The English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), with its aromatic leaves and sweetly fragrant flower spikes, is often considered an herb. But it is actually an herbaceous perennial with a semi-woody growth habit. It's often grown to dry its leaves and flowers to make sachets and potpourri, and for its oils used in sleep aromatherapy. It is also an attractive garden plant with vibrant purple flowers appearing in late spring to early summer.
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AttributesType: Perennial, Herb
Height: 12 in - 36 in
Spread: 24 in - 48 in
Light: Full Sun
Zone: 5 - 8
Pet Safe: Toxic
CareGeneral Maintenance: Remove faded flower stalks to promote continued bloom. You can prune to shape in spring after new stems and leaves appear. A light pruning again in late summer or early fall before the first frost encourages good air circulation, which guards against rot. You can also dry English lavender that you have pruned to make your own sachets and potpourris. To do this, harvest the flowers just as they open and then hang bunches upside down by the stems to dry in a cool dark room with plenty of ventilation.
Temperature: These plants grow best in conditions that are warm but not oppressively hot. They prefer relatively dry climates and respond poorly to high humidity.
Light: Grow English lavender in full sun. Shady locations usually cause the plant to become leggy produce fewer blooms. In very hot climates, though, the plants respond well to some shade in the heat of the afternoon.
Watering: Young plants should be watered once every other day for the first week. Once established, they are quite drought-tolerant and don't like too much water, which could inhibit their ability to bloom. Water mature plants about once per week or so based on your climate, increasing the frequency to about every four days after flower buds form to promote a healthy harvest.
Soil: English lavender must be planted in a relatively sandy or gritty but very well-draining soil. Very humusy, damp soils frequently cause root rot. Strive for a soil similar to its native Mediterranean region, where the soil is dry and infertile. Adding organic material to the soil is not only unnecessary but might cause problems.
Fertilizer: Feeding is usually not necessary with English lavender. Fertilizing English lavender may inhibit its ability to flower.
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