Essence Purple Lavender
Compact, Fragrant, and Long-blooming
'Essence Purple' is a bit more compact in height than many other varieties, reaching just 2 to 2½ feet tall but stretching 3 to 3½ feet wide. Every inch of this space is filled with small, narrow gray-green foliage on very dense branches, topped by purple blooms that begin in midsummer and continue for weeks. So bushy that it makes an excellent low hedge in the garden, 'Essence Purple' regales you with that balsamic foliage scent and sweet flower aroma before you even lay eyes on the plant!
This lavender is semi-evergreen, so if you live in a warm climates, it will persist through winter. And like all lavender, it is repellent to deer, who prefer to nibble on less strongly-scented plants. Once established, 'Essence Purple' is also very drought-tolerant, actually preferring soil on the dry side once it begins blooming.
Both the flowers and the foliage are superb for cutting. A treasured herb, lavender is used for everything from air freshener to dream pillows, and a sprig here and there in indoor arrangements goes a long way toward deliciously scenting the home.
Give 'Essence Purple' excellent drainage, and pamper it the first season to help its root system become established. After that, you will find it quite self-sufficient, attracting bees and butterflies by the dozen season after season. If your garden doesn't already have lavender, add it at once! And if it does, consider 'Essence Purple' as an additional variety to satisfy that craving for rich fragrance and color! Zones 5-9.
|Zone||5 - 9|
|BloomStartToEnd||Mid Summer - Late Summer|
|AdditionalCharacteristics||Bloom First Year, Butterfly Lovers, Edible, Flower, Fragrance, Herbs, Rose Companions|
|FoliageColor||Gray, Light Green|
|MoistureRequirements||Dry, Moist, well-drained|
|Resistance||Deer Resistance, Drought Tolerant, Heat Tolerant|
|SoilTolerance||Normal, loamy, Sandy|
|Uses||Border, Containers, Cuisine, Cut Flowers, Everlastings, Foliage Interest, Hedge, Outdoor, Potpourri|
|Restrictions||Canada, Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands|
Lavender is such a joy in garden and home that every gardener should grow at least a containerful, and the lucky among us will be able to blanket driveways, sunny borders, and meadows with this fabulous herb. Popular since ancient times (it was used in the mummification process by the ancient Egyptians, and scented the Greek and Roman baths), it is used as a seasoning, fragrance, and home remedy, among many other things.
Lavender is not the easiest herb to grow. It needs exceptionally good drainage and prefers light, dry soils in low-humidity climates. But with the range of available varieties on the market today, you can find a Lavender that suits your climate, your soil, and your gardening style!
Choosing a Variety
With nearly 40 species and countless exciting varieties within those species, Lavandula is treasure-trove of possibilities for the gardener. Here are just two of the most popular species for American gardens:
Lavandula angustifolia, the beloved English Lavender, is renowned both for its flowers and foliage fragrance. It is used in cuisine and potpourri, besides as a spectacular fresh or dried cutflower. Among the classic cultivars are Munstead and Hidcote Blue.
Lavandula stoechas, Spanish (formerly French) Lavender, blooms earlier than its English cousin and sports a different bloom form as well as fragrance type. The flowerstalks are topped with several large, wing-like bracts known as "rabbit ears," very showy in garden or vase. The scent is more pine-like than sweet. To try a superb L. stoechas for containers or small spaces, give Sancho Panza a whirl.
When to Start
Lavender can be sown indoors in late winter or outdoors in early spring or late fall. Wherever it is sown, it will germinate in about 15 to 20 days.
How to Start
Indoors, place one seed in each bio sponge of your Bio Dome or, if you are using a seed flat, on top of the starting medium (the seeds need light to germinate). Best results are when temperatures alternate between about 55 and 72 degrees F.
Outdoors, scatter the seeds onto the soil and then cover with a row protector or very light sprinkling of soil.
Lavender can also be started from cuttings. Dip the cut end of the stem into a rooting hormone and pot it up in a sterile soil-less medium. Keep the cutting away from full sun until it has rooted.
Lavender seedlings are ready to transplant when they have at least two sets of true leaves. Space the plants 12 inches apart in full sun in a neutral to alkaline, light, rich, sandy, well-drained soil. Drainage is critical for Lavender's success.
To dry Lavender, just stand your cut stems in a dry vase, or harvest the flower spikes when the buds just begin to open and hang them upside down by their stems in a shady, cool, dry location.
- Growing Lavender in a lean soil will encourage a higher concentration of oils. An
alkaline and especially chalky soil will enhance Lavender's fragrance.
- Prune your Lavender plants in early spring to keep them from looking ragged. This will
also improve their branching ability.
- Keep in mind that although Lavender has a large, spreading root system, it prefers growing in a tight spot. If you are growing your plants in containers, select those that are just a few inches larger in diameter than the rootball. Too large a pot will only encourage excessive dampness.
Pests and Problems to Watch For
The enemies of Lavender in the garden are moisture and heavy soils. Humid, damp summer weather can cause the plants to rot.
Which plants should I grow to repel insects?Many of the herbs will repel insects. Pennyroyal repels fleas and other insects. Pyrethrum repels moths, flies, ants, mosquitoes, cockroaches, mites, and bedbugs. Mint repels flies, fleas, and ants. Lavender repels flies, silverfish, and fleas. Catnip can repel mosquitoes. Thyme repels insects. Lemon Grass repels mosquitoes. Basil repels flies and mosquitoes. Sage repels a variety of insects. Chrysanthemum, grown for its beautiful flowers and for the extraction of pyrethrin (an organic insecticide), repels flies, beetles, mosquitoes, roaches, lice, and fleas.
Which plants should I grow to repel rabbits and deer?Planting garlic, onions, chives, lavender, rosemary, and sage around rabbit-susceptible plants will repel rabbits. Deer repellent plants include: lavender, onion, catnip, sage, chives, garlic, spearmint, and thyme. Be sure to strategically place these repellent plants around and in between rabbit and deer-susceptible plants. Also, place some along the property line and especially at key points the rabbits and deer are using as entryways, which can even deter them from coming onto your property.
Which of your plants offered are deer resistant?Perennials that are deer resistant include: Asclepias, Aster, Baptisia, Coreopsis, Dianthus, Digitalis, Echinacea, Gaillardia, Heuchera, Hibiscus, Malva, Monarda, Oriental Poppy, Platycodon, Peony, Rudbeckia, Salvia, Sedum, and Tricyrtis. Shrubs include: Buddleia, Buxus, Cotoneaster, Daphne, Forsythia, Fothergilla, Hibiscus (Rose of Sharon), Potentilla, Spiraea, Syringa, and Viburnum. Vines include: Clematis, Honeysuckle, Campsis, Wisteria, and Climbing Hydrangea. Trees include: Acer (Maple), Cercis (Redbud), Corylus, Fagus (Beech), Magnolia, Ginkgo, Mulberry, Spruce, and Salix (Willow).