Know Thy Plant: Fern-Leaf Lavender

July 16, 2013 Comments Off on Know Thy Plant: Fern-Leaf Lavender

Fun Lavender fact:  The name Lavender is derived from the latin lavo or lavandus meaning to wash, since the herb was so commonly used during bathing.

Today, in this third ode to lavender, we highlight the fern leaf lavender. I am unsure of the variety it could be  ‘multifida’  or ‘minutolli’.  Multifida has more of a lavender scent, while minutolli has flashy blooms and a pungent smell. Think this is a sign I need to keep track of my tags? I fortunately have learned my lesson on this one!

fern leaf lavender

This interesting Lavender, like most other varieties, prefers well drained soil and once established, needs only occasional watering.  I will admit that I may have put mine in a not well drained raised bed and over watered this spring , resulting in yellowing leaves. However it has flushed out a bit with the dryer summer months.

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This variety is VERY fragrant. The ‘multifida’ has been traditionally cultivated for oils, for its strong lavender scent.  The variety I have is reminiscent of citronella, and I crush it between my hands and rub on my legs to keep mosquitoes away, to varying degrees of effectiveness. This could mean it is ‘minutolli’, the mystery continues.

multifida lavender

The biggest surprise of this cultivar, is that is has been long blooming for me. I completely expected to get one good bloom out of it, but with deadheading it has had consistent blooms since I planted it in May (greenhouse forced I’m sure). The blooms are long, and often form a  beautifully shaped trident.

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Regardless of variety the growing conditions are very similar:

Zones: 8-11(some places as high as 14) I’ve noticed mine can really take the heat well, however I’ll have to see how it winters over in zone 7. This may have to be an annual for me.

Soil: Well drained

Water: Drought tolerant once established.

Size: Up to 2 ft tall(40 inches with blooms) and around 3-4 ft wide.

Deer Resistance: Yes

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