Gardening

Spanish Lavender: The Most Beautiful Rich Royal Purple Flowers

Spanish Lavender: The Most Beautiful Rich Royal Purple Flowers

Spanish Lavender

Photo Compliments of Robert Couse-Baker

Lavandula stoechas, or more commonly called Spanish lavender displays the most beautiful rich royal purple flowers on spikes above the gray-green foliage. Of the three main types of lavenders (Spanish, French, English), Spanish lavender is the most drought and heat resistant and is among the most dependable bloomers.

This woody shrub can reach 4 feet in height (in my garden they do not get above 24 inches and these are mature specimens). The leaves are lance-like, thin and silver, protruding from stiff stems. When it blooms the plant produces gorgeous, small, dark purple to lavender blossoms that shoot out from the tops of stems; they appear dark and spherical before blooming.

These aromatic subshrubs are popular in herb gardens as well as in the perennial border, and the intensely perfumed flowers are a real treasure when dried and included in potpourri. Lavenders thrive in the arid Western US, an in the South. Spanish lavender is hardy in Zones 7 to 9.

How To Make Your Spanish Lavender Thrive

Follow a regular watering schedule during the first growing season to establish a deep, extensive root system. Lavenders demand full sun, although afternoon shade may be appreciated in the hottest climates. Plants are very drought resistant once established, but will flower better if not allowed to dry out.

Supplemental feeding is not necessary as Lavender prefers a lean soil, although plants appreciate an occasional side dressing of compost. Perfect drainage is a must, especially through the winter; the roots can rot in wet soils. A pH close to or slightly above neutral is best, so add lime if your soil has a pH below 7.0. Be careful to keep the crowns of the plants away from excess moisture.

Both the leaves and flowers of Lavender contain strong essential oils that are not appreciated by foraging deer or insect pests. In humid climates, fungal problems may arise, but can be avoided by providing excellent drainage and good air circulation around your plants.

General Spanish Lavender Information

Pests And Disease

This is a vary hardy plant that is not susceptible to disease or prone to diseases.  Both the leaves and flowers of Lavender contain strong essential oils that are not appreciated by foraging deer or insect pests. In humid climates, fungal problems may arise, but can be avoided by providing excellent drainage and good air circulation around your plants.

Propagation

Younger plants handle division better than older, woody specimens. Plants may be moved in early spring, but keep plenty of soil around their roots when you dig them up.

Harvesting Lavender

Flower spikes have the strongest scent just as the pretty little flowers begin to open. Cut long stems and gather in bunches to dry out of the sun; this usually takes four to five days in warm weather. Spread stems on a screen or sheet so air circulates easily. Use the stems of fresh or dried flower spikes in arrangements or remove the flowers for sachets and potpourri mixtures.

Pruning

Lavender is a woody subshrub, and pruning techniques should take this into account. Prune in spring when new growth appears. Plants may be sheared back and shaped after flowering, but do not cut low into old wood. If older plants become unsightly, cut back by a third every three years. If you remove the spent flowers during summer you will encourage blooming right up to fall. Do not prune back in the fall. A protective mulch of evergreen boughs may help prevent damage from winter winds in cold climates.

Garden Uses

Spanish Lavender’s rangy shape and thicker flower heads make a bolder statement than its less-rugged relatives. This is great filler for shrub beds, as an edging, or in a clump of three to five. Cluster Spanish lavender next to landscape boulders to make them appear more natural, or near columns and fence posts to soften the transition. You don’t see this as much, but Spanish lavender is an excellent choice for rock gardens and when used on slopes.

Quick Facts

  • Family: Lamiaceae
  • Key Feature: Fragrant
  • Plant Type: Shrub
  • Deciduous/Evergreen: Evergreen
  • Hardiness Zones: Zones 7 to 9
  • Flower Color: Purple to lavender
  • Flower Attributes: Flowers for cutting, fragrant, showy flowers
  • Blooms: Mid-spring through mid-summer
  • Foliage Color: Gray-green
  • Light: Full sun
  • Water Needs: Once established, needs only occasional watering.
  • Height: Dense, mounding form 20 to 28 inches high
  • Width: 18 to 36 inches wide
  • Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Special Features: Attracts birds, butterflies, and bees in abundance
  • Landscape Uses: Borders, containers, rock gardens, and where there is a seacoast exposure

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2 Comments

  1. Hi Charlie,
    I enjoyed reading your post. I use to grow lavander many years ago but it’s difficult to grow where we live now. I always loved having it in my garden.

    I like your site, thank you for visiting my site the other day.

    Check out my recent post on our autumn colors!! Wow!!
    Rich Colors of Autumn

    Michael
    Michael recently posted..Rich Colors of AutumnMy Profile

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