Culinary Lavender Delights the Senses

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Lavender fields are in full bloom this time of the year. For the past two years I have attended the Red Chair Lavender Festival here in Idaho. When entering the farm, you see hues of purple flowers with bees and butterflies.

Photo by Annika Hardin

Photo by Annika Hardin

The lavender fields have hidden art collected from the surrounding foothills. There are stations of lavender lemonade to drink for hydrating in the heat and a garden area with a pond to rest.

This year when I will attend and focus on cutting or purchasing lavender for culinary use. There are so many ways you can delight the palate with a small amount of lavender infused into a recipe. Download three culinary lavender flower recipes and make one for your next summer barbecue.

Photo by Annika Hardin

Lavandula x angustifolia is the best species for culinary purposes. The following species are full sun perennials that grow in zones 5-11 and have heights between 12 and 36 inches. The plants below can be purchased online at Valley Mountain Growers.

  • English Lavender: Medium Purple, 24 to inches
  • Hidcote Lavender: Dark Purple, 18 inches
  • Jean Davis Lavender: Pale Pink, 18 inches
  • Lavender Vera: Purple, 18 inches
  • Munstead Lavender: Medium Purple, 18 inches
  • Royal Purple Lavender: Dark Purple, 24 inches
  • Sachet Lavender: Purple, 18-24 inches
  • Sarah Lavender: Purple, 12 inches

Spring is the ideal time to plant cuttings. Fall planting is best in harsh climates.

Lavender requires well-drained soils. Sandy, or gravel soils are preferable. Mix bone meal with soil as this is a source of phosphorus and protein.

When planting space plants 30 inches apart.

Trim off flower buds the 1st and 2nd years to speed up establishment of plants. 

If you would like to grow lavender plants from seeds Botanical Interests has Lavender Vera and Hidcote varieties. Growing instructions are as follows:

Sow outside 4 to 6 weeks before your average last frost date or as soon as soil can be worked, or late fall in any climate.

Start inside, which is recommended, 10 to 12 weeks before your average last frost date. Transplant seedlings after average last frost.

Days to Emerge: 30–90 days

Seed Depth: Surface to 1/8 inches

Seed Spacing: A group of 3 seeds every 10 inches

Thinning: When 1 inch tall, thin to 1 every 10 inches

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