Lavender (Lavandula spp.)
Lavender is a many-branched, somewhat woody, perennial plant growing 1 ½ to 3 feet tall. The narrow leaves are about 2 inches long and have a pleasing gray-green color. The small lavender-colored flowers are borne on long-stemmed, slender spikes.
Lavender grows best in rocky, dry, sunny places that have abundant lime in the soil. It can be propagated by seed or cuttings. If winters are severe, the plant will need protection.
Lavender is considered a sub-shrub and not a herbaceous perennial. Do not severely cut it back as this can kill it. Wait until spring when it puts out new growth to prune off what was damaged in the winter. Also, prune off dead tips and dried flower spikes. After it finishes blooming, deadhead and shape it. This should encourage it to bloom again. Do not prune after mid-August.
Cut whole flower spikes when the first flowers begin to open and dry.
Lavender is one of the most popular herbs for the fragrance of its dried flowers and the oil distilled from them. It is used most often in sachets, perfumes, and baking.