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What is a Lavandin?

O. Parker
O. Parker

Lavandin is a hybrid lavender used as an ornamental in rock gardens, scented gardens, and landscapes. Harvested, this lavender is dried and used in scented arrangements, potpourri and sachets. The scientific name is Lavandula x intermedia. There are several cultivars of this lavender hybrid offering slight variations in flower color and foliage tone. Lavandin is a drought tolerant, perennial plant that thrives in dry, warm climates.

The Lavandula x intermedia hybrid is cultivated primarily as an ornamental garden plant. The silver-tone leaves and fragrant, purple flowers create a neutral border along pathways or around flower and shrub beds. It is often planted en masse over a large area. The rocky soil and full sun of most rock gardens provide excellent growing conditions. Lavandin is rarely cultivated as a culinary herb, though, like all lavenders, it is edible.

Lavandin grows in clumping mounds.
Lavandin grows in clumping mounds.

Lavandin grows in clumping mounds, usually from 1 foot to 3 feet (30 cm to 91 cm) tall depending on the growing conditions and the cultivar. The flowers are from 2 inches to 4 inches (5 cm to 10 cm) long at the end of narrow, square stems. The square stems are a characteristic of the Lamiaceae, or mint family, of which lavandin is a member. The leaves grow from 12 inches to 30 inches (30 cm to 72 cm). The flower stalks tend to grow above the foliage, and the leaves and stems are silver, gray, or sage green in color.

Lavandin is dried after harvesting.
Lavandin is dried after harvesting.

A spot in full sun with light, sandy, soil and good drainage provides the best growing conditions for lavandin. This plant grows well in neutral or slightly alkaline soil in a pH range between 6.6 and 7.8; acidic soils are not suitable. Lavandin is hardy in winter temperatures down to 5 degrees Fahrenheit (-15 C). Individual plants will overwinter indoors in pots on a sunny windowsill.

As soon as the first leaves emerge in the spring, the plants should be lightly pruned to shape. Removing individual flowers as they fade will increase the production of blossoms through the season. Once every two or three years, the plants should be cut back to 8 inches (20 cm) tall; this severe pruning increases the plant's health and vivacity. After 10 years, plants will likely need to be replaced.

The cultivar Provence has highly scented, pale purple flowers and is named for the area of France where it is cultivated for perfume. Grosso has silver-green foliage and long flower stalks with deep purple flowers. Alba is a smaller lavandin with fragrant, white flowers.

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    • Lavandin grows in clumping mounds.
      By: JAG IMAGES
      Lavandin grows in clumping mounds.
    • Lavandin is dried after harvesting.
      By: Comugnero Silvana
      Lavandin is dried after harvesting.