Lavender

 

Lavender

Lavandula angustifolia

Lavenders are members of the Lamiaceae, or mint family. These evergreen, aromatic shrubs are native to the Mediterranean region, where they have been used in the perfume industry for centuries. There are around 25 species and most have attractive, grey-green foliage and spikes of fragrant, mauve/purple flowers.

Lavender is native to the Mediterranean  where it grows in sunny, stony habitats.Today, it flourishes throughout southern Europe, Australia, and the United States.

Habit 

A small evergreen shrub, it is good for beds and borders, containers and as dwarf hedging.  Lavender is a heavily branched short shrub. Its broad root stock bears woody branches with erect, rod-like, leafy, green shoots. A silvery down covers the  grey-green narrow leaves, which are oblong and tapered, attached directly at the base, and curled spirally.  

Flower/Fruit 

Annual trimming is important to prevent leggy and untidy growth, but with this  minimal attention plants grow into fine specimens, with very fragrant blooms on long stems. Prune hard each year and dust the soil with lime in autumn. We strongly advise against pruning lavender during the spring.

Soil Type 

Sandy, well-drained/light is best.  Add some dolomite when planting.  Lavender is  hardy, herbaceous, evergreen plant that can thrive under a wide range of soil and climatic conditions but it prefers a neutral to alkaline soil of pH 7-7.5.

Watering

Lavender will tolerate drought once the roots are established in the ground. There may be a need to drip feed or irrigate young plants if there is a dry spell, but this is not necessary under normal climatic weather patterns. In very dry regions there may be a need to irrigate for the first year until the roots do become fully developed. It is essential that lavenders have good drainage.

Position

Full sun.  It is essential for Lavenders to be in full sun and are not planted near eucalyptus trees or any other oil-producing plants as this can interfere with the  quality of the oil.  

Fertilising 

The fertiliser requirements of lavender will depend on the total soil analysis, but it does not need much fertiliser. Potash enhances good floral blooms. Fertilise in the spring.

Pests/Diseases

The spittle bug (Philaenus spumarius) may be detected, usually in the spring, as small areas of spittle on the stem of the plant. A small green insect can be found in the spittle but these do little damage and usually can be ignored.  The alfalfa mosaic virus can cause yellow patches on leaves but it will not destroy the plant and aphid control can be  investigated if required.