Common garden plant that ‘promotes sleep, relieves anxiety and gives you better hair’

By Staff 11 Min Read

Lavender is a plant that has several positives, according to the experts at Ashridge Nurseries, who have shared some of the most useful health benefits of the plant and professional tips for planting in your home

Experts have revealed that the plant lavender – which is known for promoting sleep and relieving anxiety – can also give you better hair.

As we bid farewell to the cold winter and welcome the fresh bloom of spring, the plant experts at Ashridge have shared some of the most beneficial health properties of lavender and professional tips for planting it in your home. Experts say the plant has several positives.

Lavender could be the key to a good night’s sleep

The aroma of lavender has long been linked with sleep and relaxation. Both lavender oil and indoor lavender plants can be utilised to enhance sleep quality.

Studies indicate that inhaling lavender while sleeping can increase the duration spent in deep sleep, as well as aid in alleviating insomnia, depression, and anxiety by interacting with your brain and nervous system. There are numerous ways to incorporate lavender oil into your bedtime routine, such as applying it to your skin, using it as a pillow mist, placing it on a tissue, diffusing it, or drinking a hot cup of lavender tea, reports Bristol Live.

Unlocking potential hair growth could be its secret

While lavender’s components are known to effectively alleviate anxiety, some research suggests that the plant could even stimulate hair growth. Lavender oil is considered a valuable addition to hair care, with its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties contributing to the overall health of your scalp.

Lavender oil isn’t just a pretty scent; it could also promote hair growth and prevent dandruff, according to early clinical trials. You can easily incorporate lavender oil into your hair care routine by adding a few drops to your shampoo, using products that already contain the oil, or even creating your own massage oil.

Wondering which lavender plant to buy?

If you’re looking to bring the fresh, floral scent of lavender into your home, it’s important to know exactly what type of plant you’re buying. English lavender is hardier than its European counterparts like French or Spanish lavender, making it more likely to survive outdoors during the winter months.

On the other hand, French, Spanish, and hybrid lavenders are more tender and need protection from harsh weather conditions.

When’s the best time to plant lavender?

With warmer weather on the horizon, spring is the perfect time to start planting lavender. The plant prefers dry soil and can rot in the cold, wet conditions often associated with winter. Planting in April or May gives your lavender plenty of time to settle in and bloom beautifully throughout the spring and summer.

Where should you plant lavender?

Lavender thrives in sunny spots where it can soak up six to eight hours of full sun each day. Avoid planting your lavender near large plants or trees that could cast shadows over it. For tidy, unrestricted growth, experts recommend leaving between 1.5ft and 3ft of space between each plant.

Once you’ve found the perfect sunny spot in your garden, make sure to plant your lavender in a raised bed, along a wall or at the top of a slope. This will help improve drainage and prevent waterlogging.

Can you grow lavender indoors?

While many people take advantage of the warmer, brighter months to cultivate lavender outdoors, it’s also a great choice for an indoor plant. Thanks to its hardiness and soothing properties, lavender is a low-maintenance addition to any home.

Not only does it have a strong, beautiful fragrance, but it also acts as a natural deterrent to pests like moths and flies. Just make sure your lavender plant has quality potting soil mixed with a bit of cactus mix and is placed near a south-facing window to get plenty of sunlight.

Is lavender harmful to pets?

Lavender contains a small amount of linalool, a compound that can be toxic to dogs and cats. However, due to the low concentrations of linalool in the plant, toxicity is not usually a problem.

If your pet were to consume large quantities of lavender, they could experience vomiting, diarrhoea, and other more serious symptoms. Fortunately, most dogs and cats are put off by the smell of lavender, which should keep them away from your plants.

What type of soil is best for my lavender?

Hailing from the Mediterranean, lavender flourishes in sunny conditions with excellent drainage. Avoid planting lavender in damp soil and instead choose a blend of well-drained, slightly alkaline soil.

You can utilise clay pebbles and pumice to improve your soil mix’s drainage, along with some compost for added richness. Half-hardy or tender lavender is best planted in pots so it can be easily relocated to more sheltered spots during the cold, wet winter months.

How often should I water my lavender plant?

Lavender is one of the less demanding plants to care for, thanks to its Mediterranean roots meaning it doesn’t require frequent watering. The weather conditions will dictate your watering schedule. In the hot summer months, it’s advised to water your potted lavender plants every few days, while once a week during winter should be enough.

However, if you’re planting lavender in a bed, watering is only necessary during extended droughts, due to the nutrients and water supplied by the deeper soil layers. When tending to lavender, always water it early in the morning to allow for daytime evaporation and avoid wetting the branches or leaves, as this increases the risk of fungi.

How and when to prune lavender

Garden enthusiasts, take note: your lavender’s survival through the chilly season hinges on its hardiness. Those with robust English lavender varieties can rest easy as these plants can weather temperatures down to a nippy -15C, remaining snug in your garden throughout winter.

The key is to trim them back post-bloom, typically around August, being careful not to snip into the old wood or strip away the green shoots. For those cultivating hybrid lavenders, make sure to prune right after their initial flowering and no later than September.

And for the more delicate lavender types, regular deadheading and pruning are necessary when they start to look overgrown or a bit worse for wear.

Julian de Bosdari, the top dog at Ashridge Nurseries, shares his wisdom: “Lavender is one of the most popular plants during springtime, so it’s essential that you know exactly how to care for them so they can bloom beautifully. Understanding the hardiness of your lavender and what it can handle is paramount to producing a beautifully flowered plant. Once bloomed, lavender can even be used for various health benefits, including improving sleep, reducing anxiety, lessening blood pressure, and even promoting hair growth.”

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