First lavender flowers

First lavender (Lavandin) flowers

Our Hemizygia ‘Candy Kisses’ plant died during the scorching summer last year and I replaced it with  lavender. The plant grew very fast and had started to flower, but it was very untidy with long sprawling branches. So early this morning I decided to prune it to make it rounded and compact. Lavender bush will flower better if it regularly pruned and it will grow into a nice rounded mound.

There are only few stems of flowers, but there is a big bundle of cut leaves. The aromatic flowers and foliage can be used as air freshener or can be used to make aromatic candles, soap and perfume. The flowers of true lavender flowers (commonly English Lavender) in a small quantity can be used for cooking and can also be used to make aromatic tea that is relaxing. Lavender has medicinal properties, especially the flowers, can be used  as a relaxant, sensory stimulant and nerve tonic, and herbalists use it to treat exhaustion, digestion, headaches and arthritis.

Lavender Tea:

  • 3 table spoons of fresh lavender flowers or 1 1/2 tbs. of the dry one (preferably English lavender _L.angustifolia)
  • 2 cups of boiling water
  • Steep the brew for about 5 minutes and then strain.
  • The tea can be served with honey and lemon.

Growing lavender:

  • Lavender plants will do the best with a soil pH of between 6 – 8.
  • Lavender likes an alkaline soil that is well drained and in a sunny position
    (8 hrs of sunshine a day is recommended).
  • If you have heavier soils then making a raised bed would be an option.
  • As lavender will grow better in poor soil, it hardly needs any fertilizer. Very little amount of fertilizer is needed for plants grown in pots. Manure will burn the plant.
  • Most lavender plants can survive a light frost.
  • Plants should be spaced approx. 40 – 80cm apart, depending on what variety of lavender is being planted.
  • Regular watering is needed for seedling and young plants, after the plant is established will only need occasional watering during hot and dry summer.

LAVANDIN – Lavender Hybrid – Lavandula x Intermedia:

Note about our Lavender plant: When I bought the plant in the market, there was no label and the seller said it was Lavender.  It is a bit confusing to find out what kind of lavender it is. After reading many articles on line and matching the photos, I have a feeling that it is Lavender hybrid which is also known as Lavandin and it has higher content of camphor compared to other true lavenders. As the camphor content is high, for cooking or making tea, it is recommended to use only ‘true lavender’ flower such as English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia).

Lavandin is also called Dutch Lavender, and it is  a natural hybrid between Lavandula angustifolia and L. Latifolia. The seeds are sterile and propagation is by cuttings.

Further reading: http://www.mountainvalleygrowers.com/lavendercareandtips.htm

Untidy Lavender Plant

Untidy Lavender/Lavandin Plant

Lavender after Pruning

…. after Pruning

Lavender - Cut Leaves

Lavender hybrid – Cut Leaves, good to dry and used as freshener for wardrobes.

Lavender 2