(Lavandula angustifolia ‘Vera')
Vera Lavender is a perennial herb that is native to Europe but can commonly found growing in gardens throughout the United States. At maturity, this plant reaches the height of 18-36” and features square shaped stems, 2 ½” silvery gray/green narrow leaves, and terminal spikes of fragrant lavender flowers. This plant grows in a container, attracts bees, butterflies, and hoverflies, repels mice, tolerates deer, is rabbit safe, is used to flavor perfume and soap, tolerates drought and frost, is used to make cleansing agents, detergents, essential oils, insecticides, and potpourri, and is both edible and medicinal!
Soil Preparation & Start Indoors
Harvesting & Storage
Culinary & Medicinal
Variety: Vera Lavender
Native to: France, Italy, Spain.
Introduced into: Austria, Bulgaria, East Aegean Is., Krym, New York, Tunisia, Venezuela, Vermont, West Himalaya.
Ease of Growing: Moderate
Maturity (Blooms): June to August
Grown as: Perennial
Growing Habit: Bush
Hardiness: Hardy. With adequate drainage, Lavender is frost hardy and can withstand snow. This variety will grow as a perennial in zones 5 and up.
Crops: Spring Transplant
Growing Season: Short, Long
Growing Conditions: Cold, Cool, Warm, Hot. lavender is a fairly adaptable plant and can withstand heat, drought, and frost.
Outdoor Growing Temp: 50°F - 95°F
Min Outdoor Soil Temp: 50°F. Lavender is more tolerant of cold weather than the other types and even tolerate snow. Plant outside once the soil is at least 50˚F.
Start Indoors: Yes
Start Outdoors: No
Light: Full Sun. Min. 6 hours daily (Cool, Warm, Hot). Lavender needs full sun for best growth, but will still thrive in cloudy conditions.
Water: Dry to Medium. The young plants need watering regularly until they are well established. Older plants are very drought tolerant and don't need a lot of watering. Watering Lavender overhead can cause problems, so it wise to use drip irrigation.
Feeder: Light. Lavender will do well in average soil.
Suitability: Drought tolerant, Tolerates light frost, Tolerates hard frost
Small Gardens?: Yes
Containers?: Yes. This variety does well in containers. Although Lavender is drought tolerant, when growing in a container it will need to be watered whenever the soil becomes dry. It's recommended to prune container grown Lavender in the early spring before buds form and also at the end of the growing season. These plants will benefit from being repotted annually, which is also a convenient time to add a light and well balanced feed of nutrients. Some varieties will grow rather large, and after a couple of years, they may need to be potted up into larger containers, or moved to the garden. The minimum sized container for the smallest growing varieties is about 6" in diameter, while large varieties need containers at least 1' in diameter. Be sure to place your container in sunny spot for heavier blooms.
Attracts beneficial insects?: Yes
Plant Height: 18-24"
Sow Depth: 0.125" to 0.25"
Hardiness Zone: 5-9
Produces: square shaped stems, 2 ½” silvery gray/green narrow leaves, and terminal spikes of fragrant lavender flowers.
Garden Uses: This is a versatile garden perennial that should be considered for a wide variety of uses and not just relegated to a corner of the herb garden. The flowers and green-gray leaves provide mid-summer color and contrast to the perennial border front, rock garden, herb garden or scented garden. Can be particularly effective when massed. Also effective as an edger or low hedge in some areas. Fragrant flowers may be dried and used in sachets and potpourris.
Soil pH: 5.8-8.3, Ideal 6.5-7.0. Any light, well-drained soil should be good. If your soil isn't well-drained you could grow it on mounds and add lots of organic matter (or even sand).
Soil temp for germination: 55°F to 85°F, optimal 60°F to 70°F, optimal 70°F
When outdoor temp: 50°F to 95°F, optimal temp 65°F to 80°F
When min soil temp: 50°F. Lavender is more tolerant of cold weather than the other types and even tolerate snow. Plant outside once the soil is at least 50˚F.
Spacing: 12.0"-18.0", 1 plants per sq ft. Space the seedlings of this semi-dwarf plant 12 to 18" apart when large enough to handle.
