How To Plant Lavender In Pot [ Full Guide ]

Lavender is a delightful and versatile herb known for its beautiful fragrance, attractive flowers, and myriad of uses. Whether you want to enjoy the calming scent on your patio, create a herb garden in your kitchen, or simply add a touch of beauty to your living space, planting lavender in a pot is a convenient and rewarding option. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the step-by-step process of planting lavender in a pot, from selecting the right container to choosing the ideal location and understanding different lavender varieties.

Quick Answer: How To Plant Lavender In Pot

  1. Choose the right pot: Select a container that is at least 12 inches in diameter with good drainage holes.
  2. Select the ideal location: Lavender thrives in full sunlight, so choose a spot that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day.
  3. Understanding lavender varieties: Consider the specific cultivar of lavender you want to grow based on its size, flowering habit, and fragrance.
  4. Preparing the potting mix: Use well-draining, sandy soil or a specialized potting mix for Mediterranean herbs.
  5. Planting the lavender: Gently remove the lavender plant from its nursery container, loosen the roots, and place it in the center of the prepared potting mix at the same depth as it was in the original container.
  6. Water and care: Water the lavender thoroughly after planting, and then maintain a regular watering schedule while allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. Additionally, consider adding a layer of mulch to retain moisture and control weeds.

Now, let’s delve into each step in detail to ensure your lavender thrives in its pot.

Choosing The Right Pot

Selecting the right pot is crucial for successfully growing lavender. The container should provide enough space for the plant to grow while ensuring proper drainage to prevent waterlogged soil, which can lead to root rot. Here’s what to consider when choosing a pot for your lavender:

Size And Depth

Lavender plants have deep root systems, so it’s essential to choose a pot that allows for adequate root development. A pot with a diameter of at least 12 inches and a depth of 12-18 inches is recommended for a single lavender plant. This size will provide ample room for the roots to spread and establish a strong foundation for the plant.

Material

When it comes to the material of the pot, both terra cotta and plastic containers are suitable for growing lavender. Terra cotta pots are porous and allow for better airflow and moisture evaporation, which can be beneficial for lavender, as it prefers well-draining soil. Plastic pots, on the other hand, retain moisture better and are lighter in weight, making them easier to move around. Ultimately, the choice of material depends on your specific needs and environment.

Drainage Holes

Ensure that the pot has sufficient drainage holes at the bottom to allow excess water to escape. Proper drainage is essential for preventing waterlogging, which can cause root rot and other issues. If the pot of your choice lacks drainage holes, you can drill additional holes to facilitate proper drainage.

By selecting a pot of the appropriate size, material, and with good drainage, you can provide an optimal environment for your lavender to thrive.

Selecting The Ideal Location

Lavender is a sun-loving plant that requires ample sunlight to flourish. When choosing a location for your potted lavender, consider the following factors:

Sunlight

Lavender thrives in full sunlight, so it’s important to place the pot in a spot that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day. Select a location with maximum sun exposure, such as a south-facing patio, balcony, or garden area. If you’re growing lavender indoors, place the pot near a south-facing window or in a sunny spot where it can receive sufficient sunlight.

Air Circulation

In addition to sunlight, lavender also benefits from good air circulation. Choose a location that allows for adequate airflow, which can help prevent humidity-related issues and promote overall plant health. Avoid areas with stagnant air or heavy shade, as these conditions can lead to mold or mildew problems.

Protection From Harsh Elements

While lavender enjoys plenty of sunshine, it’s important to protect the plant from extreme heat, especially during the hottest parts of the day. If you live in a region with scorching summer temperatures, consider providing some shade during the peak heat hours to prevent stress on the plant.

By selecting a sunny, well-ventilated location with some protection from extreme heat, you can create an ideal environment for your potted lavender to thrive.

Understanding Lavender Varieties

Lavender comes in various cultivars, each with its own unique characteristics such as size, color, flowering habit, and fragrance. When selecting a lavender variety for potting, consider the following popular options:

English Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia)

English lavender is a classic choice known for its sweet fragrance, compact growth habit, and lovely blue to purple flowers. It’s a great option for potting due to its manageable size and beautiful blooms, making it an excellent choice for both indoor and outdoor containers.

