ENGLISH LAVENDER (Lavendula augustifolia munstead) is an essential herb with evergreen grey-green foliage in clusters with short spikes of violet-blue flowers. Highly valued as an aromatic in its dried form because it retains its fragrance for a long time, and the essential oils it contains for salves and lotions. The blossoms also make a beautiful edible addition to salads and desserts! Plants grow 18"h x 24-30"w. Perennial in zones 5-10. You will get a live plant in a 4" plant in the Spring at an appropriate time for growing in your zone. Please advise at time of purchase as to weather in your area.
MEDICINAL PROPERTIES: The ancient Romans named it "lavender" which means "to wash" and it makes a delightful addition to the bath water. Lavender has been widely researched for its now established properties as an anti-septic, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory. Hence its historic use in all manner of external applications. But now come studies that show it also has anti-depressant properties if brewed into a gentle tea.
GROWING TIPS: Be sure you do not over water, as lavenders need excellent drainage at all times, but do not let them dry out completely. Be sure to give them plenty of time hardening off, even potting up, before transplanting to the garden in a sunny position.
DRYING FOR TEA AND OTHER USES: When we gather herbs for fresh use, we pick early in the morning, when still kissed by dew. But when we gather herbs for drying, we are going to wait until the sun has dried the dew, so that we do not get mildew forming when we dry. Gather small bunches of the healthiest plants and tie at the ends with string with a tail. Then hang in a protected environment. For me, it is from the shutters of my interior kitchen window over my sink. No sunlight at this window but plenty of fresh air as an overhead fan circulates during warmer months. This is ideal. Otherwise, special drying racks work well. The idea is to dry quickly, without sunlight, but plenty of air circulation to keep mildew from forming. Turn if necessary to make sure the bunch dries completely. When dry, crumple the leaves from the stems and store in airtight canisters.
INSTRUCTIONS ON RECEIPT: Open immediately and give a drink of water, preferably filtered water. If using tap water, allow the water to “breathe” overnight before using to dissipate any chlorine which can be fatal to delicate organic seedlings. Put under grow light or near a natural light source, preferably without cold or drafts for at least a few days to settle down from its journey, keeping it moist but not waterlogged. If weather is not permissible you can hold your seedling for some time, potting up as necessary after a month. (Keep in its original pot for that long if you are not moving to the garden, as a new growing medium or too large a pot could cause failure.) If weather is permissible, begin your hardening off process of very gradual exposure to outside elements – 15 minutes at a time, graduating up to a full day by 15 minute to half hour increments. Watch carefully! If it is warm already in your growing zone, you can quickly lose transplants by rushing this process. Patience is rewarded with a vigorous transplant. When fully hardened off, situate to their permanent garden spot and let rest a day or two there, again, watching carefully for any sign of distress. Then, when you have a nice cloudy day in the offing, transplant into the garden, providing any support or cover required, giving a shot of organic fertilizer (I recommend Espoma). Keep watered, but not waterlogged. Keep a watchful eye on your baby.