Water Needs: Low. The young plants need watering regularly until they are well established. Older plants are very drought tolerant and don't need a lot of watering. Watering Lavender overhead can cause problems, so it wise to use drip irrigation.
Fertilizer Needs: Light. Lavender will do well in average soil.
Watering: Water, 0.5 inches, every 2 weeks. Lavender doesn't require constant watering, and will do well with only a little water every now and then.
Pruning: every 4 weeks. Lavender is pruned to keep a plant at the desired size and shape and to encourage vigorous new growth (old growth turns woody). This is usually done after flowering. Plants should be pruned regularly because you can only cut vigorous growth - if you cut into woody old growth it won't grow back grow well. Usually you simply cut 4 to 6" off the vigorously growing shoots, being sure not to cut down into woody parts. If you didn't harvest the flower stalks you should remove them in late summer, to stop the plant from wasting energy trying to produce seed.
Culinary Use: Lavender leaves and flowers can be made into a tea, and that tea can be used for the popular refreshment, Lavender Lemonade, or enjoyed as is. Leaves and flowers are also used to flavor meat and fish dishes.
Leaves, petals and flowering tips: raw. Used as a condiment in salads, soups, stews etc. They provide a very aromatic flavor and are too strong to be used in any quantity. The fresh or dried flowers are used as a tea. The fresh flowers are also crystallized or added to jams, ice-creams, vinegars, etc., as a flavoring. An essential oil from the flowers is used as a food flavoring.
Some good plants to grow with lavender which share similar needs are: Echinacea, Aster, Sedum, Wild indigo, and Baby’s breath. Drought tolerant roses These companions for lavender perform well in full sun and dry, less-than-rich soil.
Gazania, another good choice, is a beautiful flowering plant from South Africa that fares especially well in poor, dry soils. Like lavender, it will really suffer if you pay too much attention to it. On top of being good companions for lavender based on their growing habits, these plants all also produce flowers that pair strikingly with its purple blossoms.
Some planting companions for lavender benefit greatly from having it nearby. Lavender is a natural repellant of moths, slugs, and deer. Any plants that suffer from these pests will benefit from having a lavender plant nearby. Fruit trees, in particular, which can be hit very hard by moths, tend to do much better when surrounded by lavender bushes. The same can be said for cabbage and broccoli, which often fall prey to slugs.
The Health Benefits of Lavender
Sleep Issues: If you regularly struggle with insomnia, apnea, or restless sleep patterns, it can seriously impact your life. By brewing a few lavender flowers in hot water, you can steep a wonderful tea that has been used to induce sleep and relaxation for thousands of years. This is closely linked to the flower’s impact on the nervous system, and can also help to clear your mind of negative thoughts or clutter. Lavender is commonly combined with meditation techniques, either in essential oil or aromatherapy form.
Anti-Inflammatory Qualities: Everyone is looking for a reliable way to relax the body and mind, and lavender takes care of both. If you add flowers to your bathwater and take a nice long soak, the anti-inflammatory components of lavender can help to reduce inflammation throughout the body and easy hurting muscles. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of lavender are quite potent, and this is one of the most trusted applications of lavender flowers.
Skin Care: An easy, mobile way to always take care of your skin is to fill a spray bottle with lavender flowers. When your skin is feeling dry or irritated, simply spray some of the infused water on the area and enjoy the quick relief that it can provide. This can also work for chronic conditions, like psoriasis, eczema, and even acne.
Antiseptic Ability: Although many people turn to lavender to relaxation and aromatherapeutic applications, its effect on infection is impressive, to say the least. Many people apply crushed lavender leaves on wounds and injuries to promote not only quick healing of the wounds, but also to prevent the development of infections at those sites. This has been a popular use for lavender since antiquity.
Hair Health: If you suffer from hair loss or any other condition that affects the quality and health of your hair, seek out a lavender-based shampoo. However, some of those organic cosmetic products can be quite expensive, while others may claim to be derived from lavender and still contain harsh chemicals. One of the best options is to steep lavender flowers as though you are brewing tea and then apply that mixture to your hair. It will function as an effective shampoo and significantly boost the health of your follicle beds and hair.
Heart Issues: The relaxing qualities of lavender, which come from its organic compounds and antioxidants, also help the heart by reducing blood pressure and easing the tension of blood vessels. This can prevent atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular issues, thereby lowering your risk of strokes and heart attacks.
