Lavender is an all around blessing. This plant has a sweet, soothing scent with the power to calm and heal. Native to the Northern Mediterranean area, this magnificent herb transforms the hillsides as it blooms to a pale bluish-purple. Lavender is cultivated throughout the world today. It has been prized as a perfume since ancient days. Lavender also has uses in bath additives and teas from the flowers or the pure essential oils. Some of the most common uses for aromatherapy are lavender eye pillows and massage therapy. Through Pinch of Comfort’s experience, the calming herb helps reduce stress and alleviate anger. Other healing qualities and attributes include relieving tension, insomnia, aiding in digestion, healing burns, and soothing coughs.
We enjoy four main cultivares of this plant.
Lavender – Lavendula
Hardy to half-hardy aromatic, evergreen shrubs grown mainly for their highly scented flowers which are attractive to bees and butterflies. Both the leaves and flower heads may be dried and used in arrangements or potpourri. This grows best in moderately fertile soil in full sun.
Lavender Augustifolia “Hidcote”
Hardy shrubs of compact habitat with thin blue-green leaves and intense violet-blue flowers that blooms mid to late summer and grows to 2 x 1.5 feet.
Lavender Intermedia “Grappenhall”
A hardy, clump-forming shrub with aromatic, hairy, blue-green leaves. Spikes of pale purple flowers are produced in the summer and the plant grows to 3 x 5 feet.
Lavender Stoechas “French Lavender”
A hardy to frost hardy shrub of compact habitat with gray-green leaves over which are carried deep purple flower heads on short stems. Blooms late spring to summer. L.s.f leucantha has white flowers and grows 2 x 2 feet.
The best times to plant are from April to June; be sure to compost early spring and plant in full sun. Lavender loves well-drained, loosened soil and does not tolerate weeds or water build-up. Applying a one-inch layer of stone on top of the soil helps to alleviate this issue. Pests or disease seldom affect lavender, but root rot may occur if the soil is too moist. To improve air circulation, remove dead growth and stems in early to mid-spring and shorten the previous year’s stems to 2-4” from base to rejuvenate. Cutting into old wood may cause the plant to die. Do not crowd the herb with other plants, as the foliage will die back in shaded gardens.
Lavender has been used for centuries and is valued for its flowers and pure essential oil. It gets its name from the Latin word “lavare” meaning to wash and “livendulo” meaning bluish. It is an easy plant to grown as long as you understand it’s growing techniques, planting times, and care. Relaxing amidst the soothing aroma is one of the herbs many healing qualities and visual enjoyment.