Lavender

Lavandula spp.

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Lavandula is a genus of aromatic evergreen shrubs and subshrubs commonly known as Lavender, that naturally occur in dry, exposed, sunny habitats in many parts of the world. Their leaves are usually narrow, toothed or lobed, some silvery-green. Small white, purple or pink tubular flowers (some very intricate) form on dense spikes in summer. Lavender is very attractive to pollinators. Many species are well-known to gardeners and hundreds of cultivars have been developed. Some plants such as Lavandula angustifolia (English Lavender) have long been cultivated as garden herbs for their pleasant aroma and essential oils. Lavender plants are well suited to dry, poor or moderately fertile soil, and are often planted in sunny borders and rock gardens, or as low growing hedge/edging. Most are tender and won't cope with freezing temperatures, half-hardy varieties need to be planted in a warm, sheltered position. When planted in heavier clay soils, lavenders tend to develop woody bases and are often shorter-lived than those planted in chalky, alkaline soils with good drainage.

Planning

Difficulty

Moderate

Flowering time

Summer

Propagation

Cuttings

Softwood or semi-ripe cuttings from young specimens in early summer. Hardwood cuttings may be taken from new growth following flowering, in late autumn.

Seed

Seed may be collected after flowering, wait for the seedheads to dry out. Germination takes up to 3 months, they require warm temperatures (18-21 degrees Celsius) so may be better germinated indoors. Note many cultivars will not come true from seed.

Special features

Attractive flowers

Attracts useful insects

Attracts bees

Attracts butterflies

Drought resistant

Once estblished, lavender is fairly drought-tolerent.

Hedge plant

Environment

Light

Full Sun

Soil moisture

Dry

Soil type

Sand, Loam, Gravel, Chalk

Soil PH preference

Neutral, Alkaline, Acid

Frost hardiness

Tender

Uses

Notes

To dry, hang bunches of herbs upside down in a dry ventilated area.

Personality

Family

Lamiaceae

Flower colour

Pink, Purple, White

Scent

Strong

Problems

Lavandula are natural repellents of many pest species but some species may be susceptible to Rosemary beetle, sage and Ligurian leafhoppers. Lavender is prone to ill-health when watered too much, such as root rot and leaf spot. Both can be prevented by letting the lavender bush dry out slightly in between watering. Attack by fungal pathogens is more likely if there is an abundance of water, usually from planting in a poorly draining soil mixture.

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