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Herbaceous plant, perennial, evergreen, native to the Mediterranean basin. It has silvery leaves, very fragrant, narrow and elongated; in summer it produces many flowers, small and fragrant, grouped in spikes. Most varieties are resistant to cold and are used in the garden, as hedges or to form large bushes. If desired, it can be cultivated in large pots, bearing in mind that it is a fast-growing plant, which also grows up to one meter or more. The most common varieties are Lavanda angustifolia, also known as English lavender, very fragrant and with small flower spikes; Toothed lavender, with light flowers and resinous odor; Lavender wool, with white leaves covered with down and very large flower spikes.
It is a rustic plant, which resists the heat of the most torrid summer and the cold of a more rigid winter, although in cases of intense and persistent frost it is good to repair it with non-woven fabric. It enjoys particularly sunny and very well ventilated positions. Being a Mediterranean plant, lavender is particularly resistant to environments characterized by a dry climate and high temperatures.
|Family and gender|
Fam. Labiatae, gen lavandula with more than 25 species
|Type of plant and growth habit||Shrub in general evergreen|
|Rusticitа||Rustic or semi-rustic|
|Ground||Well drained and calcareous soils|
|colors||Blue, purple, pink, white, lilac|
|Flowering||From the end of spring to all summer|
The name lavender apparently derives from the Latin and refers to the ancient custom of inserting the flowers of this plant in the water for the bath in order to perfume it. It is a plant native to the Mediterranean basin and includes about 25 species. In Italy the Lavender Spica, the Lavender vera, the Lavender Latifolia, the Lavender dentata and the Lavender Stoechas are indigenous. Until a few decades ago in our country it was little used for ornamental purposes in gardens. It was more cultivated for the collection of its flowers. It was also widely used in the perfume industry for the production of essences to be inserted in perfumes or soaps. In recent times it has been rediscovered because its ability to adapt to poor and arid lands has become precious.
Lavender needs watering that is not too abundant and not too frequent, it is better to wait for the soil to dry a little before supplying more water; he usually prefers to stay a few days in the dry rather than having a substrate soaked in water. It does not need fertilizers, if you want you can provide a little fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season, in April. Lavender does not like particularly humid environments and does not need abundant and frequent water: for this reason it is advisable not to insist with watering, until the soil appears to be dry and is ready to be irrigated.
It grows well in any garden soil, as long as it is well drained; prefers calcareous soils.
The lavender plant does not like arid and dry soils, but rather likes well-watered soils with clay and alkaline characteristics. It is not necessary for the earth to be particularly fertile, but not even acidic, in order to favor a florid and constant growth of the plant.
In spring take cuttings of about 10 centimeters, which must be rooted in a mixture of peat and sand in equal parts; they settle down the following year.
At the end of the summer, when the lavender flowering period ends, it is possible to take from the single branches of the cuttings of 10-15 cm cutting them with a blade or a sharp knife to avoid forming facets in the fabrics. The removed part must then be immersed in a rhizogenic powder to favor rooting and then the cuttings are placed in a peat compost mixed with coarse sand: each cutting should be combined with a single hole created with a pencil, arranging them well and having care to compact the soil gently and evenly.
Pests and diseases
If the soil is kept too wet, there is the risk of causing root rot. Sometimes lavender is attacked by fungi and insect larvae.
The main enemy of lavender is the Septoria fungus, particularly feared and harmful, when it attacks you at the base: it is noticed through the appearance of light spots on the leaves and can be treated by eliminating the infected parts, airing the environment and trying to when possible, eliminate or reduce the humidity present. If the disease persists, specific and targeted treatments can be used that act directly at the source through fungicidal substances available in specialized centers.
The essential oil of lavender
Lavender has a particularity compared to many other plants that distinguish it: it is its special essential oil, known for various therapeutic properties, with multiple benefits: it promotes relaxation, but also acts as an antidepressant and healing agent.
To obtain it, it is sufficient to use only the flowering tops, obtaining a viscous liquid of a dark green load and an intense smell of grass.
It is recommended to treat states of anxiety, insomnia, agitation, hypertension and nervousness, but also to fight infections or allergies and above all the widespread and common colds: in these cases it is suggested to use oil by inhalation.
Particularly suitable also for the influences of children that can be treated through a simple massage on the neck or on the chest or by spreading a few drops of the essence on the pillow.
Under this denomination are gathered the species that were called "true" and "spica". They are plants originating from the Mediterranean. These are dense and branched evergreen shrubs with square stems. The leaves are covered with a thin hair that gives the whole a silvery appearance.
The leaves are linear, 3-5 cm long and 3 to 5 mm wide. The flower stems rise on the plant and bear groups of flowers in general lilac or blue (but today there are also pink and white cultivars).
The whole plant is scented, even if the flowers are more intensely.
There are high varieties (even 1.5 meters) and more compact varieties (35-40 cm) that can be used for different purposes.
However, they are very rustic (they can even stand -15 degrees), they like calcareous, poor and very well drained soils.
The varieties that were once classified as "true" have more green leaves and less silvery leaves.
To this category belongs the dwarf lavender "Blue hidcote" much in demand lately due to its compactness, adaptability and abundance in the blooms.
The most common lavender in gardens is therefore the gray edge: it is very widespread because it is very vigorous and has the advantage of quickly creating hedges. It is equally true, however, that it tends to become very woody at the base and therefore rather unsightly.
Other cultivars: alba, rosea, alba compacta, Munstead Dwarf, hidcote pink.
This species differs from the angustifolia due to the abundant silver hair that covers its leaves. It is equally rustic and prefers stony and poor soils.
Intermediate lavender x
It is a hybrid between the angustifolia and the latifolia. It is usually medium to large in size and very vigorous.
It is the most used variety for the production of essences and it is the one grown in full field in the Midi of France where it is commonly called "sink". It is very fragrant and robust.
The most common lavender in gardens is just an intermediate x: the gray edge. It is very widespread because it is very vigorous and has the advantage of quickly creating hedges. It is equally true, however, that it tends to become woody at the base and therefore rather unsightly.
Other cultivars are: Sabine, Hidcote Giant, Hidcote White, Provence.
It is widespread in Italy, Spain and northern Africa. It has opposite leaves, tomentose with deeply carved margins.
It is more sensitive to frost and is a plant from mild climates, where it can also flower all year round.
Its scent is more intense and similar to rosemary.
It is native to the Mediterranean basin, especially of the Tyrrhenian coasts. It has soft, tomentose leaves covered with gray hair. The flower stems have a square appearance and the bracts are very large. It has a strong scent of rosemary.
The flowers are purple, pink or white.
It is not very rustic and needs a siliceous soil, therefore subacid.
|angustifolia||From 20-30 cm to 1.5 m||Clayey, well-drained, poor||Lilac, blue, white, pink, blue||yea||Very much, the whole plant|
|lanata||About 70-80 cm||Clayey and poor||Lilac and blue||yea||yea|
|Intermediate X||From 70 to 150 cm||Clayey and poor||Lilac, blue, white, pink, blue||yea||Very much, the whole plant|
|toothed||Up to 1 m||Poor, stony||Lilac and pink||Up to -5 ° C||Aroma of lavender and rosemary|
|stoechas||From 30 to 80 cm||Siliceous and subacid||Lilac, white, pink, mauve||Up to - 5 ° C||Rosemary aroma|