Description Lavender is a somewhat woody, perennial plant growing 1 foot to 3 feet tall and 2 to 4 feet wide. The many branches carry leaves that are about 1 to 2 inches long and have a pleasing gray-green color. The flowers are small and, depending on variety, range in color from white to dark purple. The flowers are borne on long-stemmed, slender spikes. There are about 90 known cultivars.
Partial Lavender Variety List.
Culture Lavender prefers lots of sun and well-drained soil is essential. The soil pH should be close to neutral, or slightly alkaline. (If your soil is more than slightly acid, lime will need to be added.) Being a Mediterranean native, lavender tolerates drought quite well, but needs some water through really dry periods, preferably to the roots rather than over their foliage. These are not particularly hungry plants, so need little or no fertilizer. Hardy zones 6-9.
Lavender can be propagated by seed and propagates well by cuttings. The plants need to be protected in areas where the winters are severe and growers in areas where the winters are severe are well advised to take cuttings of their favorite plants. You can always give the extras away, should the parent plant survive.
Harvesting Cut the whole flower spikes when the first flowers begin to open. Many crafts need the stems to be fresh and flexible, otherwise, dry.
Lavender (Lavandula sp.) should be pruned back immediately after bloom to keep the plant compact and neat. Older, woody plants may be cut back half way when new growth begins in spring, especially if it is in need of rejuvenation or to remove growth killed over the winter. Lavender plants can also be divided in the fall.
Use Lavender is one of the most popular and famous of all herbs for the fragrance of its dried flowers and the essential oils distilled from them. It is used in sachets and perfumes, and also in herbal crafts.