Lavender – a popular herb and essential oil

Lavender is one of the ‘herbs de provence,’ or herbs of France where it is mainly grown for distilling into essential oil.
Lavender likes soil that has a neutral to alkaline ph, so the best ph level is between 6.5 and 8.5. The soil should be well draining and the plants grow best in full sun with good air circulation.
The plants prefer soil that is more sandy but will tolerate a wide range of soil conditions. It is critical to have good drainage.
Lavender does best grown from cuttings rather than seed. Lavender has tiny seeds with slow growing seedlings that can get easily choked by weeds.

These seeds are best started indoors or on a warm west or south-facing windowsill. Lavender (along with rosemary) are two of the most difficult herbs to grow from seeds. They are slow to germinate over a period of several weeks requiring lots of patience.
So it’s best to propagate from cuttings once you have a mother plant. One way to do this by bending down a small branch and covering the bottom part of the branch with dirt.
It will send down roots and the new plant can be separated from the mother plant once it’s established.
Another way is to take small cuttings from the mother plant and put them in water until small roots start to form. Then you can transplant it into pots or directly into the garden in spring or fall.

Lavender in Landscapes

Lavender is being used a lot more in landscapes nowadays. Depending on the climate, lavender is grown in landscapes for grocery stores, banks, businesses or even gas stations.
Several types of lavender may be grown along with other plants or the landscape may feature more of Spanish lavender (the ones with the little ‘bunny’ ears petals) as this type blooms all summer long.
The gray green foliage of lavender and its purple blooms contrasts well with other plants often used in landscaping.
It works well in theme gardens for a Mediterranean theme or for those who like an old English country garden theme.

For a Mediterranean theme, consider growing lavender along with rosemary and basil, classic urns, statues and fountains, bay or scented geraniums and grapevines along fences.
For an old English country garden, growing lavender along with flowers like cosmos, fragrant geranium and roses is popular. Also consider using ornaments like a birdbath, wrought iron and a sun dial or gazing ball.

This chapter is an excerpt from the book, Lavender Love Affair. Get your copy today.

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