All About Lavender
Why Grow Lavender?
Lavender is a hardy, aromatic shrub used in the fragrance, specialty food and alternative medicine industries. The plant originated in the area around the Mediterranean in poor, rocky soils and mild coastal areas and is now grown in similar climates around the world. The Greeks and Romans used it for aromatic and medicinal purposes and valued it highly as a rare spice. Lavender became highly popular in Victorian times and is enjoying a resurgence as modern herbal medicine has found the herb’s calming properties indispensable in the manufacture of antiseptics, muscle soothers, aromatherapy and massage oils. Unlike other herbs and flowers, lavender has the unique quality of conjuring memories of days gone by, of the scent of a grandmother’s house, of sweet-smelling lingerie drawers and of comforting bubble baths. People like to plant it by the entryways of their beachside homes and take cuttings for fresh flower arrangements for their tables. Lavender is a culinary herb and shares the family Labiatae with other aromatic herbs such as thyme, rosemary, mint and sage. The smell of lavender is enhanced when blended with citrus scents, spices like cinnamon and cloves and flowers such as chamomile, roses and calendula when used in potpourri and craft items.
Planting and Maintenance Instructions
Lavender is very easy to grow in and around Delmarva because of its favorable Zone 7 climate and soil. The only way to kill the plant is by over-watering or planting it in a shady spot that tends to hold moisture. Remember lavender is native to the Mediterranean and prefers dry, sunny, windy and southern exposures best. Therefore, when planting, place in a sunny location with well-drained, neutral to alkaline soil (7.0 to 8.0). Add a little lime if the soil is too acidic. The sandy loam of Delmarva is the ideal soil. If you are planting in clay or richer soil, mix in about one-third builders sand to insure drainage. We recommend mounding up the soil a little around the plant to further assure good drainage. Although not necessary, adding a little bone meal when planting will give it a good start. Never fertilize lavender and plant it at least 24 inches apart to allow for adequate air circulation and growth. Although weeds don’t bother it, it does not like those that hold water around its roots. Lavender is a drought-tolerant plant, but good irrigation or adequate rainfall is important for new plants and good flower production. The best time to plant your lavender is in the early May or early September. Lavender has few if any insect pests and few fungal illnesses as long as it’s roots do not sit in water. Prune lavender plants yearly in either the early spring or late fall after flowering to maintain their shape and keep the plant from becoming woody and sprawling. Prune plants by cutting about one-third of the plant. Lavender is a long-lived perennial and with minimal care and pruning, a typical productive life is 10-20 years.
Types of Lavender
Height and girth of lavender can range from dwarf to giant, flower color from white to pink and every shade of purple, foliage color from light gray to green. Mature plants range in height from 12-32 inches, in shape from spherical to bushy to spreading, and in leaf color from silver gray to green. Although we currently grow over twenty varieties of lavender our most popular selling plants fall into two categories: English Lavender (Lavandula Augustifolia)
Munstead – Lilac pink to mauve pink flowers, very fragrant, blooms twice annually (early spring and late summer). Hardy, compact, bushy, dense, mid-green foliage.
Hidcote – Mid-blue to dark lavender flowers, spicy, fragrant. Green-gray foliage, more compact flower heads, bushy density and evenly covered with spikes.
Lavender Intermedia (a hybrid of English and the more hardy lavenders)
Grosso – Beautiful dark lavender flowers. Grows to 36 inches tall and is the main lavender used for oil production in France. A very versatile, hardy plant, good for landscaping, oil, flowers and crafts.
Provence - Grows to 36 inches tall. Mauve to violet flowers, very fragrant, long flower spikes, large heads. Aroma powerful and sweet. Blooms in mid-June to July. Good for fresh flower arrangements, sachets.
Come Visit Us
Lavender Fields Farm is an historic, five-acre lavender farm located on the scenic Delmarva Peninsula. We sell live plants, dried bouquets, culinary items, soaps, lotions, sachets and unique craft items. For directions and more information please call us at (302) 684-1514. We are located at 18864 Cool Spring Road, Milton, Delaware.