When to plant lavender

Information and botanical notes

The Lavandula genus includes evergreen shrubby plants commonly known as lavender. About 40 species are known, although the most widespread and cultivated is Lavandula angustifolia. It is native to the Mediterranean regions and in Italy it grows spontaneously in many rural and mountain areas. The common name derives from the Latin verb wash, since in the past lavender was mainly used for the preparation of baths and compounds for cleaning and body care. The stem is single, leathery, carrying numerous long, lanceolate dark green leaves on the sides. The flowers are blue or purple (although there are almost entirely white varieties) and grouped in spike-shaped inflorescences. They bloom in spring and in temperate zones it is possible to admire their flowers until December.

The best times to plant lavenderthey are autumn and spring; the first concerns regions with a temperate climate, while spring is recommended for regions where the climate is slightly more rigid. You can buy seedlings already started at specialized nurseries, but the cultivation soil must first be prepared: it must be well drained, so it is good to apply a substrate such as perlite or vermiculite, and exposed in sunny places. It easily resists any type of temperature (some species of lavender also tolerate temperatures below 10 degrees) and needs sporadic watering, since it does not tolerate humidity in any way (it often happens that too wet soils lead to root rot). Every year, in March-April, dry peaks can be pruned for 2/3,

Sowing and reproduction

Commonly sold in nurseries and hypermarkets, lavender seeds are difficult to manage; their outer cuticle protects them from excessive moisture and allows them to survive an entire winter without germinating. Often, after sowing, the pots covered with a plastic sheet are placed in refrigerated places, inducing them to a sort of winter lethargy. After about a month and a half, the pots are exposed to the sun, moistening the soil with non-calcareous water or by reverse osmosis. If the process is successful, it will take 2 to 4 months to germinate. Reproduction by cuttings is simpler, since the twigs taken from the mother plant take root quickly. The cuttings are planted in spring, taking care to remove the leaves at the base of them and immerse them in a rooting compound; the soil must be well drained and for the first time the jars must be exposed to a stable photo period (at least 12 hours of light and 12 of darkness). After a couple of months, the cuttings can be planted in the garden or transferred to a larger pot.

Uses and properties

Lavender is a plant known from ancient times. The first to describe it was the physician and botanist Dioscorides Pedanius, around 50 BC, who discovered this plant and its innumerable properties on the Stecadi Islands, in Southern France. Its uses intensified in the Middle Ages, especially in the courts and nobles, who used lavender for the preparation of ointments and detergents, as well as in the packaging of soaps, still very famous today. The beneficial properties of lavender are mainly given by the essential oil contained in it, which has emollient, healing and relaxing properties. The infusions against headaches and stress are mainly prepared with flowers, suitably dried for several months. The same are also used for the preparation of perfumed bags;

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