French Lavender (Lavandula Dentata)

French lavender, with its distinctively serrated leaves and showy flower heads topped with colorful bracts, adds a touch of elegance to any container garden. It tends to be slightly larger than English lavender, so be sure to select a larger pot if you opt for this variety.

Spanish Lavender (Lavandula Stoechas)

Spanish lavender, also known as butterfly lavender, is recognized for its unique, pineapple-shaped flower heads and attractive grey-green foliage. This variety can add a bold and exotic flair to your container garden and is ideal for gardeners looking for something a little different.

Lavandin (Lavandula X Intermedia)

Lavandin is a hybrid lavender known for its vigorous growth, larger size, and abundant blooms. While it may require a larger pot due to its size, it’s a fantastic choice for creating a statement piece in a larger container or for those looking to indulge in lavender’s aromatic and visual appeal.

Consider the growth habits, size, and flowering characteristics of each lavender variety before making your selection. Additionally, keep in mind your own preferences regarding fragrance, color, and the specific growing conditions that each variety thrives in.

Preparing The Potting Mix

Creating the right growing medium is critical for the success of potted lavender. Well-draining soil is essential, as lavender is susceptible to root rot in overly wet conditions. Here’s how to prepare a suitable potting mix for your lavender:

Soil Mixture

For optimal drainage and aeration, use a well-draining potting mix suitable for Mediterranean herbs. Look for a mix that contains a combination of peat moss, perlite, and coarse sand to ensure good airflow and water retention without becoming waterlogged. Alternatively, you can create your own potting mix by combining equal parts of potting soil, coarse sand, and perlite.

Ph Level

Lavender prefers slightly alkaline soil with a pH level between 6.5 and 7.5. You can test the pH of your potting mix using a soil testing kit available at garden centers and adjust it, if necessary, by adding limestone to raise the pH or sulfur to lower it.

Fertilization

Lavender is a relatively low-maintenance plant that doesn’t require heavy fertilization. It thrives in nutrient-poor soil, and excessive fertilization can actually inhibit flowering and fragrance production. If you opt to fertilize your potted lavender, use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer diluted to half-strength and apply it sparingly in spring and early summer.

By preparing a well-draining potting mix with the appropriate pH level and minimal fertilization, you can provide the optimal growing medium for your potted lavender.

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Planting The Lavender

Once you have selected the right pot, location, lavender variety, and prepared the potting mix, it’s time to plant your lavender. Follow these steps for successful planting:

Plant Selection

When purchasing lavender plants, choose healthy specimens with vibrant green foliage and no signs of disease or pest damage. Select a plant that is well-suited to your chosen variety and fits the pot size you have selected.

Removing The Plant From Its Nursery Container

Carefully remove the lavender plant from its nursery container by gently squeezing the sides to loosen the root ball. Avoid pulling the plant out by its stem to prevent damage to the delicate root system.

Loosening The Roots

Once the plant is removed from the nursery container, carefully loosen the roots with your fingers. This helps the roots grow into the new potting mix more easily and encourages healthy growth.

Planting

Place a layer of the prepared potting mix in the bottom of the pot, then position the lavender plant in the center of the pot. Fill in around the plant with the potting mix, gently firming it in place to remove any air pockets. Plant the lavender at the same depth it was in the original container.

Watering

After planting, thoroughly water the lavender to settle the soil and ensure good root-to-soil contact. Water the plant thoroughly, allowing excess water to drain from the bottom of the pot.

Mulching

Consider adding a layer of mulch around the base of the lavender plant to help retain moisture, moderate soil temperature, and suppress weed growth. Use a layer of organic mulch such as bark chips, straw, or pine needles, and maintain a 1-2 inch depth, keeping the mulch away from the stems of the plant to prevent issues such as rot or disease.

By following these planting steps, you can ensure a smooth transition for your lavender plant into its new pot and provide the best conditions for healthy growth.

Water And Care

Proper watering and maintenance are essential for the health and vitality of potted lavender. Follow these guidelines to care for your lavender plant:

Watering

Lavender prefers slightly drier conditions once established, so it’s important to allow the top inch of the potting mix to dry out between waterings. Water the plant deeply when the soil is dry, allowing excess water to drain from the bottom of the pot. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot and other issues.

