One of our favorite plants here at Ross Plants & Flowers is Lavender – beautiful foliage, adorable flowers, relaxing scent, and you can even enjoy it in the kitchen! You will often find Monica with her nose in a lavender plant when she needs to reduce her stress level – she has one on her back patio that brings her such joy and instant calm on stressful days. Lavender has been prized for healing and beauty since ancient times and modern research proves those uses. According to the Cleveland Clinic, in different forms Lavender can help support sleep, improve mood, reduce pain and inflammation, and has antimicrobial properties.
Lavender doesn’t take a lot of effort from you to grow – it really prefers to be dry and has simple, limited care. Going easy on fertilizing will actually help blooms! Fertilizer encourages lavender to grow additional foliage, rather than more flowers. Native to the Mediterranean, it can easily be grown here in the Lehigh Valley and will not become invasive. It loves full sun (6-8 hours per day) and tolerates many soil conditions as long as the soil is well-draining. All varieties are resistant to deer and rabbits and are drought tolerant. Lavender can be planted in mulch, but also does well in a rock garden. If you grow your lavender in a pot, make sure to use a well-draining potting soil, incorporating coarse sand or gravel.
English lavenders are more often used for culinary applications and tend to be more cold-hardy, needing protection if temperatures drop below 0. They can thrive in the Lehigh Valley as perennials while French lavenders are more sensitive to the cold and wet and can be potted or grown as annuals. We carry several varieties at our Orefield location, grown locally here in Pennsylvania. You can find the English Lavenders in quarts in the perennials sections as well as with our herbs. French Lavenders will be in our herb section.
- Munstead English Lavender is a compact plant, growing to about 18” tall. Featuring gray-green leaves and blue flowers that are amazing in cut arrangements or as dried flowers. This is an early-flowering perennial, planted 18” apart.
- Hidcote Lavendar is a variety of English lavender and grows 12” – 24” tall and is planted 18” apart. It is outstanding in butterfly, herb and rock gardens.
- Provence Lavender is one of the hardiest and most adaptable Lavenders and, despite the name, is an English and Portuguese hybrid. It has a very long bloom time and, with dead heading, will bloom into the Fall. This is a larger variety, growing up to 36” tall.
- Platinum Blonde Lavender is an English lavender that is very amenable to being planted in containers. It has incredibly interesting, variegated foliage that adds extra visual appeal and grows to about 24”.
- Goodwin Creek Lavender is a French hybrid that grows up to 36” tall with striking silver foliage and fragrant flowers that attract butterflies to your herb and flower gardens. This variety is more amenable to being grown in pots than other varieties.
- Grosso Lavendar is a French lavender with thicker, denser flower spikes. It grows 20” – 30” and blooms later than other lavender, with blooms lasting into early Fall.
To harvest your lavender, snip the stems as long as possible when less than half of the flowers have opened. Display as cut flowers or tie about a dozen stems together and hang upside down in a dim, dry place with good circulation and allow to dry for a couple of weeks. Display the dried flowers in a vase or store them for crafting wreaths, sachets, homemade bath products, and more!
If you choose a hardy variety, there may be winter dieback, and once the new growth is seen in the Spring, you should prune up to a third of older branches. Lavender can live up to 10 years. Take some care as lavender can be toxic to dogs and cats if ingested.
If you are interested in cooking with your lavender, there are a number of wonderful cookbooks in the Lehigh Valley Library System that feature lavender including Orange, lavender & figs : deliciously different recipes from a passionate eater by Fanny Slater and Just a spritz : 57 simple sparkling sips with low to no alcohol by Danielle Centoni.
And, if you love your lavender but just don’t have any more space in your garden, be sure to check out our Allentown location for an amazing selection of lavender to enjoy! We have freshly dried lavender, lavender essential oil and diffusers, lavender honey, lavender sea salt and a wide variety of lavender scented soaps, lotions, and candles from companies such as Savannah Bee Company, Wavertree & London, Greenleaf, and EarthLuxe.