lavender flowersLavandula angustifolia,

Lavender, is a hardy perennial that can grow to 2 feet in height. It is known for its narrow green-gray leaves, sometimes a blue hue, and of course its tall spikes of lavender and purple colored flowers. Once it is established in a location, the plant becomes woody instead of flexible. There are wild species of this herb that have been found to have deep purple, blue, white or even yellow flowers. Some versions of this herb need to avoid cold weather and winter, and should be brought indoors during the winter months.

This herb is most commonly cultivated for its essential oils. Lavender has a very pungent aroma, and the oils are used is several bath and beauty products for its relaxing capabilities. It is also used in medicinal purposes and some recipes. Very unique honey can be derived from this herb’s flowers, as well as Lavender sugar. It has a light, sweet, and flowery flavor, giving whatever the dish a very different flavor. It is becoming more and more popular in the Western cultures as an herb and flavor agent in cooking.

There are several types of Lavender. But most of these plants prefer to be planted in very well drained, sandy or gravelly soils with full sun. Mulch is a bad idea with lavender, as it can trap moisture down in the soil below, fastening the process of root-rot. It is best to prune and trim Lavender in the spring, giving it plenty of time to soak up the sun in the summer and grow. Lavender is particularly difficult to root. So once it is planted, be sure to tend to it carefully.

Fun Fact: Lavender has gone under studies to examine its anxiolytic effects (it makes people sleepy, relaxed, and eases anxiety when used or ingested).