Over the years I have developed a love for many different kinds of plants, from annuals to perennials and trees to shrubs. Among these I have found some outstanding plants that do well in a variety of conditions, among these is lavender.
Lavender is a semi-evergreen, woody perennial from the Mediterranean region. When planted in the central Great Plains, we have to be careful to plant it where it will not receive standing or excess water. Lavender prefers well-drained or dry soils, mimicking its natural habitats. It is extremely drought tolerant and loves the heat.
While there are many new cultivars each year for lavender, I find that the older varieties tend to be tougher. ‘Munstead’ is an old favorite, with great heat and drought tolerance. ‘Hidcote’ is another old variety with excellent heat and drought tolerance. The problem can be in finding these older varieties, because so many new varieties are hitting the market, growers have to be selective in the number of varieties they carry. One new selection, ‘Phenomenal’, is a solid cultivar, but a little less drought tolerant than others. Indeed, ‘Phenomenal’ tends to like moisture better than other cultivars.
Plant lavender to repel insect pests, in borders and beds, around grapevines and in orchards, and in massing. Lavender leaves and flowers can be used for potpourri, herb sachets, jelly, tea, ice cream, and baking. Lavender oil is great for relieving stress, bruises, and headaches. Plant lavender in full to part sun. Water sparingly even at planting. I have found that it is important to keep lavender off drip zones, if you use those in your yard.
Be sure to check the label of newer varieties carefully, many are not hardy in our colder winters. The 3 mentioned above, however, are hardy in our area.