Plant Spotlight on Lavender

Plant Spotlight on Lavender

Lavender in its many forms is a deservedly popular garden plant. It has many herbal uses in promoting restful sleep and has proven antibacterial and antiviral benefits. Roman soldiers used to carry lavender water into battle to treat wounds. Lavender flowers are edible and can be used to flavour ice cream, biscuits and cakes and they can be added to the coals of barbecues to make the food even more flavoursome.

Lavenders need full sun, good drainage and do not need feeding. Overfeeding can be detrimental to the plants. On heavy clay soils, it is worthwhile to incorporate some grit into the planting hole for extra drainage.  

The main types of lavender are the English and French varieties. English lavender is more robust and long lasting but the exquisite fragrance of French types makes them worthy of inclusion in a warm, sunny borer. 

The most popular variety of English lavender is the variety ‘Hidcote’ that produces masses of deep violet purple flowers and has a neat, compact habit.

Lavender needs regular pruning to stop the bushes becoming woody and unsightly. Prune the plants just as growth begins in spring taking care to ensure that active growth buds remain below the pruning cuts. Pruning too hard can kill the plants. 

Lavender makes a great hedge and associates well with other plants. It is popular with bees and other pollinators.

With so many uses and ornamental features, Lavender is a must for every garden.