Lavender is a shrub plant that looks simple enough, but don’t be fooled, these purple beauties can be a real pain. These Mediterranean flowers need dry, alkaline, organic, nutrient poor, aerated soil – super specific! Regular soil or compost won’t do your lavender any favors, and could even be the source of its downfall. Normal, pre-packaged soil mixes are too heavy, compact and water-retaining. Lavender will be happiest in a slightly alkaline environment composed of potting soil, perlite, clay. To get your lavender plants off on the right foot, it’s important to choose the right soil. Unfortunately, there’s lots of misinformation, bad products and dodgy ingredients that can trip you up. But never fear – we’ve got you covered with our list of 5 foolproof lavender soils.
In this post we’ll cover the best budget choice, best organic option, our favorite overall soil and more. We’ve chosen Soil Sunrise’s Lavender Potting Mix as our number one choice for lavender. It’s a 100% natural custom blend, specifically formulated for the needs of lavender plants, with no added chemicals. It will help your lavender thrive due to its focus on aeration, drainage and nutrient retention.
- Best Overall – Soil Sunrise’s Lavender Potting Soil Mix
- Best Organic – Gardenera’s Organic Lavender Soil Mix
- Best for Acid-Loving Lavender – Coast of Maine’s Organic Compost
- Best Sustainable Soil Mix – Noot’s Soil Mix for Indoor Plants
- Best for Making Your Own Mix – Harris’s All Purpose Premium Potting Soil
Best Overall – Soil Sunrise’s Lavender Potting Mix
Soil Sunrise is a brand with a mission close to our hearts at How to Houseplant, they are dedicated to sharing their love of gardening with the world. The two owners of Soil Sunrise became partners in early 2020 to spread the joy of greenhouse and container cultivation with everyone! They are dedicated to creating affordable, sustainable specialty soils of the highest quality. It is blended and packed in the USA but made from a mixture of imported and domestic ingredients. The reviews are all very positive, and suggest that this soil is one of the best. Personally, I’d agree, my lavender absolutely loved this soil blend.
- Material: Peat moss, perlite, horticultural charcoal, pumice, sand, worm-castings and lime
- Dimensions: Available as 8 quart bags or as a 4 quart bag
|Specifically formulated for lavender so it is lightweight and ideal nutrient wise
|Really pricey for a bag of dirt, around $20 to repot into a 12-inch container
|Completely organic, no added chemicals
|Contains peat moss which is an unsustainable material, and it is also packed in plastic bags
Best Organic Lavender Soil Mix – Gardenera’s Soil
Gardenera’s lavender soil has been meticulously crafted in order to satisfy the needs of your lavender plants with only top-quality organic, natural ingredients. This soil mix contains canadian peat moss (the biggest supplier), charcoal, worm castings, perlite, sand, pumice and lime. The perlite, sand and pumice stone in the soil are there to help create more drainage and better aeration. In fact drainage and aeration are super important in preventing waterlogged soil, which leads to root rot and lots of damage or loss of plant life.
These ingredients are also useful for encouraging healthy root growth which is key for robust lavender plants. The addition of worm-castings helps enrich the quality of the soil and ensures an adequate supply of the essential nutrients. The lime that Gardenera have included is great because it makes the soil more alkaline and keeps the pH level balanced. The pH of the soil is more important than many people realize. For example if the plant is exposed to too much acidity or alkaline conditions its ability to absorb water and nutrients can be seriously compromised.
This potting soil is perfect for all species of lavender and can be used in containers, pots, raised beds or wider garden landscapes.
- Material: perlite, sand, pumice stone, peat moss, worm-castings, lime
- Dimensions: Available in 1,2,3,4,5,8,10 or 20 quart bags and it works out much better value to buy in larger quantities
|Specifically formulated for lavender so it is lightweight, well-draining and pH balanced
|Quite expensive, as soil goes
|Completely organic, no added chemicals and all natural ingredients
|Contains peat moss which is an unsustainable material, and it is also packed in plastic bags
Best Lavender Soil Mix for Acid-Loving Lavender – Coast of Maine’s. Organic Soil Blend
Now, it’s important to note that this won’t be the most suitable soil choice for all lavender plants. However there’s a few specifically that I’m recommending this for. Lavender plants generally require neutral to alkaline soil but Lavandula stoechas and its subspecies, as well as Lavandula x intermedia grow in acidic soil in the wild.
