As enduring as the color and as fresh as the fragrance, lavender offers much to the full-sun garden.
Lavender is native to the Mediterranean region. Through thousands of years of human attention, lavender has been selected for a variety of characteristics that enhance its value in the garden. Variations in plant size, leaves and flower color make lavender equally useful for an edging plant or the back of a flower border. While not reliably hardy in our region, they deserve space in the garden.
Dwarfs for edging include Nana Alba. This variety grows to one foot and has gray foliage and white flowers. Munstead, the most popular compact lavender, dependably develops lavender blue flowers a month earlier than other varieties.
In the middle of the border, the deep violet flowers of two-foot Hidcote contrast nicely with its silver-gray foliage. If mulched, Hidcote does well in hardiness zone four of the foothills growing zone. Pink-flowered Jean Davis is another mid-sized border plant.
Taller varieties also have their place in the garden. Twickel Purple, the hardy English lavender, is superior for its gray leaves and dark violet flowers on extra long spikes. Provence is a two-foot tall, light purple-blooming plant grown in the lavender fields of the French region that bears its name.
Any type of lavender works well in containers, and will produce a refreshing fragrance indoors. Be sure to provide at least four to five hours of sun and keep soil lightly moist, not soggy.
Throughout the summer, remove old stalks when flowers fade to encourage reblooming. Plants typically freeze back in the winter. In spring, cut plants back by one-third or to live stems before new growth begins. Lavenders make excellent sachets and potpourris, as well as fresh and dried flowers for decorative arrangements.
For more information, see the following Colorado State University Extension fact sheet(s).
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Updated Tuesday, November 19, 2013