How to care for a lavender tree

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The lavender tree (Heteropyxis natalensis) is a deciduous tree native to South Africa. It has glossy, deep green leaves that give off a scent similar to that of the herb lavender when damaged. Small, greenish-yellow flowers are produced from December until March, and while not very impressive in appearance, they have a quite pleasant fragrance. In autumn, the foliage turns a deep red shade, adding additional interest to the garden. The lavender tree grows from 9 to 12 metres tall and does best when planted in full sun.

Pull up all weeds and grass from the planting site. Cultivate the soil, using a garden fork, to a depth of 45 to 60 cm.

Dig a hole the same depth and twice the width of the lavender tree's root-ball. Plant the tree at the same level it was growing previously. Water deeply enough to moisten the soil all the way to the root-ball.

Add 8 to 12 cm of organic mulch, keeping it 12 to 15 cm from the tree's trunk.

Water when the top layer of soil is dry throughout the first growing season. Once established, the lavender tree will only need to be watered during very dry conditions.

Prune to the preferred shape and size in early autumn, as the lavender tree grows quickly and may become too large for available space if not kept in check.

Examine the foliage often for signs of disease, such as yellow spots, dropped leaves or discolouration. Treat promptly with fungicide if you suspect a problem.

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