Lavandula dentata (Fringed Lavender)
Lavandula dentata, commonly called Fringed Lavender, Toothed Lavender or French Lavender, is a small, aromatic, evergreen shrub with narrow, green, finely-toothed leaves and long flower stalks bearing spikes of tiny light blue flowers topped with violet bracts.
It is a drought-tolerant shrub native to the Mediterranean basin, specifically Spain and Morocco.
French Lavender is the common name used for both Lavandula dentata (in the United States, New Zealand, Australia, …) and Lavandula stoechas (in the United Kingdom). Curiously, in France, English Lavender is the common name given to Lavandula dentata. Common names can lead to confusion, so it is always best to know the plant´s botanical name.
HEIGHT & WIDTH
Fringed Lavender scientific name
- Botanical name: Lavandula dentata (lav-AN-du-la den-TAY-tuh)
- Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee)
- Common name: Fringed Lavender, Toothed lavender, French lavender
|Lavandula||The Latin word “lava”, which means wash since lavender was so commonly used during bathing.|
|dentata||The Latin word for toothed referring to its finely-toothed leaves-|
How to identify Lavandula dentata
Small, aromatic evergreen shrub. It has a dense round shape of many stems with green-toothed leaves and long stalks above the foliage carrying spikes of light blue flowers topped with violet bracts.
The shrub has an average height of 60 cm (1.9 ft). With flowers, it can reach 80 (2.6 ft). The width varies between 60 to 80 cm ( 1.9 to 2.6 ft)
The stems are upright. The upper part of the stem is square-shaped and greenish-white, while the base is rounder and woody.
The leaves grow opposite at each node, often with tufts of tiny foliage in the leaf axils.
The flower stalk emerges from the tip of the stem and bears a spike of light blue flowers topped with violet bracts.
This lavender is distinguished from others due to its deeply lobed leaves, which are green and lightly haired.
The shape is lanceolate, with enrolled margins deeply cut into teeth.
The size varies between 10 and 47 mm ( 0.4 and 1.8 in) long and 0,8 and 9.5 mm (0.03 and 0.37 in) wide.
In prolonged heat and drought, the spring leaves are replaced by very small leaves tightly packed along the stems.
The inflorescence varies between 2.1 to 6.5 cm (0.8 to 2.5 in) and is composed of tiny flowers in several whorls around the stem.
The flowers are pale blue with a fused corolla. They are two-lipped, the upper lip has 2 lobes, and the lower lip has 3 lobes. The pistil and stamens are inside the tubular corolla.
The tiny flowers are cradled inside mauve-coloured bracts. These bracts look like petals and progressively become larger as they move up the spike.
The inflorescence is topped with violet-blue papery bracts 9 – 12mm (0.35 -0.47 in) long.
Lavandula dentata has an extended flowering season, normally in spring and autumn. In milder winter climates, flowering can continue throughout the winter.
Lavandula dentata Usage
The Fringed lavender is commonly used as an ornamental plant because it’s a very pretty ornamental plant with its showy blue-violet flowers and toothed green leaves.
It can be used as a solitary plant or planted in groups. It also looked interesting when mixed with other types of lavender. It can be planted in containers, beds or borders. In rock or gravel, aromatic or seaside gardens.
This lavender is used as cut flowers as they last long in the water and also for dry flower arrangements.
They are ideal for drought-tolerant and low-maintenance gardens.
Lavandula dentata has been used in traditional medicine to treat colds, headaches, rheumatic pain and stomach pain.
Studies have also confirmed its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
The Fringed leaf lavender is used for scenting soaps, perfumes, bathing lotions, etc.
Unlike most other Lavenders, the Fringed leaf lavender is not usually used for cooking.
The Fringed Lavender´s showy flower spikes are very attractive to bees and butterflies, enriching the biodiversity in your garden.
This lavender is used as an insect repellent for mosquitoes and flies.
It is also used to produce scented sachets and incense sticks.
Lavandula dentata habitat
This shrub can be seen in dry, rocky areas, uncultivated lands and scrublands. It also grows in thickets and open woods.
It grows well in arid terrain with low nutritional value and sunny exposure.
How to plant and care for Lavandula dentata
Lavandula dentata is native to the Mediterranean basin and adapted to hot, dry summers. So it rarely needs watering once established. It especially dislikes humid winters.
It is not a very hardy plant and will not survive temperatures below -5ºC (23ºF) or winter frosts. If you live in an area with harsh winters, it is best to plant in a container to be sheltered from very cold weather.
Fringed leaf lavender likes poor, well-drained stony soils and prefers full sun. It can also tolerate maritime exposure.
It prefers alkaline or neutral soils but can also tolerate slightly acidic soils.
The best time to plant this shrub is at the beginning of autumn to give it time to develop its roots while the soil is still warm.
How to water Lavandula dentata
Fringed leaf lavender is a drought-tolerant plant and does not like humid conditions, as these may cause fungal diseases. Once established, it does not need watering.
During its evolution, it developed mechanisms for drought tolerance:
- Hairy branches and leaves to trap moisture
- Symbiotic relationship with mycorrhizal root fungi provides water and nutrients in exchange for carbohydrates.
During the first two years after planting, you will need to water the young Lavender every two to three weeks during the summer. Allow the soil to dry out between watering.
When watering, you need to do it abundantly, giving the soil a generous soak so the water can penetrate deeply into the soil to allow the roots to grow deeply.
To preserve the soil´s moisture, you should add mulch around the root area of the Lavender (but not too close to the base). Wood chips and gravel are good options for mulching.
How to prune Lavandula dentata
This lavender will become leggy if it is not annually pruned.
Should be pruned after the flowers dry out to keep a compact form and avoid the shaggy woody look.
Ideally, you should give it a light prune in the spring and then a hard prune (about one-third) in late summer after flowering. Be careful to always prune above the leaf. Otherwise, the stems will die out.
Pruning should not be done in autumn as this will encourage new growth that may not survive the cold winter ahead.
How to propagate Lavandula dentata
Propagation by seed
Fringed lavender can be propagated by seed by sowing the seeds in spring and placing them in a greenhouse.
The seeds usually germinate in 1 to 3 months at 15ºC (60ºF).
When the seedlings are strong enough to handle, you can plant them in individual pots, grow them in the greenhouse or cold frame during the first winter, and then plant them in their final position during the following spring or autumn.
Propagation by cuttings
The easiest method of propagation is by cuttings.
Semi-ripe cuttings can be taken from mid-summer to early autumn. Take a 7 to 10 cm (2.7 to 4 in) cutting with a heel or at a node from the current year’s growth. Roots will form within a few weeks. Semi-ripe cuttings can be placed in a cold frame over winter.
Plant them out in late spring after the last expected frosts.
Hardwood cuttings can be taken from later autumn to early winter, placed in a cold frame over winter, and planted in the garden after the last expected frosts in the spring.
Propagation by layering
Lavender can also be propagated by layering the branches at any time during the year. Bend the stem, hold it to the ground with a peg or rock, and cover it with soil.
Other Lavenders you may also like
Sources of information used for this article
Article from Jardin Sec
Article from Kew
Article from Flora Iberica
RHS Propagating Plants: How to Create New Plants For Free by Alan Toogood and Royal Horticultural Society
Field Guide to the Wildflowers of the Western Mediterranean, Second edition Paperback – 1 Oct. 2021 by Chris Thorogood