GROWING LAVENDER BHT228

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

Follow Your Passion for Lavender

  • Start a Lavender Farm or Nursery
  • Learn to Grow & Use Lavender
  • Enrol any time, work at your own pace

Students are supported by a team of professional horticulturists, with decades of experience working with Lavender and other herbs across different climates and countries around the world.

 
How Many Types of Lavenders Are There?
 
Lavenders belong to the same plant family as mint, thyme, rosemary and many other herbs and shrubs (ie. Lamiaceae, formerly called Labiateae).
 
The common name is lavender (spelled with “e”), and the scientific (genus) name is Lavandula (spelled with an “a”)
Experts vary on how many species of Lavandula exist. Some authorities suggest around 20 species, and others as many as 40 species. A number of authorities agree on 28 as the number of species.
There are also hundreds, if not thousands of varieties (genotypes).
The genus is divided into sub groups in different ways by different authorities.  This course, among other things,  helps you understand what can often be a complex and confusing classification of these plants.

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Classification and identification of lavender
    • general characteristics of Lanendula
    • resources, contacts (ie: 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.

Aims

  • 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, (or illustrations) 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

Introduction to Lavender Cultivation

Lavenders are generally hardy shrubs, whilst they tolerate a wide range of soil types and climatic conditions, being native to the Mediterranean area: they prefer warm summers and cool winters.    Soil should friable (ie. loose   certainly not rock hard), moderately fertile and ideally be slightly alkaline - pH between 6.4 and 8.2. An annual rainfall of around 900mm is ideal.

Good drainage and mulching are important; keep the soil moist in the warmer months, but not saturated.  Most lavender tolerates periods of dryness, but an extended drought can kill them. Despite lavender's ability to withstand dry periods - young plants do need soil to remain moist right through the first dry season. Lack of water or excessive heat can discourage flowering.

Lavenders do respond to feeding, and if they are having flowers picked continually, they require extra feeding to replace nutrients which are being taken away in the harvest. For best results feed in early spring with a general slow release plant food such as pellets of organic manure, slow release granulated fertiliser or blood and bone. 

 

How Do You Propagate Lavender?

Cutting propagation is the most common method of propagating lavender for field cropping or production of nursery stock.

Lavender may be propagated by tip cuttings. Take tip cuttings from vigorous new thick green growth. Tip cuttings should be between six to eight centimetres long and taken from mature plants before buds open. Remove the leaves from the lower half to seventy percent of the cutting. Cuttings can be soaked in an anti-fungicidal solution that contains 15ml chlorine bleach per 5 litres of water. Then dip the cuttings in a root stimulating hormone and pot into a propagating mix such as half perlite and half fine sieved peat-moss (or coco peat), or half coarse washed river sand and half fine sieved peat-moss (or coco peat). The best time to take most lavender cuttings is  in the early autumn.

Coarse sand or perlite on its own works very well too and seems to prevent fungal problems however more attention will need to be given to watering. About 70% of the cutting should be below the surface of the mix.   The propagating mix should be firmed down around the base of the cuttings and then thoroughly watered.

Cuttings should be protected from hot direct sun and frosts. Place in a warm, light position where the temperature will remain no less than 18ºCelsius and no more than 30ºC. A structure that ensures humidity would be ideal. You could also use a propagating box that has an underground heating element and this added warmth should speed root development.

The propagating mix should be kept moist but not wet the plants will develop roots in three to four weeks in warm temperatures, but may take many months if propagated late in autumn. Mist the cuttings several times a day, either with an automatic misting system or by hand spraying. If the cells in the leaves become damaged by wilting then disease will set in rapidly.

It is possible to get rooted plants in three to four weeks. This time period may be reduced if the root zone can be heated to 4 to 5ºC more than the ambient air temperature in colder climates. Pinch the tips of the cuttings when initially transplanting to larger pots, then they will be branched and ready to transplant into the garden in a further six to eight weeks in the warmer months.

The best cuttings for the next season come from these new vigorous plants late in summer. They have thick stems which root readily, but in colder climates the cuttings will not be developed enough to survive out in the open over winter. Most lavender can be propagated by cuttings at any time of the year, though late summer or early autumn is generally preferred.
 
 

Uses For Lavender

Lavenders are obviously popular garden plants; and have a significant value for landscaping. There are however many other uses as well, ranging from medicinal and cosmetic to crafts and even culinary uses.  Lavender is grown as a significant commercial crop in some parts of the world; and it's extracted oils are used extensively in manufacturing perfumes and cosmetics, cleaning products, aromatherapy oils, scented candles and a whole range of other products that you may not have even thought of.
This course can open your mind to a range of these possibilities, and show you how to both grow and use lavender in a whole range of situations
 
 
Consider Medicinal Uses
Lavender has long been used in herbal medicine, aromatherapy and massage.

 

 
Lavender oils are one of the most common herbal oils used in massage; often added to non or low aromatic oils for use in massage. Lavender is also generally considered relatively safe; with a far lower likelihood of people having an allergic reaction to this type of oil. Highly sensitive people can often be sensitive to many other types of herbal oils.

 

 
Traditional herbalism while still widely practiced in some parts of the world, is not always supported by the same level of scientific testing that many modern medicines are. Nevertheless, the use of lavender by herbalism is still extensive; as a treatment for digestive issues, an antiseptic, an appetite stimulant, an inducer of perspiration and a decongestant (when scent is breathed in).
 
The way in which lavender is used for medicinal purposes, should be prescribed by a knowledgeable practitioner, particularly if it is to be used for an extended period or ingested in any way whatsoever.
 
 
 
Consider Cosmetics that use Lavender
 
Lavender is used in cosmetics due to its fragrance and its soothing, anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties.