Pruning

Regular pruning promotes bushier growth, prevents the plant from becoming woody, and encourages more prolific flowering. After the first flush of blooms has faded, trim back the spent flower stems, being careful not to cut into old wood. In spring, lightly prune the plant to remove any dead or leggy growth and shape the plant as desired.

Fertilization

As previously mentioned, lavender has modest fertilization needs. If you decide to fertilize, do so sparingly with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer diluted to half-strength. Apply the fertilizer in spring and early summer, being careful not to over-fertilize, which can lead to excessive foliage growth at the expense of flowers and fragrance.

Winter Care

In colder climates, lavenders in pots may need some protection during the winter months. If your lavender is in a location where temperatures drop below freezing, consider moving the pot to a sheltered area or covering it with frost cloth to protect it from harsh winter conditions.

By providing proper watering, pruning, and winter care, you can ensure the continued health and vibrancy of your potted lavender.

Planting lavender in a pot is a rewarding and enjoyable endeavor that can bring beauty, fragrance, and practical uses to your living space. By carefully selecting the right pot, choosing an ideal location, understanding different lavender varieties, preparing a suitable potting mix, and providing proper care, you can successfully cultivate healthy and flourishing lavender in a pot. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, adding lavender to your container garden is a wonderful way to enhance your surroundings and enjoy the many benefits this beloved herb has to offer.

Planting Lavender Seeds

Lavender is a beautiful and fragrant herb that is popularly used in landscaping and as a culinary ingredient. Its vibrant purple flowers and aromatic scent make it a popular choice for garden enthusiasts. While it can be grown directly in the ground, growing lavender in a pot offers several advantages. It allows for easy mobility, making it perfect for those with limited outdoor space or for those who want to bring the plant indoors during colder months.

  1. Choose the right pot: Lavender plants require well-draining soil to prevent the roots from becoming waterlogged. It is essential to select a pot with sufficient drainage holes to ensure excess water can escape. A clay or terracotta pot is ideal as it naturally absorbs excess moisture from the soil, preventing waterlogging.

  2. Prepare the potting mix: Lavender thrives in sandy soil that is low in organic matter. Create a suitable potting mix by combining equal parts of potting soil, coarse sand, and perlite or vermiculite to enhance drainage. Alternatively, you can purchase a well-draining potting mix specifically designed for succulents or cacti.

  3. Sow the seeds: Fill the pot with the prepared potting mix, leaving a small gap at the top. Sprinkle the lavender seeds evenly on the surface of the soil, gently pressing them into the soil. Avoid burying the seeds deeply, as lavender seeds require light to germinate.

  4. Provide bottom heat: Lavender seeds need warmth to germinate successfully. You can place the pot on a heating mat or on top of a warm surface, such as a refrigerator or radiator. Maintaining a temperature around 70°F (21°C) will encourage optimal germination.

  5. Cover the pot: To create a warm and humid environment for the seeds, cover the pot with a plastic wrap or place it inside a plastic bag. This will help to retain moisture and speed up the germination process. Make sure to poke a few holes in the plastic to allow for airflow.

  6. Keep the soil moist: While it’s important to provide the right amount of moisture, avoid overwatering as it may cause the seeds to rot. Check the soil regularly and mist it with water as needed to keep it consistently moist but not saturated.

  7. Germination period: Lavender seeds typically take around 2 to 3 weeks to germinate. However, it’s important to note that germination rates can vary, and some seeds may take longer to sprout. Be patient and continue to provide the necessary care during this period.

Caring For Lavender Seedlings

  1. Light and temperature requirements: Once the lavender seeds have germinated and sprouted, remove the plastic cover and place the pot in a location that receives full sunlight. Lavender thrives in bright light and requires a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day. Maintain a temperature range of 60-70°F (15-21°C) during the day and slightly cooler temperatures at night.

  2. Thin the seedlings: If multiple seedlings have sprouted in the pot, it’s important to thin them out to give each plant enough space to grow. Choose the strongest and healthiest seedling and gently remove the others, being careful not to disturb the roots of the remaining plant.

