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Lavender (Lavandula) is a flowering plant in the mint family, Lamiaceae. It is a genus of 39 known species and native to the Africa, Europe, and Asia. This aromatic shrub is very popular in herb gardens and can be used in borders. There are several choices of flowers to choose from: mauve, blue-violet, pink or white. The flowers are intensely perfumed and are often dried and made into wonderful potpourri. Lavender’s foliage is eye catching and stands out in the garden with its silver to gray green colors. Lavenders thrive in dry areas, but not locations with high humidity. Therefore, they are best grown as annuals or container plants in the South.
Choose a location that has warm, well drained, lean soil in full sun; alkaline added to the soil will enhance the perfumed oils it produces. To encourage new growth in the spring, cut back the taller plants to about one third their height and the smaller plants can be pruned by a couple of inches. Keep the plants watered during their growing season. Lavender plants need 3-5 years to reach their mature size, are drought resistant, and quite a tough plant once established. Wait until a hard frost before cutting back for the winter. Companions for Lavender need sunny, dry conditions, such as roses or irises.