 

 
Lavender Body Lotion
The following recipe is for a moisturising, soothing body lotion:
  • 1/2 cup jojoba oil
  • 1/2 cup kukui oil
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of borage oil
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons Vitamin E oil
  • 10 to 15 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 1/4 cup vegetable glycerine
Combine all ingredients in a bottle (preferably a bottle with a squeeze or pump-style top). Shake well.

 

 
Lavender Lotion Bar
The following recipe makes 4-5 bars:
  • 120g of raw coconut oil, raw shea butter, raw cocoa butter (choose just one or a combination)
  • 120ml of sweet almond oil
  • 140g beeswax
  • 3 tsp of lavender essential oil
  • 1 to 2 Vitamin E capsules
1. Melt the beeswax with the coconut oil, shea butter and cocoa butter on the stove over medium-low heat (or in the microwave). Melt the mixture slowly, without letting it boil. Stir until the mixture is completely liquid, then remove from the heat.
2. Add the sweet almond oil and mix well. Allow the mixture to cool for 5 minutes, then add the contents of the vitamin E capsule and the lavender oil. Mix well.
3. Pour the mixture into moulds (e.g. cupcake moulds or soap moulds) and allow it set for at least an hour. The bars can then be pressed out of the moulds.
 
 
 
Consider Lavender in Cleaning Products
Lavender oil is used for cleaning purposes due to its fragrance and antiseptic properties. It can be added to home made cleaning products.

 

 
Cleaning Fluid
This recipe makes approximately 240ml. The cleaning fluid can be used in a sprayer/atomiser as a cleaning spray in the kitchen and bathroom. To fill your spray bottle, multiply the ingredient amounts as required. In this recipe the ratio of vinegar to water is 1:1. The ratio can be changed to 2:1 (i.e. 2/3 cup vinegar and 1/3 cup water) to increase the fluid’s cleaning power if necessary, e.g. for the removal excessive mould.
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 12 to 24 drops of lavender essential oil
Pour the vinegar and water into a spray bottle. Add the lavender oil and shake the bottle well.

 

 
Multi-Purpose Cleaner
Use a 500ml bottle for the following recipe:
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon borax
  • Distilled or purified water
  • 1/4 cup liquid castile soap
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
1. Mix the vinegar and borax in the bottle. Fill the bottle to 3/4 with hot water. Shake the bottle to dissolve the borax.
2. Add the soap, essential oil and lemon juice. Shake the bottle well.
 
 
 
 

Meet some of our academics

Adriana Fraser Adriana has worked in horticulture since the 1980's. She has lived what she preaches - developing large gardens and growing her own fruit, vegetables and herbs and making her own preserves. In 1992 she formalised her training by graduating with a certificate in horticulture and a few years later, completed a Advanced Diploma in Horticulture amongst other qualifications. Adriana has worked across a broad spectrum of the horticulture industry and has developed a strong network of contacts in horticulture around Australia and beyond. She has written and contributed to many books and magazine articles. She has a passion for plant knowledge and sustainability and a natural understanding of how people learn about horticulture and has taught in various institutions and organistions as well as ACS. Adriana has been a tutor with ACS since the mid 90's and based on the feedback from past students has been an overwhelming success in helping people develop their skills and further careers in horticulture.
Bob James Bob has over 50 years of experience in horticulture across both production sectors (Crops and nursery) and amenity sectors of the industry. He holds a Diploma in Agriculture and Degree in Horticulture from the University of Queensland; as well as a Masters Degree in Environmental Science. He has worked a Grounds Manager at a major university; and a manager in a municipal parks department. Over recent years he has been helping younger horticulturists as a writer, teacher and consultant; and in that capacity, brings a diverse and unique set of experiences to benefit our students.
Dr. Lynette Morgan Lyn has a broad expertise in horticulture and crop production. Her first job was on a mushroom farm, and at university she undertook a major project studying tomatoes. She has studied nursery production and written books on hydroponic production of herbs. Lyn has worked on horticultural projects in countries from the middle east to the Americas and New Zealand to the Phillippines. Lyn has been a tutor with ACS since 2003 and has contributed to the development of a range of hydroponic courses.
Maggi BrownMaggi is the classic UK "plantswoman". She can identify thousands of plants, and maintains her own homes and gardens in the Cotswolds (England), and near Beziers (in Southern France). Maggi is regarded as a leading organics expert across the UK, having worked for 20 years as Education Officer at the "Garden Organic" (formerly HDRA). Some of Maggi's qualifications include RHS Cert. Hort. Cert. Ed. Member RHS, Life Member Garden Organic (HDRA) .


Check out our eBooks

Getting Work in HorticultureFind out what it is like to work in horticulture; how diverse the industry is, how to get a start, and how to build a sustainable, long term and diverse career that keeps your options broad, so you can move from sector to sector as demand and fashion changes across your working life.
Growing & Knowing LavenderWritten by John Mason, this ebook is 117 pages of wonderfully illustrated pages that explain the different lavenders, different names and growing conditions. This ebook also looks at uses for lavender in the garden, home and even business opportunities.
HerbsHerbs are fascinating plants, mystical and romantic. They have a rich history dating back centuries. Used by monks, apothecaries and ‘witches’ in the past, herbs are undergoing a revival in interest. They are easy to grow, scented, culinary and medicinal plants. In a formal herb garden or peppered throughout the garden, herbs rarely fail! Find out how they are used as medicines, for cooking, perfumes and more.
Scented PlantsScented plants can be either a delight or a curse. For many people, there is nothing more pleasing than a garden filled with fragrance, but for others who suffer allergies, certain plants can make them physically ill; sometimes very seriously.

 

 

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