Lavender is an aromatic herb originally hailing from the Mediterranean. The genus name, meaning to wash, alludes to the ancient custom of scenting bathwater with oil of lavender or a few lavender flowers. These perennials tend to be shrubby, usually with square stems and narrow evergreen leaves that are white and woolly when young. Flower spikes are terminal clusters of lavender or dark purple flowers, blooming in late June and bearing a pleasing scent.
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How to grow: Lavender plants want full sun and well-drained, sandy soil-- preferably nonacidic. In areas where there is no snow cover, the plants should be mulched. In colder areas, prune back the dead wood in the spring.
Propagation: By soft cuttings in spring or from seed.
Uses: Lavender is perfect as a low hedge and in clumps next to rocks. It is also suitable in front of stone walls that face away from the wind.
Related species: Lavandula stoechas is the classic lavender of Greece and Rome. It has bolder flowers of red-purple.
Scientific name: Lavandula angustifolia
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