Dictionary of Flowers: Lavandula Species

There are many species of Lavender (Lavendula species). Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of Aneo and Flickr
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There are many species of Lavender (Lavendula species). Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of Aneo and Flickr

  • Lavandula Species
  • Common name: lavender
  • Family:  Lamiaceae
  • Category: perennial in USDA zones 5 to 10. Check species for hardiness
  • Height: 12" to 36"
  • Width: 12" to 36"
  • Sun
  • Blooms: early to midsummer
  • Attracts: bees, hummingbirds
  • Growth habit: erect, bushy. Used as a filler or thriller in container combinations
  • Maintenance: easy
  • Soil: average, sandy, alkaline, very well drained. Water regularly if grown in containers. Drought resistant
  • Garden uses: containers, mixed border, rockery, cottage garden
  • Diseases: root rot, viral diseases
  • Pests: pest resistant

Lavandula is a genus of woody perennials native to southern Europe.

The name lavender might be derived from the Latin lavare, to wash.

Several species are widely cultivated as ornamental garden plants. The foliage is gray-green, narrow and aromatic. Flowers appear on long stems above the foliage.

The small flowers, purple, white or pink (even yellow) appear on the end of the stems, grouped in whorls. The flowers are scented and the essential oils from the lavender plant are widely used for cosmetic and medicinal purposes.

Lavender is available for purchase at nurseries during spring and summer.

Lavender thrives on sunny, dry conditions. It grows best on lean soil, very well drained. Amend soil to improve drainage if needed to ensure that it drains fast. Clay soils are not appropriate to grow lavender.

Lavender does not need fertilizer application. Plant lavender plants in early spring and do not mulch. If mulching is desired, it's best to use rock mulch, as it helps keep the crown dry and avoid rot problems.

Prune lavender to shape in spring as needed and remove spent blossoms by cutting the stem down to the crown after bloom.

As the plants age, they might need to be pruned back severely to remove old woody growth and encourage fresh foliage growth.

IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

Lavender can be divided every three to five years or when the center of the plant starts showing decreased bloom, during early spring while still dormant. Dig plant out and cut outside divisions. Replant immediately. 

Lavender can be propagated by cuttings, either by softwood cuttings in spring or semi-ripe wood cuttings during summer. In both cases, apply rooting hormone, plant the cuttings in a mixture of sand/perlite and potting mix and keep humidity relatively high until they root.

Lavender can be sown from seed, either by wintersowing or indoors. If growing indoors, seed needs a period of cold stratification. Plant seeds one eight inch deep on moist growing starting mix and place pots in the refrigerator for three weeks.

Bring them out and place in a warm place, at around 70F. They can take up to a month to sprout. After seedlings emerge, place them in a bright spot with direct light and wait to transplant until they are at least two inches tall.




IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

Lavender diseases are directly related to the plant being grown in too wet soil or humid weather. If grown in proper conditions, lavender is very disease resistant. Correct soil drainage. Lavender is normally pest free and deer resistant.

Popular varieties:

  • Lavandula stoechas (Spanish lavender) - not as hardy as English lavender. Grey green foliage with purple blooms. One to three feet tall. 
  • Lavandula dentata (French lavender) - only hardy to zone 7. It has leaves with serrated edges. One to three feet tall. The scent is more medicinal and less sweet than English or Spanish lavenders
  • Lavandula angustifolia (English lavender) - Hardiest of species. Flowers can be white, pink or purple. Check individual varieties for color and height. Short varieties include 'Hidcote', 'Miss Katherine', 'Sarah', 'Munstead' and others
  • Lavandula hybrids (lavandula x intermedia) - crosses between l. angustifolia and l. latifolia and other species. They are also known as 'lavandins'. Provence and Grosso are the most easily available. They range in height between one and a half feet and three feet. Grosso is the most scented of all lavenders

IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

Click to see Hydrangea Dwarf Varieties
Click to see Lamium Maculatum (Dead Nettle)

Full List of Dictionary of Flowers Entries

Annuals For Containers

Perennials For Containers

Go from Lavandula Species (Lavender) to the Dictionary of Flowers

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