Lavandula (common name lavender) is a genus of 47 known flowering plant species in Lamiaceae, the mint family. It is native to the Old World and is found from Cape Verde and the Canary Islands, from Europe to northern and eastern Africa, from the Mediterranean to southeastern India.
Lavender is both a perennial flower and a very useful herb. Even though, lavender is not officially classified as an herb it is used both in the medicine and in the kitchen. It is believed that the lavender oil has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties which can help heal minor burns and bug bites. Lavender is used to helping relieve pain from headaches, sprains, restlessness, insomnia, toothaches, and sores, in addition to helping with digestive problems. It may also be used for hair loss prevention.
Lavender flowers are most commonly used in dessert recipes, but as you progress with lavender cooking, you will discover it is also an excellent addition to savory recipes. Like rosemary, lavender can add to roasted meats a robust flavor and is particularly good with lamb.
The English word lavender is generally thought to originate from Old French lavandre, essentially from the Latin lavare (to wash), referring to the use of plant infusions. The botanical name Lavandula as used by Linnaeus is known to derive from this and other European plant vernacular names. It is suggested, however, that this explanation may be apocryphal and that the name may be derived from Latin livere, "blueish."
Preparation for planning lavender
For vigorous growth, Blue Spear requires full sun so choose a place in the garden that has 8 to 12 hours of sun per day. On hot summer days, however, shade in the afternoon is beneficial.
Choose the site carefully to plant your lavender, bearing in mind the plant size at maturity. Be sure to allow space for sufficient air circulation around the plants. Allow each mature plant to have at least 30 cm (11 inch) between each other.
Work the soil until it is loose and soft. Lavender does not grow well in compressed soil. Add some gardener's sand, if necessary, to improve drainage. Do not use beach sand, since it contains traces of salt that will destroy lavender’s roots. Lavender blooms in a rather alkaline soil - pH of 6.0-8.3 is the best option.
How to grow lavender
Lavender germinates more consistently if in the autumn seed are collected and sown on the surface of a seed tray with bottom heat maintenance of 4-10 °C (40-50 °F). The seedlings are then overwintered with good ventilation in a cool greenhouse or cold frame. You can then pot the seedlings on as needed.
Another method is to plant the seeds indoors in February, using sterilized seed mix. Plant a few seeds in a few pots buy pressing the seeds into the surface on the mixture. Then, insert the pots into plastic bags and place them for 2 to 7 days in your freezer. Let them warm alone to room temperature, then use bottom heat as mentioned above for the seeds to start the germination process.
The seeds are barely covered, as they germinate in moist soil in 14-21 days. Do not use a plastic cover or cap, as this will make the soil surface too wet. When watering you need to do it from below. If germination after 3-4 weeks is low, lower the temperature for 2 weeks to 5-10 °C (40-50 °F), then increase it again.
Plant lavender outdoors
In spring do the direct sowing by removing the lavender plants or plugs, and spread the root mass gently. It is recommended to plant no later than two months before the first hard frost, in order to allow the plants to settle in.
Transplant lavender to the same depth in the soil as when potted. Prune the new seedlings carefully. A bit of trim would promote the branching of stems and carrying forward fresh growth. You will find that this improves the shape of the plant when it matures and makes it bushier.
Caring for lavender
Once established, our Blue Spear is drought tolerant but will produce more flowers if you water them frequently. Lavender performs best if you water it 2 to 3 times per week. Good drainage is necessary because lavender plants will wither and die in soggy, wet soil.
Fertilization is not required in most soils. If the soil is too rich, plants will produce more leaves than flowers.
Most lavender varieties are susceptible to root rot and leaf spots. They may not withstand winter temperatures unless the soil is well-drained and covered with an isolating snow cover.
How to harvest lavender
The best time to harvest our Blue Spear is when the buds have formed on the plant but the flowers have not yet opened. Most lavender varieties flower from early June till August. Plan lavender harvesting on a sunny day in late morning to avoid trapping moisture from dew or rainfall. Harvest when flowers first bloom to capture all of the essential aromatic oils. Have in mind that the heat can cause evaporation of the oils.
How to dry lavender
Remember to trim it in uniform bunches when you are harvesting lavender. Using a twist tie or rubber band to keep the bundles from coming loose as they contract during the drying process. Hang the lavender upside down in a warm, dark place to prevent flower color from fading.
You can also dry lavender in open trays. Your lavender will dry in a couple of weeks.
How to store lavender
Place your fully dried lavender flower buds into zip lock bags, or airtight containers, and store them away from light, heat, and moisture to maintain their scent, color, and to prevent mold and rot.
Dried lavender should usually maintain its lovely scent for a season.
Lavender companion plants
Companion plants, which will help the growth of your lavender are basil, mint, rosemary, and thyme. We also observed that it will help your Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and celery will benefit from having lavender as their garden neighbors.
Having Lavandula in your garden will attack the so desired pollinators such as bees and butterflies that love its heady, sweet fragrance.
Remember lavender is a natural moth, slugs, and deer repellant. Any plants suffering from these plagues will benefit from having a nearby lavender plant. Particularly fruit trees, which can be severely hit by moths, tend to do much better when surrounded by lavender bushes.
- Planting seasonFebruary to early March (indoors)
- Number of seeds3 to 4 seeds in each pot
- Depth0.5 cm (1/4 inch)
- Days to maturity14-21 days to germination
- Row spacing60 cm (24 inch)
- In-row spacing25 cm (10 inch) apart
- Sunlight8-12 hours of full sun
- Watering2-3 times per week
- Harvesting8 to 15 weeks
- PlantOrganic Lavender
- Planted on
- First seedlings date
- First harvest date