Bloating and Digestive Issues: The polyphenols found in lavender have a wide range of effects on the body, including anti-aging impacts, but it can also help prevent the development of harmful bacteria in the gut. Essentially, this will prevent the accumulation of gas in the gut from the emissions of those bacteria. This will ease stomach discomfort, reduce bloating, and eliminate cramping. Either chewing on lavender leaves or drinking a lavender tea can be effective in this way.
A Final Word of Warning: Although not commonly considered an allergenic substance, if you are susceptible from allergens in the mint family, you could experience negative side effects from lavender as well. These are usually mild in nature and include headaches, constipation, and increased appetite, while topical application can cause mild irritation and redness.
The Health Benefits of Lavender Essential Oils
Sleep: Lavender essential oil induces sleep which has made it a common recommendation for an alternative treatment of insomnia. Frequent studies on elderly patients have shown an increase in their sleep regularity when their normal sleep medication is replaced with some lavender essential oil being placed on their pillows. It has such a relaxing impact on people that it can often replace modern medicine for sleep issues.
Nervous system: Lavender essential oil has a calming scent which makes it an excellent tonic for the nerves and anxiety issues. Therefore, it can also be helpful in treating migraines, headaches, depression, nervous tension and emotional stress. The refreshing aroma removes nervous exhaustion and restlessness while also increasing mental activity. It has a well-researched impact on the autonomic nervous system, which is why it is frequently used as a treatment for insomnia and also as a way to regulate heart-rate variability. One study showed that people taking tests showed a significant decrease in mental stress and anxiety, as well as increased cognitive function when they inhaled lavender oil and rosemary oil before taking the exam!
Acne: According to dermatologists and aromatherapists, lavender essential oil is one of the most beneficial oils in the treatment of acne, which is a very uncomfortable and embarrassing condition that primarily affects young people as they move through puberty, but can also afflict adults. It is characterized by red, raised sores on the face and body that develop due to a bacterial infection near the sebum gland. When sebum cannot be properly secreted from the sebum glands on the face, it begins to build up, particularly because puberty stimulates extra sebum and bacteria feeds off of it, creating a vicious cycle of irritation, infection, and visible sores that can result in serious scarring. Lavender essential oil inhibits the bacteria that cause the initial infection, helps to regulate some of the over-excretion of sebum by hormonal manipulation, and can reduce the signs of scarring after the acne has begun to heal. Adding a small amount of lavender essential oil to other skin creams or ointments can greatly increase the potential for relief and healing.
Pain relief: Lavender essential oil is known as an excellent remedy for various types of pains including those caused by sore and tense muscles, muscular aches, rheumatism, sprains, backache and lumbago. A regular massage with lavender oil can also provide relief from pain in the joints. A study done on postoperative pain relief showed that combining lavender essential oil vapor into the oxygen significantly reduced the amount of pain experienced, versus those patients only revived with oxygen after a major surgery.
Urine flow: Lavender essential oil is good for urinary disorders because of its stimulating effect on urine production. Furthermore, it helps in restoring hormonal balance and reducing cystitis or inflammation of the urinary bladder. It also reduces any associated cramps with these and other disorders.
Respiratory disorders: Lavender oil is widely used for various respiratory problems including throat infections, flu, cough, cold, asthma, sinus congestion, bronchitis, whooping cough, laryngitis, and tonsillitis. The oil is either used in the form of vapor or is applied on the skin of the neck, chest and back. It is also added to many vaporizers and inhalers that are commonly used for colds and coughs. The stimulating nature of lavender essential oil can also loosen up the phlegm and relieve the congestion associated with respiratory conditions, speeding up the recovery process and helping the body naturally eliminate phlegm and other unwanted material. The vapor of lavender essential oil also has antibacterial qualities which can battle respiratory tract infections.
Hair care: Lavender essential oil is useful for hair care because it has been shown to be very effective on lice, lice eggs, and nits. Furthermore, lavender essential oil has also been shown to be very helpful in the treatment of hair loss, particularly for patients who suffer from alopecia, an autoimmune disease where the body rejects its own hair follicles. A Sottish study reported that more than 40% of alopecia patients in the study reported an increase in hair growth when they regularly rubbed lavender essential oil into their scalp. Therefore, lavender oil is sometimes recommended as a preventative measure for male pattern baldness!