Recreating the plants native environment is the best way to care for them, hence recommending this soil, but you might still decide you want to amend it. You could add perlite, charcoal or pumice to this soil if it became too heavy for your lavender plants. The mix is made with all natural ingredients using compost, peat, bark and lime to create a nutrient-rich growing medium. This mix would also help to rejuvenate sandy or clay-rich soils if you needed.
- Material: Compost, peat moss, aged bark, lime
- Dimensions: 20 quarts
|Gives you the means to provide specifically for your acidic loving lavenders
|Not suitable for all types of lavender
|All natural and organic ingredients
|Packaged in plastic and contains peat moss
Best Sustainable Soil Mix – Noot Potting Soil
This Noot potting soil takes the title of sustainable mix thanks to its inclusion of coco coir in place of peat moss. Peat moss comes from peat bogs which absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and hold them in ‘carbon sinks’. When peat moss is harvested from these bogs, the carbon is released into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change.
Additionally, we cannot replenish peat moss at the same pace we are using it. Coco coir is a waste product from coconut farming that can benefit the soil in pretty much the same way that peat moss does, whilst being a completely sustainable material!This soil mix is also just really fantastic for your plants, it’s made with perlite, coconut chips, coco coir and substrate. These ingredients help to provide airflow for the roots of your lavender, preventing root rot. Even better, the coarse perlite pieces are pre-soaked in an organic fertilizer to slowly provide nutrients to your plants.
- Material: Coconut husk, chips, coco coir, perlite, healthy bacterial strains
- Dimensions: 4 quarts
|Curated by a rare plant expert with great airflow
|Not specifically formulated for lavender
|Has fungi and bacterial to strengthen the plants at a cellular level
|A little pricier than your standard soil
Best for Making Your Own Soil Mix – Harris’ All Purpose Soil Mix
If for some reason you don’t want to buy a pre-made mix, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Personally, I like to buy an all-purpose mix, a few amendments and use those ingredients to mix up a custom batch for each plant I’m potting. The Harris all purpose soil mix is a great base as it already has worm-castings, coco coir, pumice, perlite and peat moss. To make this mixture suitable for lavender plants you’ll want to lighten it up with some chunky ingredients to promote airflow. I’d recommend using two parts of all-purpose soil with one part perlite and one part charcoal or sand, depending on what you have access to. The worm-castings will help to provide iron, sulfur, calcium, phosphorus and potassium all of which are absolutely essential for the plants to grow.
- Material: Worm-castings, pumice, perlite, coco coir, peat moss
- Dimensions: 4 quarts
|You can completely customize the mix for your space, your plants and your weather
|It’s a little messy mixing up all of the ingredients
|Making your own soil often works out a LOT cheaper than buying pre-made mixes
|You have to take care to pour the perlite in a well-ventilated space, ideally outside because it’s not safe to breath it in
|You can use the soil and ingredients for all plants
|Requires a little bit of specialist knowledge to make the best mixes
Buying Guide and What You Should Know
The factors to consider when buying a soil mixture include nutrients, ingredients, pH levels, all of which can influence the health and ongoing wellbeing of your bonsai plants. Nutrients in the soil will impact the rate of growth and size of foliage. The pH levels of the soil can impact your bonsais’ ability to absorb the key nutrients it needs.
Each ingredient has a purpose such as retaining moisture, improving air flow through the soil or providing a surface for roots to grow on, it’s important for the ingredients to work together to cover all of the lavender’s needs.
This is a weird and wonderful thing which is made from mining volcanic glass. Perlite is a super lightweight substance that, when mixed in with compost or potting mix, prevents soil compaction and keeps the soil light. As perlite is mined from volcanic sources, it is a finite, non-renewable resource. Although it is not always possible, you can sometimes reuse your perlite to be more green.
Horticultural sand is sometimes added to the soil mixture to help with drainage. The soil also benefits the plant by giving the soil more structural integrity, the sand is easier for the roots to anchor into which is important when the lavender plants get bigger.
