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French-lavender
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Interesting Facts

The genus name Lavendula is derived from the Latin verb lavoor lavandus.  When translated means to wash.  Lavender was widely used in Roman baths. They believed it could treat insomnia, insanity and even aching backs.

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French Lavender   (Lavandula dentata)

French Lavender (Lavendula dentata) is an evergreen shrub native to Spain.  It is a tender perennial hardy in zones 8a-10b.  In colder climates it should be grown as a container plant so it can be sheltered in the winter.  French Lavender can be distinguished from other species by its jagged or dented leaf edges.  Foliage has a fuzzy appearance and is silvery-green in color.  French Lavender does not have the typical smell most associate with the genus.  The smell is much more delicate than what most are use to smelling.  Sometimes being described as something between the typical lavender smell and rosemary.  Plants will reach sizes 1-3 feet tall and up to 4 feet wide.  Plants have a purple flower color and bloom early summer through fall in the landscape.  When grown in a greenhouse or areas that get no frost French lavender will flower year round.  Generally this species is grown for it's ornamental value rather then for it herbal qualities. 

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Plant Types: Annual, Groundcover, Herb, Interior Plant, Perennial, Shrub
Light: Partial Shade to Full Sun
Height: 1 foot to 3 feet
Width: 1 foot to 4 feet
Zones: 8a to 10b
Bloom Color: Purple
Leaf Color: Green, Silvery
Shape: Upright or erect
Fertilizer: Miracle-Gro® Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food
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Plant Care
Planting:

French Lavender (Lavendula dentata) is a drought tolerant plant preferring dry growing conditions.  When transplanting into the landscape choose a location that gets partial to full sun.  Be certain the soil is well draining and will not become saturated.  Dig a hole twice the size of the root ball and deep enough that the top sits flush with the soil surface.  Fill in the remaining space around the root ball with loose top soil and water in well.

In areas that get colder then zone 8a French Lavender should be grown in a container so that it can be moved to protection in the cold months.  Choose a well draining potting soil and a container with sufficient holes for drainage.  Put the plant in a sunny location when moving inside to encourage the best growth possible.   

Harvesting:

French Lavender (Lavendula dentata) works well as cut or dried flowers.  Even though it has a much more faint smell then other species of lavenders it will still retain it's smell when dried.  When used for cut flowers blooms should be harvested just as they start to open.  Be sure to cut as far down the flower stem as possible.  When harvesting for dried flowers cut when the flowers are fully open.

This particular species is not used for consumption purposes so foliage is not typically harvested and used for cooking.

Plant Growth:

French Lavender (Lavendula dentata) is a vigorous growing evergreen species that will grow year round when provided with the right conditions.  It grows like a shrub reaching heights of 3 feet and can spread even farther out.  It has fuzzy silvery-green fern like foliage with indentations or dents along the leaf edges.  During the first year of growth plants should regularly be pinched at the tips of the stems to encourage good branching.  After the first growing season when plants are well established they become very drought tolerant.   

Blooming:

French Lavender (Lavendula dentata) will bloom year round provided it is given the right conditions.  In temperate climates it will have flowers in all seasons but in places where winters get cool it blooms early summer to fall.  It has purple flowers and blooms quite freely once established.

When grown in a container plants bloom year round if given sufficient heat and sun in the winter.  If a green house is available established plants will have copious amounts of blooms all year.  When a green house isn't available a bright window will suffice.  Be certain to rotate the plant every couple weeks so flowering is uniform around the plant.

Soil and Irrigation:

French Lavender (Lavendula dentata) is a drought tolerant plant that likes well draining neutral to alkaline soil types.  Once established they can go very long periods with no water and still do very well.  Only irrigate when soil has become dry.  Too much water will cause the plants to rot out above and below the soil surface.

When grown in containers choose a well draining potting soil that won't get too saturated when watered.  Allow the plants to go through complete wet dry cycles between each irrigation.  Be certain not to over water French Lavenders during the winter months keeping them dry as possible with out allowing them to wilt.

Fertilization:

French Lavender (Lavendula dentata) prefers normal fertility levels.  When grown in the landscape either a general purpose slow release or water soluble fertilizer can be used.  Follow the instructions for frequency and rates for fertilizer.

When grown in a container a water soluble general purpose fertilizer should be used.  Follow instructions for rates and frequency of use.  During the winter months when growth is very slow little to no fertilizer should be used.

Pruning:

During the first season of growth French Lavender (Lavendula dentata) should be pinched at the ends of the stems to encourage branching.  Pinching the tips also removes flower buds so plants can put more energy into establishing a good root system.  After plants are established prune plants after the flowering is complete.  Pinch off 1/3 of the plants tops so new growth and blooms will form.  If old flowers are not removed plants put all their energy into making seeds and will not grow or rebloom as well.

Pests:

Typically French Lavender (Lavendula dentata) suffers from diseases associated with too much water.  If water or humidity is not excessive problems are minimal.  Plants will get Fusarium, leaf spot, stem, leaf and root rots.