Cancer: Although more research needs to be done on human subjects, there is significant research on the effects of lavender, in combination with other essential oils, as a way to prevent the occurrence of breast cancer in mice. However, this could be an indication of an increased chance of lavender battling other carcinogenic effects and the presence of cancer.
Blood circulation: Lavender essential oil is also good for improving the circulation of blood in the body. Research suggests that aromatherapy using lavender oil has beneficial effects on coronary circulation. It also lowers blood pressure and is often used for hypertension. This means that not only do the organs increase their levels of oxygenation, promoting muscle strength and health, but brain activity can have a noticeable boost, skin remains bright and flushed with blood, and the body is protected from the risks of heart attack and artherosclerosis that is often associated with poor circulation.
Digestion: Lavender oil is useful for digestion because it increases the mobility of food within the intestine. The oil also stimulates the production of gastric juices and bile, thus aiding in the treatment of indigestion, stomach pain, colic, flatulence, vomiting and diarrhea.
Immunity: Regular use of lavender essential oil provides resistance to a variety of diseases. It is well-known that lavender has antibacterial and antiviral qualities that make it perfect for defending the body against rare diseases like TB, typhoid, and diphtheria, according to early research in the 20th century.
General Skin Care: The health benefits of lavender oil for the skin can be attributed to its antiseptic and anti-fungal properties. It is used to treat various skin disorders such as acne, wrinkles, psoriasis, and other inflammatory conditions. It is commonly used to speed up the healing process of wounds, cuts, burns, and sunburns because it improves the formation of scar tissues. Lavender oil is also added to chamomile to treat eczema.
Other: Other health benefits of lavender essential oil include its ability to treat leucorrhoea. The oil can also used to repel mosquitoes and moths, which is why you will find many mosquito repellents that contain lavender oil as one of the primary ingredients.
As with many other essential oils, pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid using lavender essential oil. It is also recommended that patients with diabetes stay away from lavender oil. It may also cause allergic reactions to people that have unusually sensitive skin. Some people may also witness nausea, vomiting and headaches due to either common or excessive use of lavender oil.
Perhaps most importantly, lavender oil should never be ingested, only topically applied or inhaled through means of aromatherapy or similar activities. Ingestion can cause serious health complications, characterized by blurred vision, difficult breathing, burning eyes, vomiting, and diarrhea. So, even if you think that lavender oil is a wonderful miracle cure, don’t get excited and start putting it on your food!
(Callistephus chinensis ‘Powder Puff Mix’)
Powder Puff China Aster is a cool weather fall blooming annual flower that is native to China. At maturity, this plant reaches the height of 2' and features serrated, 2-3” pointed leaves and fragrant 4-6” full, double blossoms in varying shades of pink, white, red, and purple-blue with pale yellow centers. This plant can be grown in a container, attracts bees, birds, lacewings, hoverflies, and praying mantis, is deer resistant, self sows, and is great as a cut flower!
(Callistephus chinensis ‘Tall Pompon Blue Moon’)
Tall Pompon Blue Moon Aster is a cool weather annual that is native to China which can be found growing on the edges of deciduous forests in the northeastern United States. At maturity, this plant reaches the height of 20” and features 2-3” wide dark blue disk-shaped flowers that are white in the center. This plant can be grown in a container, attracts bees, birds, lacewings, hoverflies, and praying mantis, is deer resistant, self sows, and is great as a cut flower!
(Gypsophila elegans ‘Annual’)
Annual Baby's Breath is an introduced annual flower that is commonly found growing in sandy soils of meadow steppes and outskirts of woodlands of Eurasia. Growing to the height of 2-3' tall, this plant features dense branches that bare 2” long lance shaped foliage and small 1/2” white flower blooms. This plant can be grown in containers, it attracts bees and butterflies, is deer resistant, is highly used in floral arrangements, and best of all, it self sows!
