or more of the essential oil to help preserve it.

This spray is an indispensable aid when traveling, whether by plane, bus, train or in your own car. I carry a bottle with me almost everywhere. In any public place, your lavender spray will calm and refresh you, and lift your spirits. Its antiseptic oils will help to disinfect germs. You can spray it on your hands and face. It’s very lovely, and people almost never object to it. In fact, more often than not, they ask for some too. I’d love to hear what creative applications you come up with – share your ideas with me in the comments below.


Healing Magic, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Green Witch Guidebook to Conscious Living

Lavender Infused Smudge Sticks

Burning aromatic dried herbs are referred to as “smudging.”

Tied bundles of dried aromatic herbs, or smudge sticks, often figure in spiritual healing and cleansing rituals. However, you can simply choose to burn aromatic herbs to enjoy the scent. To make your own smudge sticks, gather a large handful of aromatic herbs and use a natural string {cotton is best} to tie it at one end. {Leave both ends of the string hanging evenly.} Hang the herbs to dry. When the leaves are ready, wrap the string around them, making a compact, cigar-shaped bundle, and knot the string up top.

To burn the smudge stick, light the herbs on one end, and let the stick smolder and release its aromatic smoke. You may hold the smudge stick, gently waving it in the air and carrying it from room to room, or simply prop it up on a fireproof plate, bowl, or ashtray and let it smolder. When you’re ready to extinguish the flame, lightly tamp the lit end of the smudge stick into sand or salt and make sure the fire is out. Continue to use your smudge stick time and time again until it has burned completely.

You can use a wide variety of herbs for smudge sticks. The herbs need to have long enough stems to be cut, bundles and dried. White sage, pinion, cedar, and sweet grass are very traditional smudge herbs; they all smell wonderful either alone or in combination.

Other good smudge herbs include lavender, lemongrass, garden sage, pineapple sage, rosemary, mugwort, any aromatic evergreens, mints, thyme, eucalyptus, and sweet woodruff. Experiment with fragrant herbs found in your garden.

You can also burn loose dried herbs, such as lavender buds, rose petals, white sage leaves, or pine needles, using self-lighting charcoal discs designed for burning incense. These charcoal discs are inexpensive and very easy to use. {Caution: The type of charcoal used for grilling food is not suitable for burning herbs.} Light the disc using a match or lighter, then place it in a fire-proof container such as a ceramic bowl or ashtray. It will spark, then begin to glow red. Then simply sprinkle your dried herbs on the disc. They will smolder and burn, releasing their aromatic smoke. You can use nearly any fragrant herb for incense. I recommend gathering a selection of dried herbs and burning small quantities of each, one at a time so that you can experience how each herb smells while it’s burning.

Some of my favorite herbs to use as loose incense include white sage, lavender buds, sweetgrass, costmary, cedar wood chips, bay leaves, lemongrass, and rosemary.