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Blooming Plants

Lavandula spp. (la-VAN-dew-lah)


Lavender plants will grow to about 2 feet tall. They are grown mostly for their fragrant, lilac-colored flowers and silver leaves, which have been used for perfumes, bathing, cosmetics, foods and medicines for centuries. They have small florets that grow in dense, spiked clusters on stems that are 16 to 20 inches long.

Lavender flowers come in hues of blue, purple, violet and white.

Each bloom cycle can last several weeks, and the plants can bloom several times a year with proper care and favorable conditions. The plants can survive for years, depending on the environment.

Here are some popular species of Lavandula. • L. angustifolia (an-gus-ti-fol-ee-ah), English lavender:
• L. canariensis (ca-nair-ee-en-siss), Canary Island lavender; a subspecies of L. multifida (Fernleaf lavender)
• L. dentata (den-tah-tah), French lavender
• L. heterophylla (het-er-o-phil-ah), Sweet lavender
• L. x intermedia (in-ter-mee-dee-ah), Hybrid lavender; cross of angustifolia and latifolia
• L. lanata (la-nah-tah), Woolly lavender
• L. latifolia (lat-i-fol-ee-ah), Spike lavender
• L. stoechas (sto-ee-kas), Spanish lavender availability Lavender plants are available mostly in the late spring through summer. Order in advance to ensure product availability.

LIGHT Bright, indirect light is best for plants displayed indoors. Full sun is tolerated outdoors.
WATER Keep the soil moist at all times. Avoid standing, irregular and overhead watering. Overwatering can cause root rot.
TEMPERATURE Warm areas, 65 F to 75 F, are best for displaying the plants. Store them above 55 F, and do not refrigerate them. Sudden drops in temperature may result in wilt and blossom drop.
HUMIDITY Moderate humidity is ideal.
FERTILIZER Feed the plants every three weeks during the growing season with a moderate concentration of high phosphorus or bloom fertilizer.
SOIL Lavender plants do best in fertile, moist and well-drained soils. The soil pH should be close to neutral or slightly alkaline.
GROOMING Cut lavender plants back when they have finished flowering. Older, woody plants can be cut back halfway when new growth begins in spring.
TOXICITY These plants are said to damage nerve tissue and should kept away from babies, young children, pregnant women and nursing mothers.

ETHYLENE SENSITIVITY Lavender plants are sensitive to ethylene gas. Make sure your plants have been treated with an anti-ethylene agent at the grower level or during transportation.
BLOOMS Remove faded florets on the stems. Don’t accept plants that show signs of wilt, rot, mold or yellowing.
PESTS Lavender plants can suffer from leaf spot, root rot, fourlined plant bugs, caterpillars and root-knot nematodes. However, few pests are serious problems.

MEANING The name “lavender” has its root in the Latin word “lavare” or “lavo,” which means “to wash,” in reference to lavender’s use since ancient times to make perfumes and scented soaps.
FAMILY Lavandula is a member of the Lamiaceae, or mint, family. Common relatives include sage, coleus, rosemary, thyme, oregano and the mints. Lavandula includes more than 30 species, dozens of subspecies, and hundreds of hybrids and cultivars.
ORIGINS Lavender plants are native to the Mediterranean region.

Some information provided by:
The Chain of Life NetworkÆ,
Repetto Nursery, Half Moon Bay, Calif.

You may reach “Blooming Plant of the Month” writer Steven W. Brown, AIFD, at or by phone at (415) 239-3140.

Images courtesy of The John Henry Company

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