Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Lovely Lavender

Lavender is best known for it's fabulous scent, but I would gladly grow Spanish lavender even if it had no fragrance at all.  

Spanish Lavender, Lavandula stoechas, is a sun loving perennial that forms a 2 foot tall shrubby mound.  This plants blooms profusely is the spring and then keeps on going.

The big surprise to me is that Spanish Lavender does not need full, all-day sun to thrive.  I tried to grow this plant in a full sun area with limited irrigation and it did not do well.  I currently have it growing in a southern exposure under the outer branches of a red bud tree.  The location is protected from both morning and afternoon sun, and this seems to be working quite well.

Fernleaf Lavender, Lavandula multifida, is growing close by in another bed.  This plant is not as cold hardy as the Spanish Lavender and freezes back to the ground nearly every year.  It has come back reliably for the past 3 winters.  This past winter it hardly died back at all and started blooming again at the first sign of spring.

In my garden, Fernleaf Lavender, is growing in a north eastern exposure.  I have 3 plants which are just far enough from the eave of the house to miss out being shaded from the mid-day sun, but some tall trees protect the plants from harsh afternoon rays.

Last December just before the first freeze, I collected up all the Fernleaf Lavender flowers and dried them.  They make excellent sachets.

In Central Texas, plants don't always grow in accordance with the plant tags.  Many plants, including these lovely lavenders, appreciate and can do with less sun than you might think.  Now that I know the secret to growing lavender in my garden, you can bet I'll be adding more.


  1. Oh I'm so glad to know this secret! I just bought a Spanish lavender and now I'll put it someplace less harsh. Your varieties are lovely.

  2. I've never been able to grow lavender with success.

    I had a fern leaf one last year, in a pot. It did pretty well...but, didn't make it through the winter.

    I have a Spanish lavender in a pot this year. It's doing well. Maybe it should be in the ground, before winter....hmmm...

  3. The only lavender plant I've been able to grow is a pass-a-long one from Pam...and even then, i'm not sure if it's grown...but the point is that it hasn't died.

  4. I love the Lavenders- such great color and can't resist the fragrance!!!!

  5. Gorgeous! I have both varieties growing in my garden. Do you prune yours back after they bloom?

    PS SO true - Plant tags that say "full sun" should translate to "part shade in the heat of the TX sun".

    1. I have never pruned the Spanish Lavender, but I think you are supposed to prune after it blooms. The Fernleaf Lavender needs a major cleanup in late winter to cut back all the dead foliage.