Lavandula lavender plant

(la-van' due-lah)

Common name: Lavender

Family: Lamiaceae, Mint

Height x width: 12-24" x 12-18"

Growth rate: moderate to slow

Foliage: opposite or whorled, usually entire, linear or lanceolate, white tomentose, square stems, arromatic

Flowers: lavender, purple or white, ¼-½" long in groups of 6-10 on spikes in midsummer; aromatic

Hardiness: perennial, zones 5-9

Soil: well-drained

Light: sun

Pests and problems: leaf spot, root rot, four-lined plant bug, caterpillars, root-knot nematode (few pests are serious problems)

Landscape habit, uses: edging, herb garden, pots, indoors.

Culinary--pick flower stems just as flowers open, pick leaves anytime; dry stems on open trays or by hanging in small bundles; add leaves or flowers to stews, to flavor jams, to make lavender vinegar, or to crystallize flowers

Household--dried flowers in sachets are used to scent drawers and repel moths; rub on skin and clothes or pin flowers on clothes to discourage flies; use dried as incense

Cosmetic--lavender water is used for delicate and sensitive skin to speed cell regeneration, for an antiseptic against acne, added to soaps, or in massage oil for muscle aches

Medicinal--a tea infusion is used for headaches and calming, especially in baths; oil is used for headaches (one drop on the temple), painkiller especially for insect bites

Aromatherapy--used in massage oil for calming, depression, throat infections and skin sores

Other interest: native to the Mediterranean; genus name from Latin lavare meaning to wash, refering to its use in baths by ancient Greeks and later Romans; used in Middle Ages as a "strewing" herb to mask household smells and stinking streets, and for insect-repellent properties; used in Renaissance medicinally for headache; oil of lavender is distilled from the flowers, mainly in France, with the best oil from angustifolia, medium quality from intermedia, and cheapest oil from latifolia.  Some references may also list oil from stoechas, but this plant is very neurotoxic, especially to babies, young children and pregnant women (highly abortive). Oils also are produced from a few fields in Norfolk, England; Quebec (Bleu Lavande), and the west coast of the US. 

Other culture: cut back in spring most of last year's growth; space 18" except 12" in low hedges; prune hedges and straggly plants in late summer

Propagation: seed (28,000 seeds per ounce) after 5 weeks cold stratification, stem cuttings in summer from non-flowering side shoots, clump division in fall


angustifolia (an-gus-ti-fol' ee-ah)(vera)--True/English Lavender, 2' tall, lilac flowers and silver leaves

canariensis (ca-nair-ee-en' siss)--Canary Island Lavender, fern-like large leaves with turpentine scent

dentata (den-tah' tah)--Spanish/Fringed Lavender, tender perennial, finely toothed leaves with strong resin odor, fragrant lavender flowerswith light purple bracts near top

heterophylla (het-er-o-phil' ah)--Sweet Lavender, fast growth, good fragrance, thought a hybrid of angustifolia and dentata

x intermedia (in-ter-mee' dee-ah)--Lavandin, angustifolia and latifolia hybrid, violet flowers, hybrid of important French commercial strains

lanata (la-nah' tah)--Wooly Lavender, tender perennial, long spikes of bright purple flowers, dense white woolly leaves scented of balsamic-lavender

latifolia (lat-i-fol' ee-ah)--Spike Lavender, silvery broad leaves, lavender flowers, 2' tall, camphor-like oil used mainly in soaps, high oil content

multifida (mul-ti-fi' dah)--Fernleaf Lavender, lacy deeply cut blue-green leaves, blue-violet flowers, pungent scent

stoechas (sto-ee' kas)--French Lavender, tender perennial, purple flowers with purple bracts above, gray-green downy leaves, camphor-rosemary scent


Cultivars, other taxa species flowers other
'Alba' angustifolia white  
'Alba' stoechas white  
'Blue Cushion' -- lavender-blue 15" tall mounded habit
var. candicans dentata light purple fuzzy gray leaves
Dutch group x intermedia blue sturdy, uniform, 18" tall
'Folgate' angustifolia purple-blue narrow, gray-green leaves
'Grappenhall' x intermedia lavender-blue long spikes, 2-3' tall
'Grosso' x intermedia violet strong scent, commercial cultivar
'Hidcote' angustifolia dark purple compact, silver leaves, slow
'Hidcote Giant' x intemedia dark purple to 4' tall
'Hidcote Pink' angustifolia light pink whitish buds
'Jean Davis' angustifolia pale pink compact, 10-12" tall
'Lavender Lady' angustifolia lavender 8-10" tall, early, AAS award
'Loddon Pink' angustifolia pale pink  
'Munstead' angustifolia lavender early, 12" tall, greenish leaves
'Nana Alba' angustifolia white, 1½-2" compact, silver-gray leaves
subsp. pedunculata stoechas magenta-pink purple bracts, gray-green leaves
'Provence' x intermedia lavender important commercially in Provence
'Rosea' angustifolia light pink 12" tall
'Royal Purple' angustifolia lavender long spikes
'Sawyer's' -- purple hardy, silver leaves, large spikes
'Seal' x intermedia pale lavender long spikes, 4' tall
'Sidonie' -- rich blue, 2-3' ferny leaves, Australian
'Swan River Pink' stoechas pink from W. Australia
'Twickle Purple' -- purple, 2-3" broad, gray-green leaves, compact
'Woodbridge Snow' -- white compact, from New Zealand
'Woodbridge White' -- lavender, white bicolor, compact

(Hidcote and foliage photos courtesy Missouri botanical gardens plantfinder)

©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS123 course.

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