Lavender (60 photos): types and features of care
Lavender has long won the hearts of poets, musicians and artists with its elegance and delicate aroma. Delicate lavender fields are the main embodiment of the spirit of Provence, and its dried flowers and essential oils are an invaluable ingredient in cosmetology and medicine. We tell you how to grow lavender yourself and how to care for it!
In its natural habitat, lavender is an evergreen perennial. In many countries, it is even grown on an industrial scale, because then it is used in pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. About 80% of all lavender in the world is grown in France, and there it has long been a real symbol of the province of Provence.
Lavender belongs to the same family of Lamiaceae as basil, sage, rosemary or lemon balm. In addition to France, it grows throughout southern Europe, Australia, India and Africa. Once they washed it and took a shower with it instead of soap, so the Latin “lava” from the name of lavender literally means “wash”.
Lavender has a fibrous, woody rhizome, sometimes extending in depth up to 2 m. The height of the stems reaches 60 cm, and the tallest ones are slightly lignified from below. Elongated bright green leaves with silver reflections grow opposite each other. Small fragrant flowers are collected in socvtii-ears.
A bouquet of dry lavender will fill the room with a pleasant aroma and provide a calm healthy sleep. Pouches and pillows with shredded fragrant grass relieve stress and help relax. Lavender essential oil is famous for its antiseptic and sedative effects.
Types of Lavender
In nature, there are about 30 species of lavender, but only a couple of them are cultivated. The most popular varieties are medicinal English and broadleaf French. English lavender is best suited for Russian conditions, especially for Moscow and the region.
Narrow-leaved English lavender
This is the very classic, real or true lavender that we meet most often, because it tolerates winter well. Its shoots extend up to 2 m and become stiff at the base. Dense leaves are slightly downward and, as they grow older, acquire a muted gray-green hue.
Small purple or lilac flowers are gathered in spikelets. White varieties are less common - for example, Centiva Silver or Alba. There is a blue variety of English lavender - Centiva Blue. Popular decorative varieties include dense compact bushes Munstead, pinkish Rosea, spectacular hedkot for hedges and silver Delphine-shaped lavender.
The second most popular variety is more common in apartments and houses, because it is more sensitive to weather conditions. This variety is notable for its pronounced strong aroma. It blooms before most others - even before the start of summer.
There are unusual shades - burgundy Helmsdahl, blue Tiara with cream centers, dark purple Regal Splendor and Willow Vale. Periodically, new varieties appear, such as the large lavender Rocky Road.
A decorative shrub is used to design sites and alpine slides for the summer. She is also planted in room drawers and flowerpots so that she lives longer. Toothed lavender loves heat and does not tolerate frost, so a temperature below -8 degrees is harmful to it.
This variety is also called Dutch and it is it that is usually grown on an industrial scale for the manufacture of essential oils and drying. These are large tall shrubs up to 2 m in height with large oblong flowers. They are distinguished from English by a more silvery color of leaves and sensitivity to cold.
Lavender is bred in the garden, but seedlings can be grown in the apartment. It blooms in mid-summer and almost does not cause trouble even in cool regions. The main thing is not to plant seeds by winter, otherwise they will most likely freeze.
Lavender seedlings sprout at a temperature of 15-22 degrees and always with a lot of light. Before planting in the ground, they must be gradually prepared for natural conditions. To do this, every day, all the longer clean the temporary greenhouse for sprouts. Otherwise, adult lavender feels good in normal street conditions.
If the winter is too cold, take care of the winter shelter for lavender. It can not be insulated with leaves, because the bush rot. Trim the bush and throw it before warming with the spruce branches - it warms enough and at the same time lets air through.
Young seedlings necessarily require intensive watering. In the future, lavender also longs for stability, and in the heat - an increase in intensity. After watering or heavy rain, you need to loosen the soil well. Simplify your task and mulch the ground with peat when you transplant flowers.
Choosing a place and soil
Lavender can hardly tolerate excess moisture, so a marshland or too wet area is not suitable for planting. Choose a place where dry sandy loamy or drained loamy soil prevails. If it is too acidic, first add a little crushed limestone. Before planting seedlings, the soil needs to be dug up by about 20-30 cm, loosened and made peat or compost.
Lavender can be sown immediately in the open ground somewhere in the middle of autumn. In order for the seeds to germinate better, they need to be prepared - mixed with moistened sand and left for about 2 months in a cool place or in the refrigerator. But such a method is really effective only in warm regions.
Seeds for seedlings are sown later - in late winter or early spring. Fill the flowerpots with a mixture of 2 parts of humus and part of coarse sand, break all the lumps and disinfect in the oven or potassium permanganate. Spread the seeds evenly over the surface, cover with a thin layer of sand and lightly wet.
Cover the pots with polyethylene or a glass box, but do not forget to air once a day. Saplings necessarily need more light and heat. When the bushes grow, they are transplanted into a large box with an interval of about 5 cm.
By the end of spring, you can plant small bushes in the ground in open sunny areas. Leave a distance of about 1-1.2 m between bushes for tall varieties or 0.8-1 m for compact ones. The root system should be placed in the pit so that the neck goes into the ground by about 4-6 cm.
If there is already lavender on the site, it is easiest to propagate it with cuttings from a stem up to 10 cm long. They are immediately planted on the root in a moist, loose substrate under an impromptu greenhouse. Adult large shrubs can be divided in the fall and planted in different holes. And in spring lavender is propagated by layering: for this, a long stalk needs to be bent to the ground, sprinkled with soil and left for the summer.
Lavender needs regular annual pruning to remove dying inflorescences. In the autumn, all the stems are shortened immediately - so the bush will be beautiful and neat. Make sure that the branches do not stretch too high and bend under their weight. And after about ten years, anti-aging pruning to short young shoots of 0.5 cm is needed.
Pest and Disease Control
What's in the natural environment, in the garden in the open ground, that at home lavender is not too sensitive to pests and parasites. Sometimes pennies and beetles appear, which can be collected mechanically. After that, treat the bushes with insecticides and be sure to replace the mulching layer.
From excess moisture and after prolonged rains, gray rot sometimes affects lavender. It is impossible to cure it normally, therefore it is better to immediately remove the damaged shrub until the disease spreads to others. Only in the early stages can you try to cut out all the damaged parts and treat the sections with an antiseptic.
Lavender - photo
Lavender is a real decoration of any garden or flowerbed. Florists and landscape designers adore her, and all for good reason. Just look at our photo collection!