With smooth, needle-like leaves ranging from gray-green to silvery-gray, there are many different lavender varieties featuring a characteristically sweet, clean scent. Lavender’s volatile oils are thought to have antiseptic properties and were often used to clean wounds and freshen the air in hospitals and sick rooms. Now lavender oils are commonly found in herbal soaps, shampoos and perfumes. A fantastic border plant, lavender naturally repels insect pests and it dries well for use in wreaths, flower arrangements, potpourris and sachets.

by Dani Yokhna
PHOTO: elminium/Flickr

Size: Can grow up to 3 feet tall.

Sunlight requirements: Full sun.

Water requirements: Plenty of water until roots are established, plenty of water for containers.

Soil requirements: prefers a light, well-draining soil with a pH of 7.1.

When to plant: Because it has a very long germination period, it can be tricky to start lavender from seed. Instead, plan to propagate new starts from cuttings of established plants or to purchase bedding plants.

Where to plant: Garden; containers

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When to harvest: When flowers are of good color and prior to flower buds fully opening. Harvest flower buds and stems when they are dry. Wait until after a couple of days of dry weather has passed.

Produce storage: Bundle in bunches and hang upside down. Place in a dark, cool but well-ventilated place. Store fried flower buds in airtight container away from light.

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