Lavandula viridis (Green Lavender)
Lavandula viridis commonly called Green lavender, White lavender or Yellow Lavender, is a small aromatic evergreen shrub with narrow green leaves and oval inflorescences of tiny white flowers topped with greenish-white bracts.
Lavandula viridis is a drought-tolerant shrub native to the Mediterranean basin, specifically in Portugal and Spain.
HEIGHT & WIDTH
Green Lavender scientific name
- Botanical name: Lavandula viridis (lav-AN-du-la VIR-id-is)
- Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee)
- Common name: Green lavender, White lavender, Yellow Lavender
|Lavandula||Comes from the Latin word “lava”, which means wash since lavender was so commonly used during bathing.|
|viridis||The Latin word for green.|
How to identify Lavandula viridis
Lavandula viridis is a small, sticky, very aromatic shrub with a bushy form. It has many upright stems that are woody at the base and have many green leaves towards the top.
The long stalks bear oval inflorescences with dense white flowers topped with greenish-white bracts.
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).
The stems are upright or slightly prostrate, with green colour, and very hairy. The lower parts are woody and rough.
The leaves grow opposite at each node, in pairs or clustered. The flower stalk is hairy and emerges from the tip of the stem.
The leaves are green and hairy and have and have a strong lemon scent, particularly when crushed.
The shape is linear and untoothed, with edges turned down and tapering to a blunt apex.
The size varies between 22 and 53 mm ( 0.8 and 2in) long and 3.5 – 6.5 mm (0.1 and 0.2 in) wide.
The inflorescence is similar to the Lavandula stoechas. It has an oval shape, around 2 to 4 cm (0.8 to 1.6 in) long composed of tiny flowers arranged in vertical rows.
The tiny flowers are white and have a fused corolla with 4 yellow stamens emerging from inside. They are two-lipped, the upper lip has 2 lobes, and the lower lip has 3 circular lobes.
The inflorescence is topped with translucent greenish-white bracts 10-18mm (0.4-0.7 in) long that look like rabbit ears.
The flowers are borne on long leafless stalks approximately 5 to10 cm (1.9 to 3.9 in) long and bloom in the spring. They begin white but quickly turn to brown.
Lavandula viridis Usage
Green lavender is used as an ornamental plant due to its attractive looks and easy maintenance. The unusual greenish-white blooms and green leaves make a very interesting contrast with the purple-pink blooms and grey leaves of the French Lavender. They make a great combination in a garden.
It can be used as a solitary plant or planted in groups of the same type or other types of Lavender. It looks lovely in pots, beds and borders. In rock or gravel gardens, aromatic or seaside gardens. They are ideal for drought-tolerant and low-maintenance gardens.
Lavandula viridis produces a high quantity of essential oil with a pleasant lemon scent, yet the food and pharmaceutical industries have not explored it very well. This is probably because it does not have a wide geographical distribution (endemic to the Iberian Peninsula) and is not well known.
However, it has been used in traditional medicine against flu, circulatory problems and headaches due to its anti-inflammatory activity.
Studies have demonstrated its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Green lavender is used in cosmetic products such as perfumes and soaps. It is also used to produce scented sachets to scent clothes and linen..
Green lavender is piney and camphoric, but it has been considered the best lavender for grilling and herb breads.
The green lavender´s white flowers attract night pollinators like moths, and its strong lemon scent attracts bees. It is a great contributor to the biodiversity in your garden.
Lavandula viridis habitat
The Lavandula viridis shrub can be seen in dry and nutrient-poor soils in scrublands and open woods of pines and oak trees.
It particularly likes acidic soil and dry, sunny spots in stony places.
How to plant and care for Lavandula viridis
Green Lavender is native to the southwest Iberian Peninsula in the Mediterranean basin and therefore adapted to hot, dry summers. It is also moderately hardy, tolerating temperatures down to -5ºC (23ºF).
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 severe frosts and very low temperatures.
Like other lavenders, it likes poor, well-drained, sandy, acidic soils. Growing in rich soils tends to produce more leaves but less essential oil.
It prefers full sun but can also handle semi-shade, although it will not produce as many flowers.
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 viridis
Green Lavender 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 viridis
This lavender 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.
The ideal time to prune is in the spring when you should give it a light prune, and in the summer, after flowering, give it a harder pruning. Be careful to always prune above the leaf. Otherwise, the stems will die out.
Pruning should not be done in autumn because this will encourage new growth that may be killed during the cold winter.
How to propagate Lavandula viridis
Propagation by seed
You can propagate Lavandula viridis 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.
Other Lavenders you may also like
Sources of information used for this article
Article from Flora Iberica
Article from Flora-On
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