Lavender - This fragrant member of the mint family has been used since Roman times in bath water, and as a fabric deodorizer for clothes & linens.
Once only native to the Mediterranean, lavender is now used worldwide by crafters, herbalogists, aromatherapists and perfumers, and used to make potpourri, sachets, teas, dried flower arrangements, or as a mainstay of decorative door wreaths.
In the home garden, it is usually planted close to a doorway or window for the whole family to enjoy the full effects of the lavender fresh scent. As lavender seeds can take up to a month to produce seedlings; propagation is usually done by cutting or root divisions and sold in local nurseries as starter plants.
It will do best in full sun and well-drained soil. Lavender proves to be fairly drought-resistant and will stand up to infrequent watering. When they're ready, lavender harvesting is usually done in the early mornings when lavender "sap" or oils are at their
highest. Branches are then spread out on a flat surface in a process that usually takes 2 - 3 weeks.
Lavender fun facts:
• Lavender oil is used in aromatherapy and can be used to soothe aching muscles and joints, and reduce anxiety and stress.
• The scent of lavender deters mice, flies, mosquitoes and other pests in the home garden.
• During London’s great plague, people would tie bunches of lavender to their wrists in the belief that it would help to fight infection.
• Queen Marie Antoinette of France was known to decorate the royal palaces with lavender. (Truth be known, it was mainly to scent the air -- at a time when regular bathing was not all that popular!)
On the Web - How to grow lavender :
Growing Lavender in Containers - Check out a picture & fact sheet on choosing a container, transplanting lavender, tips on soil conditions, fertilizer, required water & sunlight plus a discussion on varieties recommended for container growing.
Lavender Production, Products, Markets, and Entertainment Farms - This is intended for the serious lavender grower with discussions on best U.S. geographic locations, soil preparation and cultivation techniques, propagation, production, and potential for lavender agri-tourism. Also includes a working farm profile, a list of U.S. lavender farm Web sites, suggested reading & related resources.