Caring for Spanish Lavender

By Annie Rainford , last updated March 19, 2011

The fragrant, twisting silvery leaves of Spanish lavender make it a popular choice among herb gardeners, and it doesn't hurt that caring for the beautiful plant is relatively easy. Spanish lavender is less hardy than English varieties; grow it in containers to enjoy it year-round, bringing it indoors to overwinter. Its dark purple flowers and heady scent make it an excellent choice for drying. Spanish lavender herb sachets make drawers of lingerie fragrant; lavender potpourri brings a calming scent to a bedroom.

Description

This woody shrub can reach 4 feet in height. Its leaves are lance-like, thin and silver, protruding from stiff stems. When it blooms, small, dark purple blossoms shoot out from the tops of stems; they appear dark and spherical before blooming.

Light

Spanish lavender requires a hot, sunny spot in the garden. It thrives when it has full sun, but can adapt to a sunny windowsill.

Moisture

Dry conditions are good for plant growth. Never overwater this plant. It is native to sandy, rocky regions and prefers them; its roots will quickly rot if overwatered. However, do not let Spanish lavender dry out completely, especially when you are first establishing it in the garden or pot.

Soil

Spanish lavender tolerates acid soil better than English lavenders. Plant it in a well-drained bed and do not overfertilize. While Spanish lavenders are heavier feeders than other varieties, no herb needs extensive fertilizing. In fact, the aromatic oils strengthen when they are planted in "poor" soil.

Containers

Plant Spanish lavender in containers so that you can easily move them inside to a sunny windowsill for the winter.

Harvesting

Harvest lavender sprigs to dry for use in sachets, cooking and bathing. Dry plants by tying branches in a bundle and hanging them in a cool, dry environment. Use Spanish lavender to flavor sugar for elegant desserts; mix it with sea salts in a jar for bathing; infuse it into handmade soaps; incorporate it into dried herb and spice rubs for grilled meats such as lamb.

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