Lavender

tracydr(9b)October 23, 2010

Are some lavenders more tasty and some not? My lavender has a sort of turpentine taste to it. I got it about a year ago from HD. When it flowers the flowers smell OK but not that great. When I bought it the label just said "lavender".

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sandhill_farms(10 NV)

If you post a picture of it I'm sure that someone will identify it for you.

Greg
Southern Nevada

    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 4:01AM
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tracydr(9b)

They are not in bloom right now. Do they need to be in bloom?
Does the fact that they survived an AZ summer in direct sun with almost no water help? I always thought lavender liked cool, wet areas like England and France.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 10:57AM
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ltcollins1949(9a TX)

There are different varieties of lavender. You might want to check out some of them here.

I know that this is a lot more about lavender than you requested, but I thought that you might be interested in this article about lavenders.

Regarding lavenders, English, French and Spanish, I have found that the Spanish works the best for me. It can take sunlight. However, my other lavenders are all growing in shade to dapple sunlight, and are doing fine. In fact, I have three that made it through our 6" snow at Christmas. Granted they are planted up near the house under the eaves, so they got just a little snow on them. But the temperature was below freezing for several days, and they still did just fine. And they are really growing with spring coming on.

Here is an article by Cindy Meredith that you might find interesting see Lavender:

Lavender varieties The word lavender, 'Lavandula', comes from the Latin "lavare" to wash..... the aroma is light, clean and refreshing. Greeks and Romans added lavender flowers to their baths as we use lavender oil or scented bath products today. Lavandula augustifolia, also known as true lavender or English lavender, has been the most economically important variety due to the fragrance and oils extracted. It is a plant of high altitudes and doesn't generally perform well in the humid regions of the south. All augustifolias are subject to Sudden Wilt our humid southern summers.

Spike Lavender or L. latifolia is normally a variety for low altitudes.... not so much used in perfume, but in "coarser vehicles" (as they are known in the cosmetic industry) such as soap. The aroma is more eucalyptus-like, not sweet like the true lavender. It does flower later in season and is hardy to Zone 7. It is not commonly sold as garden plants, though and is hard to find.

This next group include some of my favorites, L. Xintermedia , the lavandins or hybrid lavenders. These varieties are a cross between common, L. augustifolia and spike, L. latifolia varieties. They are easy to grow, and have been increasingly used as a substitute for both the others in cosmetics. The lavandins are resistant to Sudden Wilt, and perform well in the southern garden. They survive our southern winters as well, blooming in Spring. These varieties must be propagated by cuttings, as they do not come true from seed. Some of the common varieties are: Grosso---- a French introduction used for perfume. Provence---- a variety with grayish leaves, tall flower stalks that I like very much.

L. dentata is a fringed or toothed leaf lavender The leaves are pale green and the flowers are a soft lavender with showy bracts. This variety is not susceptible to Sudden Wilt, but is only hardy really in Zone 9 and 10. With a good mulch, it will over winter in the lower south.

L. hybrida is a cross between L. dentata and L. lanata (wooly lavender.) Goodwin Creek is a variety that has shown itself to do well in South and is popular here in Central Texas. It is winter hardy, too.

Spanish Lavender or L. stoechas is another one well suited to southern gardens. It has smaller dark purple/violet blooms. Very attractive and suited for Southern gardens. I have an established one in the garden that didn't even blink during our late cold snap and is blooming beautifully now.

L. multifida or fern leaf lavender grows in a very attractive open form with fern like leaves. It sports tall, very blue violet flowers all summer. It's not reliably winter hardy north of Zone 9, although with mulch I've had mine for several winters.

How to Grow

Now, for some growing tips. All lavenders need full sun and good drainage. Humidity is their enemy, so in the humid south use coarse, rocky soil to grow your lavenders and make sure there is good airflow around them. Mulching with gravel or rock will keep the surrounding environment drier and looks very good. The most important this is not to over water your plants. In fact, after they are established, give them no or very little supplemental water if they are growing in the ground. Even if you follow these tips, you could still lose lavenders after heavy spring rains. Don't despair, there are more plants to be had.

All lavenders do well in containers. They still need good drainage and do appreciate some afternoon shade. Allow the container to dry out between watering. If you do grow them in containers and can move them around, put them under shelter if you are in a very rainy period so the plants don't become so water logged.

The winter hardy varieties are really best planted in fall in the south so they can become very established before the next summer's heat and humidity. Although early spring plantings can be successful, too.

Until next time, from the garden notes of
Cindy Meredith, proprietor
The Herb Cottage

    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 4:38PM
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tracydr(9b)

The descriptions are very helpful. I'm in zone 9B and planted it in full sun. I would describe tHe smell as eucalyptus like so maybe it's the Spike lavender? The plant looks almost identical to my Rosemary with a slightly blueish tinge. It seems to be incredibly drought hardy, too.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 4:51PM
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Daisyduckworth(Aust)

The lavender you need for culinary and medicinal use is Lavandula angustifolia, the real English lavender. I think it's the best one for perfumery, too. The French/Spanish varieties have that camphor-y taste and smell which you describe as 'eucalyptus' - not nearly so nice for the nose or the palate.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 6:21PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Just a couple of points.

"I always thought lavender liked cool, wet areas like England and France." 'English Lavender' grows well in England and much of the UK but it is a native of the Mediterranean including the South of France. Southern France has a very different climate from England: think vinyards and olives as opposed to apples and lawns. It is certainly not cool and wet except in the short winter. This just goes to show the range of climates lavender will put up with.

The second point is the quote 'It is a plant of high altitudes.' This is just plain misleading, I'm afraid. While lavender does grow on dry rocky hillsides it thrives right down to sea level around the Med.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 4:05AM
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tracydr(9b)

This has all been so helpful. I think I will just use my lavender for a landscape ornament.
Will English lavender survive in Phoenix? I do have lots of shade if that helps.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 11:17AM
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Daisyduckworth(Aust)

Lavender needs sun sun sun. Lots of sun. HOT sun. The more sun the better.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 4:50PM
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pembroke(6--Louisville KY)

Sooooo, I'm looking for lavender that the honey bees love. Anouk French or English Lavender(common)??? Thanks for all the above info. very interesting.I live just South of Louisville KY. Pembroke

    Bookmark   November 11, 2010 at 1:55PM
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