Lavender ( L.angustifolia )
There are over 40 varieties of lavender but it is mostly the Spanish, French, and English lavender that is found around the Washington area, both in the wild and in cultivation. They bloom from late Spring onwards to Fall or beginning of frost, as they prosper when they get at least 8 hours of sunlight a day.
While the English lavender tends to have long and slender flowers, the Spanish and French lavender have flowers that are shorter and rounder. At the same time, the flowers of the English lavender are more lilac in color while that of the Spanish and French lavender come in dark purple. Not all lavenders are purple as hybrids can be seen in violet-blue, rose, pale pink, white, and even yellow.
A hardy plant that is native to the Mediterranean, lavenders can flourish under poor soil circumstances. Lavender plants are known to survive droughts as they don’t need water. Hence, you should grow lavenders near drought-tolerant plants such as the coneflower, sedum, black-eyed Susan, roses, and Shasta daisies.
In areas where there is more rain however, it might be better to grow the French and Spanish lavender as they are known to be most tolerant of moist conditions. Adult lavender plants grow to at least 3 feet.
Lavenders, with their lovely scent, are often grown for oil in the use of aromatherapy. The oil from the lavender plant is thought to help encourage calmness and wellness as well as reduce stress, anxiety, and even mild pain. When used on the skin, lavender oil has shown results in helping with eczema, acne, sunburns, and diaper rash.
For a more practical daily purpose, lavender is great for encouraging butterflies and bees, wonderful to help pollinate your other flowers. The purple flowers are great for tea and the leaves, dried, and mixed with other herbs for seasoning your dishes.
Regardless of what you use your lavender plants for, it is a lovely addition to a garden, both for sight and scent.
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