Encyclopedia of Houseplants

Scent Your Kitchen the Natural Way: How to Grow Lavender Indoors

updated Oct 20, 2022
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Credit: Amelia Lawrence/Apartment Therapy

Looking for a houseplant that will give back? Why not try lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)? Lavender calms you when you’re stressed and provides a stellar flavor profile in desserts and cocktails. What do you have to lose?

Lavender is native to Europe and the Mediterranean, but it can be grown in a variety of different zones and climates. It isn’t a traditional houseplant, but that doesn’t mean you can’t succeed. With enough love and attention, you’ll have a thriving, delicious-smelling lavender plant growing in your home before you know it.  

Pro tip: The biggest problem you’ll find when growing lavender indoors is light. Lavender needs hot, bright light to produce the beautiful foliage and scented blooms that everyone knows and loves. If you don’t have enough natural light, try investing in grow lights.

The dos of growing lavender indoors

Credit: Amelia Lawrence/Apartment Therapy
  • Give your plant as much sunlight as you can. A south-facing window is a prime option.
  • Pot in quick-draining soil. Lavender thrives in a well-draining, rocky medium. Try supplementing traditional potting soil with limestone.
  • Try your hand at a smaller variety. There are many to choose from—we recommend giving French lavender a try!
Credit: Amelia Lawrence/Apartment Therapy
  • Give your plant time to acclimate to your home, especially if it has spent a long time outside.
Credit: Amelia Lawrence/Apartment Therapy
  • Add alkaline to your soil. Crush up eggshells and mix them in with the top of the soil once a month. You can also try adding a small amount of lime to the mix.
Credit: Amelia Lawrence/Apartment Therapy
  • Plant your lavender in a terra cotta pot. Quick-drying terra cotta helps create that Mediterranean environment.
  • Rotate the pot every time you water. This ensures even growth from all angles.

The don’ts of growing lavender indoors

  • Overwater. Lavender plants struggle to bounce back once they’re waterlogged. Less is more!
  • Roast your lavender plant in the winter. Yes, lavender loves heat—just not heat blasting from an air exchange in the colder months. The plant will survive in a cooler room and be ready to push new growth in the spring.
Credit: Amelia Lawrence/Apartment Therapy
  • Forget to do your research. Some varieties of lavender, like “Lady” and “Munstead,” are more suited for culinary use. The sweeter the lavender, the better it’s going to taste.
Credit: Amelia Lawrence/Apartment Therapy
  • Water over the top of the plant. Pour the water directly onto the soil. Splashing water over the foliage of the plant could lead to mold and pest infestations.
  • Let your pets consume a large amount of lavender. While the ASPCA flags all species of lavender as mildly toxic to cats and dogs, there is conflicting information to be found. The Nest reports that lavender is non-toxic to animals, but ingesting it could still cause mild gastrointestinal upset.