Lavender

  • Plant Type: Perennial in zones 5 to 10
  • Sun: Full Sun
  • Plant Size: 20 to 24 inches tall
  • Culinary Use: Fresh leaves and flowers in baking, flavored sugar or salt, and tea blends

Native to the Mediterranean region, lavender’s intoxicating perfume has kept it in cultivation for centuries. Lavender is ideal for culinary use because it’s rich in essential oils. A favorite ornamental for landscapes, the blue-violet blooms are striking against gray-green foliage.

Plant in spring and enjoy year-round; expect blooms in summer and aromatic foliage even in winter.

Plant Spacing: 12-18 inches. Plants Per Person: 2 or 3.

Secrets to Success »

Drought-tolerant lavender is low-maintenance. Don't smother it with love; it needs space for good air circulation and little water or fertilizer once established. Be sure lavender gets good drainage. In humid climates, try lavender in containers for better air circulation and mulch with pebbles to speed drying.

Harvest and Use »

Cut the flowers with several inches of stem for easier handling. Clip blooms often to encourage more flowers. To harvest the leaves, snip leafy stems; cut only the soft new growth, not the harder woody part. A good rule for using lavender in cooking is that if something would taste good with rosemary, it will likely be good with lavender, too. Try chopped lavender on roasted potatoes, in marinades and rubs for grilling, or on focaccia bread. Use it to infuse teas, jellies, sugars, and salts with its aromatic quality. The dried flowers are perfect for potpourris, sachets, or even a relaxing bath.

Try these garden companions »

  • Rosemary, which has similar soil and care requirements.
  • Strawberries (top them with lavender sugar or syrup).
  • Lamb’s Ear, also drought-tolerant and with silver-gray foliage; lovely together for a gray-green garden.

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