Pumice is a soft rock which is formed from volcanic eruptions, it can absorb water and nutrients well so it is often used in soil mixes to help with water retention.
Worm-castings are by far the coolest part of a soil mix. The worm-castings contain a substance called humus, which is a dark, rich, organic material that comes from decaying matter. The humus is useful in a number of ways, it improves soil aeration, water retention and most importantly, the humus helps to keep the nutrients locked in the soil, preventing them from being washed or leached away with the water. Worm-castings are also vital as they nourish the microorganisms within the soil.
This citrus delight tends to be added to control the soil pH, lime raises the pH of the soil (makes it more alkaline) in order to counteract the effects of nitrogen rich fertilizers, heavy rainfall or just acidic soil. Lime therefore is crucial as the correct pH allows the plant’s roots to absorb all the necessary nutrients from the soil.
This is, in fact, is commonly the primary component of soil mixes. Peat moss, which is harvested from bogs, is very water absorbent. The moss absorbs water and then slowly releases it for the roots to soak up, preventing them from drying out.
Horticultural charcoal has a ton of uses in a soil mix, it can do so much. Studies show that the addition of charcoal within the soil improves soil structure, increases the soil’s moisture-holding capacity, reduces the soil density, increases plant growth and reduces soil nutrient leaching.
Lavender plants prefer a more alkaline soil.
When a soil mix is too heavy in clay the pH often falls too far into the alkaline conditions, but this can be easily rectified by the addition of organic matter like dried leaves and composted vegetable scraps. Acidic soil is soil with a high percentage of hydrogen ions, often as a result of high rainfall or where there is a lot of organic matter decomposition. Alkaline soil tends to be found in areas with drier weather, less rain and high levels of alkaline rocks like limestone.
Most but not all potting mixes will say on the bag what pH the soil is, but if the information is not available on the packaging it is very easy to test yourself. You can use a cheap piece of litmus paper which you can get in a gardening center or online to test the pH of your soil. By doing this you can cultivate the perfect growing environment for your plants.
Nutrients and Amendments
The incredible thing about nature is its versatility. Did you know that you can use scraps and waste from around your home to fertilize your plants and create the best soils?
With lavender plants we’ll be sticking to home waste that will make your soil more alkaline.
Ashes from a wood burning stove, fire pit or fireplace can be used as a soil amendment. Wood ash is high in calcium carbonate which raises the pH level of the soil.
Banana scraps and peels are such a useful thing since they are so high in potassium, which can help to make the soil more alkaline. In order for the potassium to be bioavailable you’ll need to soak your banana peels in water for around 48 hours. Use the banana water to water your plants and discard the peel. If you see advice saying to chop up the banana skins and mix that into your soil run from that advice! This will attract pests and problems to your precious lavender, and also won’t benefit the plant in the meantime.
Eggshells are another kitchen scrap that we can be re-using. Eggshells are absolutely loaded with calcium carbonate, which is alkaline and will prevent acidic soil. Clean the eggshells thoroughly to ensure there’s no egg or egg membrane bits left, dry them, and crush them into a fine powder. You can just mix them into the soil.
All of those amendments can be super beneficial but there is such a thing as too much! If you use these methods make sure you test the soil pH regularly to check you’ve not overdone it.
What is the best soil mix for lavender?
Lavender loves well-draining soil, so a sandy mix that is no-clay. One part regular mix with one part sand and one part perlite will make a great soil mix for lavender. But don’t forget to check your soil pH with your litmus paper and amend as needed!
Does lavender need ericaceous soil?
You can use any compost for a lavender soil mix base but ericaceous soil is one of the best choices as it is designed to meet the needs of a plant like lavender.
Just Keeping It Light!
As long as you’ve got yourself a nice, light, chunky soil you’ll be okay! Lavender just needs good airflow, some nutrients and a lot of love. If you feel up to the challenge, maybe try saving a few bucks and mixing your own soil for lavender. If you want to just kick back and let the experts do the work then maybe grab yourself a bag of our top pick from Soil Sunrise with its top-quality ingredients specifically mixed with lavender in mind.
Eager to Learn More?
Let us know your thoughts and feedback by commenting on this article, or by getting in touch with us – here. We love to talk plants!