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Characteristics of Lavenders

 

 

Lavandula Angustifolia

Lavandula AngustifoliaThis species is the most valued of all lavenders both for its’ high quality oil the flowers produce and its beauty as a garden plant.

Its unbeatable scent means that it is widely used in perfumes and cosmetic products, while its medicinal properties have been long known.

It is the hardiest and easiest to grow of all lavender species and can cope with everything that the English weather can throw at it.

It makes an excellent ornamental plant for use in rose gardens,herb gardens, hedging and is outstanding when planted in association with other garden plants.

Growing hints

Lavender angustifolia needs a sunny position with free draining soil, it prefers a neutral to alkaline soil.

Prune the bushes as soon as the flowers start to fade and by the middle of August at the latest.

Origins

Native to the Pyrenees in Southern France, North Eastern Spain, Northern Italy and Switzerland.

Lavandula X Intermedia (LAVANDIN)

Lavandula X Intermedia (LAVANDIN)These lavenders are a cross ( Hybrid) between Lavandula angustifolia and Lavandula latifolia. This is where the name intermedia comes from as in between.

They are typically much larger and more robust in growth tha L. angustifolia, often reaching over 4ft in height and width. They are wonderful to fill larger spaces in gardens or for creating large flowering hedges.

They have broader leaves than L. angustifolia and have much longer flowering stalks making up to 2/3 rds of the plants height. The long stems make them suitable for use in the house as a cut flower.

Lavandula x intermedia varieties are grown in the lavender fields at Norfolk Lavender for oil production. They produce much larger quantities of oil than L. angustifolia sometimes as much as 10 times more. Unfortunately the oil is not of the same quality, it has a stronger camphor tone, and is mainly used in detergents, soaps and cheaper perfumes.

Origins

Where the parent plants overlapped mainly in South East France.

Growing hints

Prune back the flower stalks to the main foliage as soon as the flowers fade, no later than mid September.

Lavandula X Chaytorae

Lavandula X ChaytoraeThis is a cross ( hybrid) between L. angustifolia and L. lanata. The cross did not occur in the wild as the natural distribution of the parents did not overlap. The cross was first made in a nursery in the UK in the 1980's since then further crosses have been made and we now have a few cultivars.

L. x chaytorae makes an excellent and attractive ornamental for the garden, containers and hedging. It retains the hardiness of the L. angustifolia parent yet has the wonderful attractive richly silver grey leaves from the L. lanata parent.

They look particularly effective in a garden when planted in association with other plants of complementary foliage providing interest at times of the year when there are no flowers present.

We find that the silver foliage works very well with gold or burgundy/ purple leaves from plants such as Choisysa ‘Sundance’ with its’ wonderful bright golden leaves and Cotinus ‘Royal Purple’ with the deep purple leaves which as an added bonus turn a brilliant red in the autumn.

Origins

Not naturally occurring, found in a nursery in the UK in the 1980's.

Growing hints

Prune as the flowers fade no later than the end of August.

Lavandula Stoechas (THE FRENCH LAVENDERS)

Lavandula Stoechas (THE FRENCH LAVENDERS)These stunning vibrant lavenders have become more and more popular. They are instantly with ‘ears’ at the top of the flowers. The ‘ears’ are really bracts which is a modified leaf which looks like a petal, the flowers are really under the ears on the rest of the ‘flower head’.

They have sweetly scented flowers but usually this is masked by the strong camphor smell from the foliage. If you remove the individual flower heads as they finish flowering they will often flower from early May through to September, often into October.

There are masses of these stunning plants which are lovely planted in groups of 3’s and 5’s and mix excellently with other plants.

Origins

Naturally occurring around the Mediterranean, with many cultivars being developed by nurseries.

Growing hints

Dead head the plants regularly after the individual heads finish flowering to ensure repeat flowering.

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