Common Name: Lavender
Exposure: Full Sun
Lavender is a sun loving, evergreen, perennial, aromatic shrub that
ideal for planting in a rock garden, in front of a shrub garden, in a
perennial garden, or used as a hedge. Gorgeously fragrant,
invigorating, and rich with healing properties, lavender has been
cultivated from the beginning of recorded civilization. The
word 'lavender' is thought to have derived from the Latin word
lavare meaning to wash since the Romans had a habit a perfuming their
baths with Lavender. The flowers grow in fragrant spikes and come in
colours ranging from deep purple and lilac to white, cream, pink, sky
blue, red-violet and even green.
The genus Lavendula consists of over 30 species of small shrubs or
herbs. Lavender belongs to the Labiatae (Lamiaceae) family of mints
(Menita spp.), Sages (Salvia spp.) and Thymes (Thymus spp.) a
botanical grouping that are distinguished by their characteristic
Hardy, bushy varieties such as Munstead, Hidcote and English Lavender
(L. Augustifolia) are suited to hot summer conditions and can
generally survive cold winters temperatures around 10 degrees
centigrade or lower if kept dry over winter.
The French (L. Dentata) and Spanish (L Stoechas) are not quite as
hardy and do well in a sunny corner or against a warm wall and make
an excellent container plant.
Lavender likes a soil that is slightly alkaline soil with a pH factor
between 6.0 and 8.0 so adjust your soil if necessary. The soil should
be well worked and well drained as lavender will not tolerate wet
feet for for any length of time. Heavy clay soils can be improved by
raising the beds and adding compost and humus. Mixing a little bone
meal into the soil below the roots (but not touching the roots)
before planting will slowly release organics into the soil and
promote root and leaf growth.
How to Grow Lavender
Young plants can be purchased from garden centres or with a little
patience the home gardener can grow from seed or cultivate from
Depending on the variety, seed can be sown in spring either sown in
seed trays and left outside for a few weeks for an early start, or
sown directly into the soil about two weeks before the last frost if
it is a variety that requires cold to start the germination process.
Take tip cuttings 5-10cm in length in spring from a main stem that
has new growth from a well established plant. Cuttings can set root
in water or use a rooting hormone and plant cuttings directly into a
sterile potting mix.
Lavender can be planted at almost any time from spring to autumn. The
best time to plant is in the early morning or evening, or on an
Gently knock the plant from its pot, spread the roots and place plant
in a hole that accommodates the root spread and fill with soil. Press
around the plant firmly making sure the plant well supported. A
little mulch around the plant can help maintain soil moisture while
the plant is getting established in its new home. Water the newly
transplanted lavender with a liquid fertilizer to give it a good
start. If the stems are long enough gently prune and this will start
the stems branching.
Keeping your plant in shape will help to prevent your plant from
spending itself and dying out. Prune lavender to 2/3 it's size after
flowering has finished and well before cold weather to allow the new
growth to "harden".
Jill is the owner of Netwrite-Publish Home and Garden. For more home
and garden ideas log on to http://www.netwrite-publish.com
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