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
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
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.
IN-STORE AND CONSUMER CARE
LIGHT Bright, indirect light
is best for plants displayed indoors. Full sun is tolerated
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
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.
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
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
firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (415) 239-3140.
Images courtesy of The John Henry Company
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