Lavender or Lavandula is actually a genus of about 39 species of flowering plants, which belong to the mint family. The plants of this genus are cherished for the heavenly smell of their flowers. These flowering plants are native to the regions of North and East Africa, Southern Europe, India, Canary Islands, and the Mediterranean regions. Some lavender species are herbaceous plants, while a few are considered shrubs and subshrubs.
It is also known as common or English lavender, and its scientific name is Lavandula angustifolia. It is an evergreen, but slow-growing perennial plant, that usually reaches a height of 3 feet with a short and slightly crooked stem.
The leaves are usually narrow and gray-green to blue-green in color, while the flowers are barrel-shaped and they come in an array of colors, right from purple and pink, to lilac, pale purple, and white. It is a hardy plant and is resistant to drought. The sweet and floral scent of the flowers make them ideal for making perfumes and sachets. This flowering plant can be grown in the USDA hardiness zones 5 through 8.
The scientific name of this plant is Lavandula stoechas, and is basically used for decorative purposes. This plant can reach a height of 1 to 3 feet. The leaves are serrated and green in color. The pine cone-shaped blossoms appear in late spring to summer. The flowers feature dark purple-colored bracts that somewhat resemble the ears of a rabbit. It can be grown in the USDA plant hardiness zones 8 through 9.
The scientific name of this plant is Lavandula latifolia, and it looks very similar to English lavender. The only difference is that its leaves are broader than the English lavender, and it has branched flower stalks. It can give about 3 times more essential oil than true lavender, though this oil is not highly valued. The essential oil extracted from this plant is said to possess an aroma that can be described as a combination of both eucalyptus and lavender oil. This oil is mainly used in insect repellents, soaps, disinfectants, and room sprays.
It is a small plant that can be mainly found in the Mediterranean regions and Northern Africa. The plant usually reaches a height of not more than 2 feet. The flowers are deep purple in color and are cone-shaped. The highly aromatic flowers of this plant can be distinguished by their upright petals.
Lavandin is a hybrid of the true and spike lavender. It is also known by the name of Dutch lavender. Lavandin is a hardy, but slow-growing evergreen plant. It produces vibrant flowers from early midsummer, which are mainly used for decorative purposes, and for herbal crafts and potpourris. The blossoms can be white, pale purple, or pink in color. The flowers, as well as the leaves of this plant are highly fragrant. The plant yields more oil as compared to the common or true lavender, and this oil possesses a strong fragrance. This oil is used in a number of products, including massage oils, toiletries, perfumes, and many other household products.
If you are considering to grow lavender in your garden, then first of all try to find out the type that is suitable for growing in the climatic conditions of your area. The next important step is to select a planting location that receives sunlight for at least 7 to 8 hours a day. The plants can be grown both from the seeds, as well as from the seedlings. They prefer well-drained and slightly alkaline soil.
These plants require minimal watering, especially once they establish firmly to the ground. However, the young plants should be watered at regular intervals. The mature plants should also be watered regularly in extremely dry conditions. You can apply a layer of sand around the base of the plant to promote heat retention. This helps promote the production of better blooms.
Lavender plants are widely used for landscaping and gardening, mainly for their beautiful and fragrant blossoms. They are suitable to be grown in a rock garden or they can be used for creating low hedges and borders. Apart from these, the flowers can be used in salads and for cooking. The flower spikes can be excellent for dried flower arrangement, and also for making sachets.