Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Growing Lavender in the Philippines

We've heard from a lot of people about growing Lavender in the Philippines. They tell us a lot of stories about how they themselves or their friends tried making the plant survive here in the country, and ultimately giving up on it. Why try? Because Lavender is such an amazing plant. Aside from the fact that it is one of the most well-known and widely used flower in the world (it surpassed roses a long time ago because of price and availability), real Lavender is but a delight to the senses. And because we dream of being able to grow our own Lavender, we are also trying.

Any species of Lavender doesn't thrive naturally in the tropics, but they can, as proven by a handful few. Cultivating them here in the country, will definitely be an uphill climb because the odds are bigger than the chances. The plant doesn't like being soaked frequently, loves a cool climate, thrives well under a good amount of sun and a dozen other factors that nags everyone to drop the idea and find other things to grow. But we'd like to try swimming against the current.

To build our confidence, we bought ourselves a 4 or 6 month old seedling of English Lavender (Lavandula Officinalis) to check our green thumbs. That was 2 months ago. Here she is now:

People seem to have understood the needs of Lavender because where we bought the seedling, they potted the plant on a high drainage potting medium which the plant seemed to be enjoying. Seeing it grow and mature in the past 60 days has been kind of a roller coaster ride. There are times when the leaves would be uptight and proud, such a happy sight. There are times when its leaves will droop low, and we'd get concerned. But now, she's going good. Her major stem is turning woody, the leaves are proliferating and the shoots are continually appearing. Whenever we pluck the damaged or drying out leaves, crushing it on our fingers releases a delightful fragrance, assuring us its going to be alright.

So we decided to take it to the next level: growing Lavender from seeds. We tried the English Lavender Munstead variant, and out of the about 200 seeds we planted, about 15 sprouted. However, because of the unpredictable weather in the past weeks and a lot of other factors, it went down to 3 yesterday and as of checking a while ago, one more wilted out. So here's one of the survivors:

All of these are just very small trials, as we are dreaming of growing a lot of Lavender locally and getting extracts or essential oils. By the looks of it, seems like we have a long, long way to go in improving the survival success of the plant. If it won't thrive well in a more or less controlled environment, how will it fare on a more hostile environment out in a field? Indeed, it takes a lot of patience, but once flowers will bloom, it will definitely be a statement it was worth all the effort.