Lavender has quite possibly one of the loveliest flower fragrances a plant could produce. Pollinators are also very big fans of these stunning perennials. Not to mention how easy and fun it is to grow. The purple and pink flowers have very distinct “bunny ears” or tufts compared to English lavender plants. The flowers are paired with beautiful silver-like foliage that’s firm to the touch. The flowers tend to bloom from early May and June into late summer or early fall. However, Spanish lavender is not exactly like its relative, English lavender. Spanish lavender prefers hotter climates and thrives with the sun in zones 7-10. If you live in colder climates, you may want to consider English lavender instead.
Give your lavender plants a good douse of water and then continue to check the soil to make sure it’s moist and draining well. These plants are very drought resistant so you won’t need to worry about watering them a lot if at all. Spanish lavender tends to be invasive if you don’t keep it maintained. However, it works very well in a container or pot to keep it from spreading all over the garden. Lavender is mostly used as a scent or fragrance in homemade products that you can use on a daily basis such as lotions, candles, cleaning products, and tinctures.
- Latin name: Lavandula stoechas
- Other names: French lavender or topped lavender
- Native to: Spain, France, Portugal, Italy, and Greece
- Invasiveness: No
- Tenderness: Perennial
- Sun: Full sun
- Water: Low-water
- Soil: Moist and well-draining. pH: 6.7 to 7.5
- Hardiness zone: 7-10
- When to plant: Early Spring
- Spacing: 18-24 inches
- Plant height: 24-30 Inches
- Bloom period: Earl/Mid Spring into late Summer and early Fall
- Time to maturity: Can harvest any time during the growing season
- Container friendly: Yes
- Fertilizer: Small layer of compost at beginning of the growing season
- Toxicity: Not toxic to humans/Toxic to dogs, cats, horses
- Deer resistant: Yes
- Pest resistant: Yes
Growing from seed can prove to be pretty tedious, but you can sow the seeds in pots during wintertime. Then in early spring you can transfer the plants outside or move the pots to areas of the yard that get full sun. It takes about two weeks for the seeds to germinate. You’ll only want to water if the topsoil feels dry. If you leave your lavender in a pot, be sure that it’s able to drain well and not overwater it. Although lavender plants aren’t known to have many problems, they are still susceptible to fungus if left too moist for long periods of time.
You’ll rarely need to water your lavender plants as they prefer well-draining soil. When you first plant your lavender, adding a thin layer of compost with a little bit of water is a great way to kickstart them into growing. Afterward, you’ll just want to check the soil with your fingers to make sure that it’s moist but not overwatered. If there is too much moisture surrounding the plant, lavender can form fungus at the base if left unchecked.
Spanish lavender requires full sun to produce the best flowers. Take into consideration that these plants are native to extremely dry places and actually thrive even through droughts. The more sun it is able to receive, the more flowers you’ll be able to harvest during the growing season.
You’ll want to have a neutral to slightly alkaline soil type that ranges from 6.7 to 7.5 in acidity. This type of lavender prefers loose dry soil and sometimes even coarse sand can work if you need to amend the ground. If the soil is clay-like, you’ll definitely want to find a good spot to mend before planting your lavender in the ground. If you use too much mulch, lavender will have a hard time competing for the water resource so be sure to give the base of the plant 3-4 inches of room so it can get drinks when you water it.
You do not need to consistently add fertilizer to Spanish lavender to make it successful. In fact, the only time you’ll want to use fertilizer is at the beginning when you first plant them. As we mentioned, you’ll only need to add a thin layer of compost to the soil at the beginning to get the plant started. After that, you’ll just need to check how moist the soil is and add water accordingly.
Although Spanish lavender is technically related to mint, it’s not as invasive as you’d think it’d be. Lavender is a hardy plant that will grow throughout the year if it’s found the perfect spot in your garden. People tend to use lavender in their rock gardens and herb gardens for fragrance and appearance. You’ll also find that people tend to put them in pots or containers as well.
Growing Spanish Lavender in containers
Spanish lavender and other lavender plants tend to thrive in either the ground or containers as long as they have full sun and not being overwatered. If you do put them in a pot or container, be sure that the soil and pot you choose are able to drain well and won’t leave your lavender in standing water for too long. Potted lavender seems to be more susceptible to fungus and root rot if they get too moist or are provided too much water.
Care & tips
Other than making sure that your lavender plants aren’t overwatered and have full sun, you won’t have to worry too much about the health of these plants. If you plan on harvesting, you’ll want to wait for the morning dew to dry before cutting the stems. In order to keep the fragrance of the flowers, hang them upside down in a cool dark storage area so that they can be used later. If they are exposed to direct sunlight after being cut, the flowers will lose all fragrance.
Be sure that you are removing any wilted or obviously dead flowers from the plant to help it grow new and better flowers. You can harvest any time you want during the growing season. However, you’ll want your lavender plants to keep most of its dead foliage for winter as it protects them from the harsh elements during this frigid time period.
The only problems people experience with lavender is when it’s overwatered or has too much humidity. If you overwater your lavender plants, they can begin to grow fungus at the base or even rot the roots as it’s unable to breathe properly. Other than this, there aren’t any pests or bugs that you need to be worried about. Lavender plants are “vocal” when they’re unhappy and you’ll notice if your plants are healthy or not from the look and feel of it. Be sure that you are constantly checking the soil and the base of the plant for any unwanted problems.
Propagating Spanish Lavender
Propagating lavender is extremely easy, all you need to do is cut a stem that is about 6 inches long. Dip the stem in some rooting hormone then stick the stem in a pot or container with potting soil or sand. Be sure that they are in a place they can receive partial shade until their roots begin to form. Once they’ve acclimated and look healthy, you’ll be able to plant them somewhere in your garden. Give it water as needed but make sure not to overwater them at first either.
Uses for Spanish Lavender
Spanish lavender and other lavender plants are mostly used for their lovely fragrance. Cleaning products, potpourris, tea, lotions, tinctures, and a lot of other products have been known to have lavender mixed in. The scent of lavender is very peaceful and sweet which is why it’s commonly used as a stress-relieving herb/flower. The stems are also wood-like so they can be woven into beautiful crowns, baskets, wands, and other fun flowery things. People also love to use lavender in their rock gardens or herb gardens for the aesthetic appeal of the plant alone.
History of Spanish Lavender
Although Spanish lavender is native to the Mediterranean, its origins date all the way back to ancient Rome. Which explains how it was given the name “Stochades” as this was the Roman name for the island of Hyeres where it grew seamlessly everywhere. Thus, it’s Latin name: Lavandula stoechas.
You’ll find that growing lavender is a very fun plant to work with. Once it’s taken off, you’ll want to give your lavender stems to everyone in the neighborhood. It’s the perfect gift for anyone who loves to concoct their own lotions and salves out of the plant. It’s also just a really sweet flower to place in your hair all day long or weave into fun shapes. It’s also the perfect cover and flower for your garden if you love the smell.
Keep Reading: Herb Gardening For Beginners: How To Grow Your Own Herbs