(Gypsophila elegans ‘Deep Carmine’)
(Echinacea purpurea ‘Purple’)
Purple Coneflower is a native perennial flower that is commonly found growing in moist meadows, woods, and prairies throughout the central and eastern United States. At maturity, this plant reaches the height of 2-4' and features stiff stems, narrow hairy leaves, and 3-4” flower heads with drooping purplish pink petals and a spiny orange center cone. This plant can be grown in a container, attracts bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, provides bird forage, tolerates drought and frost, has medicinal uses, is resistant to deer, and is great as a cut flower!
(Gazania rigens ‘Treasure Flower’)
Treasure Flower is a tender perennial flower that is native to South African that grows perfectly for us at Project Purity Seeds in southern Illinois. At maturity, this plant reaches the height of 12” and features long, narrow, dark green leaves and 3-4” daisy-like flowers that range in color from yellow to orange to red, with occasional contrasting spots or rings near the center. This plant can be grown in a container, attracts bees and butterflies, tolerates drought, is resistant to deer, self sows, and is great as a cut flower!
(Brassica oleracea 'Calabrese Green Sprouting')
Calabrese Green Sprouting Broccoli is an Italian heirloom, hardy, cool weather annual vegetable that is native to the Mediterranean region, but brought to America by the D'Arrigo brothers between 1904-11, and first offered to the public in 1923. At maturity, this plant reaches the height of 30-36” and features erect stalks, 6” bluish-green centered floret, multiple side shoots, and yellow flowers. This plant can be grown in a container, is rabbit safe, tolerates light frost, and is edible.
(Brassica oleracea 'Purple Sprouting')
Purple Sprouting Broccoli is an Italian heirloom, hardy, cool weather annual vegetable that is native to the Mediterranean region, but was introduced to the United States not long after they were listed in the French Vilmorin-Andrieux seed catalog in 1885. At maturity, this plant reaches the height of 18-36” and features thin stem, side shoots of loose clusters of 3-5” purple florets, and bladed leaves. This plant can be grown in a container, is rabbit safe, tolerates frost, and is edible.
(Brassica oleracea 'Waltham 29')
Waltham 29 Broccoli is a heirloom, hardy, cool weather annual vegetable that is native to Waltham, MA., where it was developed by the University of Massachusetts in 1950. At maturity, this plant reaches the height of 18-24” and features a 4-6” blue-green central broccoli head, and side shoots that bare 1” florets. This plant can be grown in a container, is rabbit safe, tolerates frost, and is edible.
(Brassica oleracea 'Early Jersey Wakefield')
Early Jersey Wakefield Cabbage is a heirloom, hardy, cool weather annual vegetable that is native to England, but was first grown in the United States in 1840 by Francis Brill of Jersey City. At maturity, this plant reaches the height of 12-18” and features dark-green, conical heads averaging 5" in diameter and weighing 2 to 3 lbs. This plant can be grown in a container, attracts earwigs, is rabbits safe (in moderation), can be used as a trap crop for aphids, tolerates frost, and is edible.
(Brassica oleracea 'Late Flat Dutch')
Late Flat Dutch Cabbage is a heirloom, hardy, cool weather annual vegetable that is native to the Netherlands, but was first offered in the United States by D. M. Ferry & Company in 1924. At maturity, this plant reaches the height of 18-24” and features blue-green flat 12” heads that weigh up to 15 pounds. This plant can be grown in a container, attracts earwigs, is rabbit safe, can be used as a trap crop for aphids, tolerates frost, and is edible.
(Brassica oleracea 'Red Acre')
Red Acre Cabbage is a heirloom, hardy, cool weather annual vegetable that is native to southern Europe, but is commonly grown in the northern United States. At maturity, this plant reaches the height of 12-18” and features reddish purple round heads that weight up to 3 pounds. This plant can be grown in a container, attracts earwigs, is rabbit safe, can be used as a trap crop for aphids, tolerates frost, and is edible.
(Brassica rapa 'Pak Choi')
Pak Choi Chinese Cabbage is a heirloom, hardy, cool weather annual vegetable that is native to southern China, but has been commercially grown in the United States for more than 100 years. At maturity, this plant reaches the height of 6-18” and features a head of smooth, dark green leaves with thick white stalks. This plant can be grown in a container, attracts earwigs, is rabbit safe, can be used as a trap crop for aphids, tolerates frost, and is edible.