  3. Watering: Water the lavender seedlings when the top inch of the soil feels dry. Pour water directly onto the soil, avoiding wetting the foliage. Lavender plants are drought-tolerant once established; however, young seedlings require regular and consistent moisture to grow. Ensure that the pot has proper drainage to prevent waterlogging, as this can lead to root rot.

  4. Fertilization: Lavender plants do not require excessive fertilization. Use a balanced organic fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 formulation, or a slow-release fertilizer designed for herbs. Apply the fertilizer sparingly, following the instructions on the package. Over-fertilization can lead to excessive vegetative growth, reducing the plant’s overall health and fragrance.

  5. Pruning: As the young lavender seedlings grow, pinch off the topmost set of leaves to encourage bushier growth. This process, known as "pinching," helps the plant develop a fuller and more compact shape. Repeat this process every few months during the growing season.

  6. Hardening off: Before transplanting lavender seedlings outdoors, it is crucial to harden them off. Hardening off involves gradually acclimating the young plants to outdoor conditions. Start by placing the pots outdoors in a sheltered location for a few hours each day, gradually increasing the duration over a period of one to two weeks. This process will help the plants adjust to the fluctuating temperatures and stronger sunlight.

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Transplanting Lavender From Pots

  1. Choosing the right time: Once the lavender seedlings have grown to a suitable size, typically around 3 to 4 inches (7 to 10 cm) in height, they are ready to be transplanted into larger pots or directly into the ground. Transplanting is best done in the spring or early summer when the soil has warmed up and all frost risks have passed.

  2. Selecting the right pot size: If you choose to continue growing lavender in pots, consider moving the seedlings to larger containers. Select a pot that is at least 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter to allow sufficient room for the roots to expand. Ensure that the new pot has proper drainage holes.

  3. Removing the lavender seedling: Gently tap the pot’s sides to loosen the soil and roots. Carefully lift the seedling out of the pot, grasping the base of the stem, and avoid pulling on the foliage. If the roots appear compacted or tangled, tease them apart slightly to encourage outward growth.

  4. Preparing the new pot: Fill the new pot with a well-draining potting mix similar to the one used initially. Dig a hole in the center of the pot that is deep enough to accommodate the root ball of the lavender seedling without burying the stem.

  5. Transplanting the seedling: Place the lavender seedling into the hole, ensuring that the top of the root ball is level with the soil’s surface. Gently backfill the hole with soil, firming it around the seedling to provide stability. Water the newly transplanted plant thoroughly to settle the soil and eliminate any air pockets.

  6. Post-transplant care: After transplantation, place the lavender plant in a sunny location and continue to water it regularly, allowing the top few inches of soil to dry out between watering. Monitor the plant for any signs of stress or wilting and provide appropriate care as needed.

Watering Lavender Plants

  1. Watering frequency: Lavender plants prefer drier conditions and are susceptible to root rot if overwatered. Once established, lavender plants can tolerate short periods of drought but will benefit from regular irrigation during hot and dry periods. Water the plant deeply, ensuring that the water reaches the roots and saturates the soil.

  2. Watering techniques: To prevent water from collecting around the base of the plant, water the lavender at the soil level rather than overhead. Drip irrigation or a soaker hose is an effective way to water lavender plants, as it delivers water directly to the root zone while minimizing the risk of wetting the foliage.

  3. Watering tips: When watering lavender, it is essential to strike a balance between providing enough moisture and avoiding excessive watering. Before watering, check the soil moisture by inserting your finger into the soil up to the second knuckle. If it feels dry at this depth, it is an indication that the plant requires watering.

Providing Proper Drainage

  1. Choosing the right potting mix: Lavender plants thrive in well-draining soil that allows excess water to flow freely. When planting lavender in pots, it is crucial to select the right potting mix. Combine equal parts of potting soil, coarse sand, and perlite or vermiculite to enhance drainage. Alternatively, you can choose a commercially available well-draining potting mix designed specifically for succulents or cacti.

  2. Adding drainage materials: To further improve drainage, you can add a layer of gravel or small rocks to the bottom of the pot before adding the potting mix. This layer will prevent the soil from becoming compacted and help excess water to drain away.

