Lavandula angustifolia is thought to be the true English Lavender. Also called True Lavender or Fine Lavender, it is thought to be the best Lavender for medicinal and aromatherapy purposes. This evergreen is a staple plant for the herb garden, the fragrant flowers have been used in perfumes, poultices and potpourris for centuries. Lavender is an excellent plant for low informal hedging and as a specimen evergreen for borders and formal gardens. The plants grow to about 45 to 60cm (18 to 24in) tall and flowering is generally begins from mid to late June to early July. The flowers have a rich sweet scent and are highly attractive to bees and other beneficial insects. The plants tolerate acid soil but favours neutral to alkaline soils. They are drought resistant and cold hardy and remain attractive well into winter. For best effect plant it by doors and paths, where it's delightful scent can be fully appreciated.
Sowing: Late winter to late spring (February to April) or sow in late summer to autumn (August to Oct) Lavender can be sown at anytime of year but prefers the ground temperature to be around 13 to 18°C (55 to 65°F). Sow seed on the surface of a well drained, seed compost in pots or trays. Cover seed with a light sprinkling of compost or vermiculite. Keep at a temperature of between 15 to 20°C (59 to 68°F). Germination in 21 to 90 days. When large enough to handle, transplant seedlings into 7.5cm (3in) pots. Acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10 to 15 days before planting out after all risk of frost, 45cm (18in) apart. For best results, provide any ordinary, well-drained soil in full sun.
Cultivation: Lavenders do best in moderately fertile, well-drained, alkaline soils in full sun. Once established they thrive on poor, dry, stony soils, but do not tolerate water logging. In poorly-drained soils plant on a mound or, in the case of hedging, on a ridge which will keep the base of the plants out of saturated soil. On heavier soils consider adding large quantities of gravel to improve drainage. It will grow in slightly acid soils. Adequate spacing is essential to provide good air circulation. For informal plantings allow up to 90cm (36in). Where grown as a hedge, plant about 30cm (12in) apart or 45cm (18in) apart for taller cultivars. Prune back to encourage bushy growth. Although lavenders are drought-tolerant, they need watering until established. Avoid high-nitrogen fertilisers. Lavenders grow well in containers but are deep rooted and need large pots with a diameter of 30 to 45cm (12 to 18in). Use a loam-based compost such as John Innes No. 3 with added coarse grit for drainage and a controlled-release fertiliser. Plants will need regular watering in summer, but should be kept on the dry side over winter.
Pruning: Lavenders should be pruned every year to keep them in a tidy shrub form. Pruning or trimming should be done each year in late summer, as soon as the blooms have faded, so that the bushes have time to make a little new growth before winter. On established plants use secateurs to remove flower stalks and about 2.5cm (1in) of the current year’s growth, making sure that some green growth remains. Hard pruning is sometimes done in April, but this means the loss of a season’s flowers.
Cut Flowers: Harvesting Lavender is one of the most enjoyable pleasures any gardener can have. Lavender flower heads look grey before the flowers open. Cut lavender stems when the lowest blossom opens. Make the cut slightly above the first set of leaves leaving a stem length suitable for a vase or whatever flower arrangement you choose. The colour will be more vivid when dried. Cut the flower stems during the cool of the morning after the dew has dried. The fragrance is the strongest then, and the blossoms will keep most of the perfume oils present, even when dried. Keep cutting blooming stems to encourage more growth. Plants can be harvested from the second year and can flower up to three times during a summer. The plants can remain productive for up to 30 years.
Dried Flowers: Dried lavender flowers are traditionally used for filling sachets and for placing amongst linen. The dried flower can be simply placed inside drawers or closets repels moths and it makes your clothes small great. The most widely cultivated species Lavandula angustifolia and its cultivars are best for dried flower purposes because the flowers persist on the stems when dry, whereas Lavandin cultivars are easily separated from the stem and are better suited for essential oil and potpourri purposes. Lavender is harvested by hand, harvesting should begin when the first few florets are open. The flower stalks are cut just under the first pair of leaves. Flowers for oil production are harvested when at about 50% blooming. Essential oils are accumulated in the flowers and flower stalks. Tie the stems in small bunches and hang upside down in a warm dark place for the deepest colour and to prevent them from bending. More essential oils will be retained, too. Use a dark, dry, airy room for fast drying. Lavender is 70 to 80% water and takes 7 to 14 days for the flowers to completely dry.
Plant Uses: Banks and Slopes, City/Courtyard Gardens, Coastal, Cottage/Informal Garden, Drought Resistant, Flowers Borders and Beds, Garden Edging, Gravel Garden, Mediterranean, Patio/Container Plants, Rock Garden or Wildlife Gardens. Aromatherapy, Culinary uses, Companion Plant and Insect repellent.
Companion Planting: The scent of lavender repels fleas and moths can protect nearby plants from insects such as whitefly. While flowering it nourishes many nectar feeding and beneficial insects. Lavender planted under and near to fruit trees can deter codling moth.
As an Insecticide: Simply planting lavender within your garden works as a natural insecticide, simply because of its fragrance, which insects despise. Planting lavender around plants that are prone to insect infestation helps keep bugs at bay. Dried lavender flowers are traditionally used for filling sachets and for placing amongst linen. The dried flower can be simply placed inside drawers or closets repels moths and it makes your clothes small great.
Other Uses: Lavender is a popular herb for the garden it is prized for both its fragrance and its colour. Lavender is popular amongst beekeepers and produces a delicately scented honey. The flowers are rich in essential oil which is obtained by distillation. Lavender oil is used extensively in perfumery, Roses and Lavender, with a little mint and some lemon juice to activate the alkaloids can make both a brilliant pink dye and very tasty pink lemonade.
Origin: The genus Lavandula consists of about 39 species native to the Atlantic Islands, India, the Mediterranean region, Middle East, North Africa and West Africa. Because the cultivated forms are planted in gardens worldwide, they are occasionally found growing wild as garden escapes, well beyond their natural range.
Nomenclature: Lavender gets its name from the Latin word lavare, which means to wash. In ancient times, Romans used the aromatic herb to scent their bathwater. The species name angustifolia means 'having narrow foliage'. Lavandula angustifolia is commonly called Lavender vera but was formerly known as Lavandula officinalis. When Linnaeus invented the binomial system of nomenclature, he gave the specific name 'officinalis' to plants (and sometimes animals) with an established medicinal, culinary, or other use. The word officinalis is derived from the Latin officina meaning a storeroom (of a monastery) for medicines and necessaries. It literally means 'of or belonging in an officina', and that it was officially recognised as a medicinal herb. It conjures up images of a storeroom where apothecaries and herbalists stored their herbs. The common names widely used for some of the species, 'English lavender', 'French lavender' and 'Spanish lavender' are all imprecisely applied. 'English lavender' is commonly used for L. angustifolia, though some references say the proper term is 'Old English Lavender', though it is not native to England. The name 'French lavender' may be used to refer to either L. stoechas or to L. dentata, while 'Spanish lavender' may be used to refer to L. stoechas, L. lanata or L. dentata.
|Packet Size||200 Seeds|
|Average Seed Count||No|
|Common Name||English Lavender, Fine Lavender|
|Other Common Names||No|
|Flowers||Mid to late Spring|
|Natural Flower Time||No|
|Height||30-45cm (12-18in) can grow to 1m if not pruned|
|Time to Harvest||No|
|Position||Prefers Full Sun, Sheltered|
|Soil||Well-drained/light, Chalky/alkaline, Dry, Sandy|
|Time to Sow||No|
|Germination||21 – 90 Days|
|Notes||Herb, Evergreen Shrub. (Hardy)|