Lavender received its name, Lavandula, from the Latin verb “to wash,” and was used as a form of aromatherapy by both Greeks and Romans to scent soaps and bathwater. Lavender water made from the essential oil was, as it is today, commonly used in therapeutic baths as a perfume and to calm. The aromatic properties of the lavender plants make it popular in lotions, creams and fragrant sachets.
Plant Type: Perennial
Lavender is native to the mountainous zones of the Mediterranean where it grows in sunny, stony habitats. Today, it flourishes throughout southern Europe, Australia, and the United States.
English Lavender is a many-branched, somewhat woody, perennial plant growing 1 ½ to 3 feet tall. The narrow leaves are about 2 inches long and have a pleasing gray-green color. The small bluish-purple flowers are borne on long-stemmed, slender spikes that rise up above the foliage.
USDA Planting Zones: Zones 6 to 9
Soil Type: Light, well drained, even somewhat rocky with a pH between 6.5 to 7.5
Starting Lavender from Seeds would seem to be the most natural, simplest and most inexpensive method of propagating Lavender, but things aren't always as they seem. Though many Lavenders can be started from seeds, it is the Lavandula angustifolias such as Hidicote, Vera and Mustead Lavender that are readily available.
Lavender plant breeding was lax in preceding years, and Lavenders cross-pollinate easily. For this reason lavender plants grown from seed tend to vary in height, width and shades of color.
Lavender Seeds have a short shelf life so germination rates are notoriously low. Lavender seeds are also slow to germinate and the seedlings are slow to mature. This means in may be several months before your Lavender seedlings grown from seed are ready to transplant to your herb garden.
Growing Lavender Plant: Lavender is native to the mountains of the Northern Mediterranean region. For this reason Lavender flourishes in sunny, well drained, even rocky areas of your herb garden. If winters are severe, the plants should be mulched for protection.
Lavender should be harvested as soon as possible after the dew has evaporated from the leaves and before the buds are fully open. Harvesting the Lavender Flowers: Cut whole flower spikes when the first flowers begin to open.
Bunch the stems in small batches and hang with cut ends up in a warm, dry location out of direct sunlight. Another option is to hang the bunches of Lavender inside of a paper bag. This will catch any leaves or buds that may fall during the drying process.
Store Lavender in airtight glass containers and place the containers in a cool, dark location.
Lavender is one of the most famous of all herbs for the fragrance of its dried flowers and the lavender oil distilled from them. It is used most often in sachets and perfumes. Among essential oils it is well-loved for its delicate scent and as an excellent herbal remedy.
Lavender essential oils is well-loved for the delicate scent but is also considered an excellent remedy for stings and burns. It can help heal cuts and has traditionally been used to treat coughs, colds, chest infections and as an infusion or steam inhalation. Lavender is also used as the essential oil in aromatherapy, is a great relaxer.
Lavender essential oil has sedative properties that make it useful in calming anxiety or tension. Lavender, and a few drops of lavender essential oil in a massage oil helps relax muscles. A warm herbal tea can be used as a compress for relieving chest congestion and as an infusion to ease nervous headaches.