  3. Adjusting watering practices: Overwatering is one of the common causes of root rot in lavender plants. To prevent waterlogging, adjust your watering practices to ensure the soil remains moderately moist rather than constantly wet. Check the soil moisture regularly and adjust the watering frequency accordingly.

By following these step-by-step instructions, you can successfully plant lavender in a pot and enjoy its beauty and fragrance throughout the year. Remember to choose a well-draining pot with suitable soil, provide adequate sunlight, and water the plant correctly. With proper care and attention, your lavender plant will thrive and bring beauty to your home or garden.

Plant Selection

Lavender is a beautiful and aromatic herb that is known for its vibrant purple flowers and soothing fragrance. While it is a popular choice for planting in gardens, it is also well-suited for growing in pots. Planting lavender in pots not only allows you to enjoy its beauty in smaller spaces, but it also enables you to control the soil conditions and ensure optimal growth.

Before planting lavender in a pot, it is important to choose the right variety that is suitable for container gardening. The most commonly grown lavender varieties for pots include English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas), and French lavender (Lavandula dentata). These varieties are compact, have smaller root systems, and tolerate the confined space of a pot.

Selecting A Pot

Selecting the right pot is crucial for the successful growth of lavender. Opt for a pot that is at least 12-16 inches in diameter and has drainage holes at the bottom. Lavender plants do not like wet feet, so good drainage is essential to prevent waterlogged soil that can cause root rot. Terracotta pots are a popular choice as they are porous and allow excess moisture to evaporate.

Soil Preparation

Lavender thrives in well-draining soil that is slightly alkaline with a pH level between 6.5 to 7.5. Prepare the potting soil by mixing equal parts of garden soil, sand, and peat moss or compost. This mixture will provide the necessary drainage while retaining some moisture for the plants. Avoid using heavy clay soil or dense potting mixes as they can lead to waterlogging and root rot.

Planting Process

  1. Fill the pot with the prepared soil mixture, leaving about an inch of space from the top.
  2. Gently tap the pot on a hard surface to settle the soil.
  3. Carefully remove the lavender plant from its nursery container. If the plant’s roots are tightly bound, use your fingers to loosen them slightly.
  4. Place the lavender plant in the center of the pot, making sure that the top of the root ball is level with or slightly above the soil surface.
  5. Fill the remaining space around the plant with the potting soil, gently firming it around the roots to provide stability.
  6. Water the newly planted lavender thoroughly until excess water drains out from the bottom of the pot.
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Fertilizing Lavender In Pots

To promote healthy growth and abundant flowering, it is essential to fertilize lavender plants in pots. Here are some tips for fertilizing lavender:

  • Timing: Start fertilizing lavender plants in early spring, just as they begin to emerge from dormancy. Avoid fertilizing in late summer or fall, as it can stimulate new growth that may not have enough time to harden off before winter.

  • Fertilizer Choice: Lavender plants prefer a balanced fertilizer with equal nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) ratios, such as a 10-10-10 or 14-14-14 formulation. Organic fertilizers like compost or well-rotted manure can also be used. Avoid high-nitrogen fertilizers as they can lead to excessive leaf growth at the expense of flowers.

  • Application Method: Apply the fertilizer according to the package instructions, typically once every four to six weeks during the growing season. Sprinkle the granules or dig them into the soil around the base of the plant, taking care not to touch the foliage.

  • Watering After Fertilizing: After applying the fertilizer, water the lavender plants thoroughly to ensure the nutrients reach the roots. Avoid overwatering, as lavender plants prefer slightly drier conditions.

Pruning Lavender For Healthy Growth

Pruning lavender is essential for maintaining its shape, promoting new growth, and preventing legginess. Proper pruning also increases airflow and reduces the risk of fungal diseases. Here are some guidelines for pruning lavender:

  • Timing: Prune lavender in early spring or late summer, after the plant has finished blooming. Avoid pruning lavender in late fall or winter, as it can promote new growth that is susceptible to cold damage.

  • Tools: Use sharp bypass pruners or hedge shears to prune lavender. Make clean cuts to minimize the risk of injury or infection.

