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The gray lavender cotton is a low mounding shrub growing 1-2 ft. high, spreading 2-3 ft. wide. It features distinctive gray foliage and a fine-texture dense habit; bright yellow flower heads cover the plant in spring for a very colorful display.

Gray lavender cotton is native to southern Spain and the eastern Mediterranean region, and has proven to grow well in full sun, on well-drained soils and with low amounts of supplemental water. It is good for rock gardens, borders and mixed with other Mediterranean shrubs and perennials. It become leggy after several years of growth and can be trimmed to maintain good size and character.

Water Needs

The gray lavender cotton is well adapted to sunny locations on well drained soils and with low amounts of supplemental water during summer. 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.

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"

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, follow this link.

For information how to calculate your irrigation system’s schedule and precipitation rate, please follow this link.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Shrub
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Mounding, Dense
Growth Rate: Moderate
Height: 1 ft. - 2 ft.
Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.
Water Needs: Low 2
Foliage Color: Silvery white
Flower Color: Yellow
Flower Season: Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil
Exposure Adaptations: Wind, Heat, Drought, Cold hardy, Aridity, All day sun
Function: Rock gardens, Residential spaces, Raised planters, Grouped, Foliage accent plant, Flowering accent plant, Commercial spaces, Borders, Banks, Small spaces


Prune annually in late winter or very early spring before flower buds develop (D). Pruning of multiple plants is easiest done with a manual hedge shear, while just a plant or two can be done with pruners. Prune to remove 1/3 to 1/2 of the average stem length of the leafy part of the stems, forming a compact mound shape. New invigorated growth will rapidly emerge. This annual hard cut back will keep the plant looking good and living longer. Santolinas that do not get this annual maintenance often get woody and decline in a few years after planting (S). Leggy mature plants can be cut back to a few inches tall just before spring growth begins to try to reset the form (5). They will usually grow back, but may not, so it is best to stay on top of more frequent annual pruning (S).



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