Lavender Plant Love & Obsession

Discover which lavender plant best suits your garden, and add one of our mouth-watering lavender recipes to your cookbook.

| June/July 2012

On a warm, sunny day, it doesn’t get much better than brushing up against a lavender plant and inhaling the intoxicating aroma. You can experience this just about anywhere in your landscape. From pathways to rock gardens, lavender makes a wonderful focal point, and it is useful as well. Any warm, sunny spot will do, as long as the soil allows for proper drainage and the plant gets plenty of room to grow.

There are more than 450 named lavender varieties or cultivars, and more are being discovered all the time. Lavender belongs to the Lamiaceae (mint) family, which includes oregano, sage and other fragrant herbs. There are several species within the genus Lavandula, grouping plants together based on characteristics such as hardiness, leaf shape and fragrance. Some species are available only in certain parts of the world, and only about four species can be grown outside of tropical climates.

3 Fragrant and Delicious Lavender Recipes

Lavender Shortbread Cookies with Lemon Buttercream Frosting
Lavender Jam
Lavender Lemonade 

What makes the lavender plant a great addition to the landscape?

Lavender is a beautiful addition to just about any garden. Lavender foliage colors range from various shades of green through gray-green to silver; variegated cultivars are even available. The flowers are not just lavender but come in a spectrum of colors, from blues and purples to whites and pinks. These plants also come in a variety of sizes: there are dwarf lavenders, medium-sized lavenders and lavenders that grow quite large to fit into any landscape design. More and more people are realizing how easy lavender is to grow and how useful it can be in the garden.

Once lavender is established, it doesn’t need to be watered very often. Plants are considered drought-tolerant if they can survive a dry period with little or no supplemental watering. With lavender’s sunny disposition, it certainly falls into this category. In fact, when lavender is placed in the right spot—where it has full sun, good drainage and plenty of room to grow—it will thrive with very little care, even through the summer months. With many municipalities restricting water use, these plants can hold their own and help conserve water.

Lavender attracts a wide range of pollinators that are not only beneficial to your garden but also are great for the environment. A lavender plant draws the bugs you want in your garden that, in turn, eat the ones you don’t. On a hot, sunny day, anyone can become mesmerized by watching the level of activity on one lavender plant. Bumblebees, honeybees, butterflies, ladybugs and praying mantises are only some of the beneficial insects a lavender plant will attract. These pollinator, predator and parasitic species not only help the plants and flowers thrive, they also greatly reduce the need for pesticides throughout your garden. (For more information about beneficial bugs, read Attract Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden.)

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