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How I use herbs - lavender

Lavender is an essential herb in any garden because it is relatively easy to grow and has so many uses.  There are several species, with similar properties, but each suited to different climates.  The species considered to have the best "quality" essential oil is Lavendula Augustifolia, however it can be more expensive as it has lower yield that other varieties (and the quality just refers to the pleasantness of the smell).  Any of them grow well in the garden and smell lovely.  I am pretty sure my plant is French Lavender (Lavendula Dentata), I also have an Italian Lavender (Lavendual Stoechas) next to it, but it has hardly grown.

How to grow lavender
I got my lavender plant as a small plant.  I have tried growing lavender from seed with no success.  I think its better from a cutting or by layering.  I haven't had any success with cuttings either so far.  I really need to work on this because I'd love to have more lavender in my garden.  Lavender once established (and if you find the right one for your climate) is rather hardy and prefers not to be waterlogged, its best in full sun with well-drained soil.  It does need to be trimmed to keep a nice shape, mine has got out of control lately and has a very woody stem and uneven growth due to being buried under a choko vine for most of last summer!


eight acres how I use lavender


How to use lavender
Its hard to know where to start with lavender!  It really has so many uses... I use both dried lavender flowers and lavender essential oil.  Here's a list of examples:

  • Pest repellent - I use the essential oil as an ingredient in my insect repellent and I put paper bags of dried flowers in wardrobes and drawers to protect clothing from moths
  • Relaxation - a few drops of essential oil in a bath, or rubbed on my forehead if I feel a headache starting.  I also put dried lavender flowers in the wheat heat packs I made.
  • Itch calming - I find a little essential oil rubbed on an itchy bite helps the itch
  • Wound healing - lavender essential oil can be combined with other healing herbs to help with healing of cuts and burns.
  • Digestion - tea made with lavender flowers aids digestion (and ice cream with lavender syrup is yummy! - our local lavender farm Potique makes the syrup)
  • Lavender flowers can also be used to flavour vinegar, oils or honey (I want to try flavouring honey with herbs as soon as we harvest some honey)
  • And honey bees use lavender as a source of nectar, pollen and essential oils that can help them fight pests in the hive too, another reason I want to grow more lavender!

When my plant is flowering I cut all the mature flowers every few days to encourage more flowers.  I dry the flowers in a basket and store in jars.  I buy my essential oils from Sydney Essential Oil Company and that is not even an affiliate link!

Do you grow and use lavender?  Which variety do you have?  Do you use essential oils as well?



Other posts about herbs in my garden:

How I use herbs - Mint, Peppermint and Spearmint

How I use herbs - Aloe Vera

How I use herbs - Basil

How I use herbs - Ginger, galangal and turmeric

How I use herbs - Marigold, calendula and winter taragon

How I use herbs - Soapwort

How I use herbs - Comfrey

How I use herbs - Nasturtium

How I use herbs - Parsley

How I use herbs - Borage

How I use herbs - Herb Robert

How I use herbs - Purslane

How I use herbs - Chickweed

How I use herbs - Neem oil

How I use herbs - Rue, tansy and wormwood

How I use herbs - Brahmi

How I use herbs - Yarrow

How I use herbs - Arrowroot

How I use herbs: lucerne (afalfa)

Comments

  1. Liz, I think ours is French Lavender. I have had great success growing it from cuttings. However, my hubby got some cuttings from a lady up the road who has pink lavender and they haven't taken so well but I think one might survive. I have got some drying at the moment and just read a soap recipe which uses sage and lavender infused olive oil so I think I will solar infuse both those herbs soon. Your posts always remind me that I started up a Focus on Herbs series a while back but haven't done any posts on herbs for ages. I wanted to learn more about the ones we have growing by reading Isabell Shipard's wonderful book. So many plants that are often called weeds are really edible herbs I have found :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great post thanks for this. I'm growing English Lavender (Lavendula augustifolia) which is great for culinary use. I did some research on lavenders and found the English Lavender was the best for use in cooking. Apparently French Lavender is too strong for culinary use. I've grown mine succesfully from seed but in saying that you have to wait two years before planting the seedlings out.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I somehow feel a little better. I attempted to grow lavender from seed in our spring this year. Most didn't sprout and the few that started were eaten by mice. :-(

    English is appropriate for our climate. I plan to try again.

    ReplyDelete
  4. i have french lavender, so far haven't had a problem striking cuttings, have just put a new plant out in the garden & have another sitting in a pot, have a cutting going but it was pure random, accidentally cut too low when i was getting the flowers.
    have collected a jar & a half of the flowers & leaves so far & the bush looks like its ready for another trim!
    you can use the stalks as fire starters too (for those of us lucky enough to have wood heaters) gives a lovely fragrance throughout the house.
    thanx for sharing

    ReplyDelete

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Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions, but I don't always get time to reply right away. If you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile, or email me directly on eight.acres.liz at gmail.com

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