Lavandula lanata (Woolly Lavender)

Lavandula lanata, commonly called Woolly lavender, is a small evergreen bushy subshrub with soft silver-white woolly leaves and long stalks bearing dark purple flowers.

Lavandula lanata is a drought-tolerant shrub native to the Mediterranean basin, specifically Southern Spain.



Quick Overview

TYPE

HEIGHT & WIDTH

Lavandula lanata height and width

BLOOM TIME

lavandula lanata bloom time

SUNLIGHT

full sun

HARDINESS

hardiness (-10ºC / 14º F)

DROUGHT TOLERANCE

drought tolerance aprox 5 months

ORIGIN

origin mediterranean basin

Taxonomy

  • Botanical name: Lavandula lanata (lav-AN-du-la  la-NA-tuh)
  • Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee)
  • Common name: Woolly Lavender
LavandulaFrom the Latin word “lava”, which means wash since lavender was so commonly used during bathing.
lanataThe Latin word which means woolly.

How to identify Lavandula lanata

Shrub

Lavandula lanata is a small aromatic evergreen subshrub with a bushy form. It has many erect stems with silver-white woolly leaves and long woolly stalks bearing dark purple flowers.

The shrub has an average height of 40cm (1.3 ft). With flowers, it can reach 60cm (2 ft). The width is, on average, 60 cm (2 ft).

Lavandula lanata stem (Woolly Lavender)

Stem

The stems are upright or slightly prostrate and very densely haired, giving them a silver-white colour. The lower parts are woody and rough.

The leaves grow opposite at each node. The flower stalk emerges from the tip of the stem.

Lavandula leaf (Woolly Lavender)

Leaf

The leaves are aromatic and very hairy, making them appear almost white.

The shape is linear and untoothed, with edges turned down.

The size varies between 25 and 70 mm ( 1 and 2.7 in) long and 2.5-9.5 mm (0.1 and 0.3 in) wide.

Lavandula lanata flower (Woolly Lavender)

Flower

The inflorescence varies between 15 to 45 mm (0.5 to 1.7in) and is composed of tiny flowers arranged in whorls of 4 to 8 around the stem.

The flowers are dark purple and have a fused corolla which is densely haired on the outside. They are two-lipped, the upper lip has 2 long lobes, and the lower lip has 3 short lobes. The pistil and stamens are inside the tubular corolla.
The flowers are borne on long leafless, but hairy stalks and bloom in the summer.


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    Lavandula lanata Usage

    Ornamental

    Woolly lavender is a very interesting ornamental plant.  Its bushy base of silver-white velvety leaves with its long stems bearing clusters of dark purple fragrant flowers are a pretty sight in any garden.

    It can be used as a solitary plant or planted in groups of the same type or with other lavender types. It can be planted in containers, beds and borders. In rock or gravel gardens, aromatic or seaside gardens. 


    They are ideal for drought-tolerant and low-maintenance gardens.

    Medicinal

    The essential oil of Lavandula lanata is used in popular medicine as a treatment for the common cold, rheumatic conditions, and disinfectant due to its antiseptic properties.

    Cosmetics

    This plant’s essential oil has a large quantity of lavandulol, which is highly valued as an additive in perfumery products. It is also used to produce scented sachets to scent clothes and linen.

    Biodiversity

    The woolly lavender´s showy flower spikes are very attractive to bees, butterflies and moths, enriching the biodiversity in your garden.

    Lavandula lanata habitat

    The Lavandula lanata shrub can be seen in dry, rocky areas, pastures, scrublands or in clearings of pine forests. They thrive on stony limestone soils at an altitude of 800 to 2000m (2600 to 6500 ft).

    How to plant and care for Lavandula lanata

    Lavandula lanata is native to the Mediterranean basin and therefore adapted to hot, dry summers.  It is hardy, tolerating temperatures down to -10ºc (14ºF).

    During the first few years, when the plant is not yet established, it will need winter protection. You should cover the root area with mulch to protect the roots from low temperatures. 

    Woolly lavender likes poor, well-drained stony soils and prefers full sun.

    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 lanata

    Lavandula lanata is a drought-tolerant plant and does not like humid soils, which may cause fungal diseases. Once established, it no longer requires watering. Avoid watering even if the summer is very hot because it fears hot humidity.

    During its evolution, it developed mechanisms for drought tolerance:

    • Dense hair in the 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 lanata

    Lavandula lanata will become leggy and will not live for long unless it is pruned. 

    You should prune it after the flowers dry out to keep it compact and avoid the shaggy woody look.

    Ideally, you should give it a light prune in the spring and a hard prune in late summer after flowering. Be careful to always prune above the leaf. Otherwise, the stems will die out.

    How to propagate Lavandula lanata

    Propagation by seed

    You can propagate Lavandula lanata 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.

    Further Information

    Sources

    Sources of information used for this article

    Article from Flora Iberica

    Article from Sage Journals

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