  • Pruning Technique: Start by removing any dead or damaged branches, cutting them back to the base of the plant. Next, prune back the entire plant by about one-third of its height, taking care not to cut into the woody stems. Make the cuts just above a leaf node to encourage branching.

  • Shaping and Maintenance: If you want to maintain a compact and bushy shape, lightly prune the lavender throughout the growing season. Pinch back the tips of the new growth to promote branching and prevent legginess.

Dealing With Pests And Diseases

While lavender is generally a low-maintenance plant, it can still be susceptible to certain pests and diseases. Here are some common issues and their solutions:

  • Root Rot: Overwatering or poorly drained soil can cause root rot in lavender plants. To prevent this, ensure proper drainage and avoid overwatering. If root rot occurs, remove the affected plant and replant in fresh, well-draining soil.

  • Aphids: Aphids are small, sap-sucking insects that can distort and stunt lavender growth. To control aphids, spray the affected plants with a strong jet of water or use insecticidal soap. Ladybugs and lacewings are natural predators of aphids and can be introduced into the garden as a biological control.

  • Powdery Mildew: Powdery mildew is a common fungal disease that appears as a white, powdery coating on the leaves. To prevent powdery mildew, provide adequate air circulation by spacing the plants apart. If powdery mildew occurs, prune affected branches and spray the plants with a fungicide labeled for powdery mildew control.

  • Slugs and Snails: Slugs and snails can chew on lavender leaves and flowers, causing significant damage. To control them, use organic slug pellets, create barriers with crushed eggshells or diatomaceous earth, or handpick the pests in the evening when they are most active.

Harvesting And Using Lavender From Pots

Harvesting lavender not only allows you to enjoy its fragrance and beauty but also encourages new growth and enhances the plant’s overall health. Here’s how to harvest and use lavender:

  • Timing: Harvest lavender when the flowers are in full bloom but before they start to fade or turn brown. The best time to harvest is in the morning when the oils are the most concentrated.

  • Method: Cut the flower stems just above the leaves, leaving a small portion of the stem intact. Gather a small bunch of flowers and tie them together with a rubber band or twine. Hang the bunches upside down in a cool, dry location to dry. Once dry, gently remove the flowers from the stems and store them in airtight containers.

  • Uses: Dried lavender flowers can be used in various ways, such as making potpourri, sachets, herbal teas, or adding fragrance to homemade beauty products. The essential oil extracted from lavender can be used for aromatherapy, massage, or as an ingredient in skincare products.

Conclusion

Planting lavender in a pot allows you to enjoy the beauty and fragrance of this delightful herb, even in smaller spaces. By choosing the right pot, preparing the soil properly, and following the steps for planting, fertilizing, pruning, and dealing with pests and diseases, you can ensure the healthy growth of your lavender plants. Harvesting and using lavender from pots further enhances your gardening experience and provides you with a range of wonderful uses for this versatile herb.

FAQS

What Type Of Pot Is Best For Planting Lavender?

A terracotta or clay pot is ideal for growing lavender as it provides good drainage and allows the roots to breathe. However, any pot with drainage holes can be used as long as it is at least 12 inches in diameter.

What Kind Of Soil Should I Use For Planting Lavender?

Lavender thrives in well-draining soil that is slightly alkaline. You can mix equal parts of potting soil, sand, and perlite or vermiculite to create a well-draining mixture. Alternatively, you can purchase a pre-made cactus or succulent potting mix.

How Much Sunlight Does Lavender Need?

Lavender is a sun-loving plant and requires at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day. Place your pot in a south-facing window or on a sunny balcony or patio to ensure it receives enough sunlight.

When Should I Water My Potted Lavender Plant?

Lavender plants do not like to sit in wet soil, so it is important to water them only when the top inch of soil is dry. This is usually about once a week, but it can vary depending on the climate and pot size. It is better to underwater than overwater.

How Often Should I Fertilize My Potted Lavender?

Lavender does not require much fertilizer, as too much nitrogen can cause the plant to become leggy and produce fewer flowers. You can fertilize your potted lavender once a month during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer, or use a slow-release fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season. However, it is not necessary to fertilize in the first year of growth.