Lavandula angustifolia (common name lavender) is a class of 47 known species of flowering plants in the mint family (Lamiaceae). Lavender dates back about 2,500 years and is believed to have originated from the Mediterranean, Middle East, Canary Islands and Africa. There are numerous uses due to its unique beauty and lovely floral scent and may also be used to repel pest insects.
The rich scent of lavender is not only pleasantly intoxicating – it can have an immensely positive effect on your overall mood and health. Are you interested in learning about the many different lavender varieties out there as well as how to successfully grow them yourself? Perhaps you are in search of more information regarding the creation of organic lavender products? Either way, here is everything that you need to know.
The Different Lavender Varieties
There are roughly about 450 varieties of lavender, however, these varieties also have the potential to mix. This mixing has led to the creation of around 50 other varieties and cultivars around the world. Below is a basic break-down of the five primary lavender varieties and their characteristics.
French Lavender (Lavandula Dentata)
French lavender, also known as fringed lavender, tends to grow up to three feet tall and is most commonly used in landscaping and dry flower production. The dry French lavender flowers are often used in arts and crafts or for aromatic decoration in the interior of a home. French lavender is a drought tolerant, deer-resistant species is more delicate in smell and color than other lavenders and its blooms last the longest out of any type of lavender.
English Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia)
The richly fragrant English lavender actually originated in the Mediterranean area. Similar to French lavender, it can reach heights of up to three feet and is often seen in the creation of hedges and walkways. English lavender flowers are pom-pom shaped and very dense and it’s popping light purple in color. Due to its powerful scent, it is this variety of lavender that is most frequently used to produce essential oils and potpourri. Usually regarded as one of the most magnificent strains of lavender, the plant blooms in mid to late spring and it attracts many butterflies and bees.
Spanish Lavender (Lavandula Stoechas)
This type of lavender grows predominately in warmer climates and only tends to grow to a maximum of two feet in length. Its flowers’ appearance is the most distinctive and is often said to resemble tiny little rabbit heads and its flowering season is Spring-Summer. It is the least fragrant of all the primary lavender varieties and is mainly employed for decoration and landscaping. This plant is drought resistant and only requires occasional watering.
Portuguese Lavender (Lavandula Latifola)
Also known as spike lavender, the scent of Portuguese lavender is even more intense than that of English lavender. Its flowers are often cut and dried and used to add scent to various products. This lavender is also commonly used in culinary dishes and drinks. The leaves are sweetly fragrant and attract butterflies and bees. Portuguese lavender can reach a height of between one and three feet.
Egyptian Lavender (Lavandula Multifida)
Egyptian lavender grows prominently in the western regions of the Mediterranean and is also highly aromatic. This lavender is also known as a fern-leaf lavender due to its furry bipinnate leaves and normally has a different smell and is less sweet than others It’s pretty pale flowers only bloom in spring and summer, and it is a lavender variety that is most commonly used in landscaping.
The plant can be ignored once established as long as the lavender is planted in well-drained soil and has plenty of room to grow. It can grow up to three feet tall and it flowers blossom in late spring
How to Grow Lavender at Home
The good news is that despite there being so many different varieties of lavender, they all require the same approach to care when it comes to growing and maintaining them in your garden at home. The only thing to take note of is that Spanish lavender is the most demanding of lavender varieties to grow at home. It requires a more acidic soil and requires regular repotting due to its dense, fibrous roots.
All of the lavender varieties require full sun in the garden in order to thrive. So, whether you plant them in the garden or a pot, ensure that they see plenty of sunshine every single day.
Soil that drains well is an essential part of growing lavender successfully. Add compost to lighten ordinary garden soil, and be sure to use a well-draining potting mix if planting in pots. Lavender in pots will also require compost during the springtime for optimal growth.
Lavender requires lots of water when growing. Most gardening experts recommend watering every second day until new plants are established. Thereafter, you can move to watering around one to two times per week if it was planted in the garden. Lavender that has been planted in pots will always need to be watered every second day.
An important thing to note about watering lavender is that it is best to avoid wetting the foliage.
Lavender requires regular pruning up until the plant starts to flower. Once the flowers begin to appear, you can cut back the pruning by a third. Lavender varieties that consistently have flowers throughout the year can simply be trimmed when they begin to look untidy.
If you intend to harvest your lavender stems, the best time to do so is when around half of the flower buds have opened. The oils of the plant are at their most concentrated in the morning, so the stems will be at their most aromatic at this time. Maintain as much of the powerful scent as possible by cutting the stems long and storing them in bundles with the help of a rubber band. Place them in a cool, dark, well-ventilated place and leave them plenty of time to dry. Consider turning them into aromatic sachets or potpourri. Both make for a wonderful gift!
Here are a few general tips to keep in mind when planting and growing your own lavender:
Placement is Important
If you opt to plant your lavender in the garden soil, placement is of the utmost importance. Planting lavender too close together can lead to fungal disease, which can ultimately kill the plant in just a few weeks. The general rule of thumb is to plant compact varieties a minimum of 17 inches (45 cm) apart and larger varieties a minimum of 35 inches (90 cm). This extra space will allow for plenty of airflow.
Plant in Spring
Lavender is generally best planted in the spring. Avoid planting close to winter as young plants will often struggle to survive.
You can add mulch to flower beds if you notice that weeds are becoming a problem around your lavender. Winter mulch is a must to keep roots warm when temperatures start to drop.
If you do not have the time or the patience necessary in order to grow your own lavender, you should opt to shop online at Sonoma Lavender Co. We specialize in the sale of dried lavender products, botanicals, and other organic lavender products. Our range includes bath and body essentials (such as lavender essential oil for the bath, lavender bath salts, and lavender bubble bath), sachets and lavender-scented gifts, spa robes, fragrant stuffed animals, home accents, and heated spa products. All of the items available on our website boast the irresistible fragrance of lavender, helping to calm and uplift your spirits the natural way.
For more information, do not hesitate to contact our team.