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Description

The French lavender grows into a dense and rounded shrub, to 3 ft. high and 3-4 ft. wide. Narrow green leaves have lobed margins that create a distinctly toothed and braided appearance. Flowers are light to medium blue-purple and develop on long stalks that extend 6-8 in. above the foliage. Best flowering begins in late winter into early spring, then can recur intermittently into summer and fall with timely pruning.

French lavender is the most vigorous and adaptable species of lavenders for Mediterranean plantings in Inland Empire gardens. It is well adapted to warm locations, tolerates winter temperatures to 20°F, and requires good drainage. One cultivar, L. d. var. candicans, is a robust plant that has gray foliage and a wider growth habit to 3-5 ft. across. It provide good foliage contrast and performs nicely as a clipped hedge. As with most lavenders, it grows very well for 3-4 years, but needs hard clipping and cutting to keep plants in good form and to encourage vigorous growth each season.

Water Needs

The French lavender grows best on well drained soils with normal winter rains and low amounts of supplemental water during summer. Young plants will grow faster and flower longer with moderate amounts of water during winter and spring; established plants grow well with periodic deep irrigation in the summer. Lavenders are vulnerable to disease problems when their stems are covered in organic mulch and summer irrigation produces moist conditions that enable disease and rotting ruble's.

The chart shown below provides a recommended baseline guide to the monthly irrigation schedule and volume of supplemental water needed to maintain healthy growth throughout the average year. It should be noted there are several months marked by an asterisk (*) when winter rains can provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed. The high and low range of moisture indicates it can grow with varying amounts of water; it is desirable to have leaf litter and the top layer of soil beneath the stems to dry out between irrigation applications.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Low Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 2

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
 
Inches per Month 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2"

Range of supplemental summer water: 7"-14"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-10"

 
0"-2"
0"-2"
0"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
0"-2"
0"-2"
  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, click here.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Shrub
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Upright, Robust, Mounding, Compact
Growth Rate: Moderate
Height: 3 ft.
Width: 3 ft. - 4 ft.
Water Needs: Low 2
Foliage Color: Pale green
Flower Color: Lavender
Flower Season: Winter, Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Rocky soil, Calcareous soil, Acidic soil
Exposure Adaptations: Heat, Frost, Drought, Aridity, All day sun
Function: Wildlife value, Residential spaces, Raised planters, Mass planting, Grouped, Foliage accent plant, Flowering accent plant, Commercial spaces, Civic spaces, Borders, Banks, Attracts bees, Fragrant foliage, Fragrant flowers, Attracts butterflies, Hedge

Maintenance

For best results, trim back lavender two times per year. Cut back by about 1/3 of the leafy part of the stems once spring blooms start to fade. This will encourage more growth and potentially a rebloom in late summer / fall. Trim back in the same way again once the rebloom fades. Lavenders that are not maintained become woody and may not last more than a few years in the garden. Lavender will not grow back from cuts made in woody growth below the lowest set of leaves, so the regular pruning, at least once a year, is essential to maintain a clean and compact form. Lavender needs well draining soil to stay healthy. If your soil is heavy clay or drains poorly, you may be better off growing lavender as a potted plant (S).

References

Associations

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