Lavender (Lavendula species)
Lavender is a well loved woody perennial and there's so many reasons why. There are several varieties of Lavender to chose from, each with it's own special qualities. The most common being Lavender Augustifolia, Lavender Hidcote and Lavender Munstead. You can find an excellent selection of Lavender seeds and plants at "Strictly Medicinal Seeds" in Williams, Oregon. You can usually find Lavender plants and seeds at your local hardware store or gardening center every spring too. If you'd like to grow your own Lavender you can start with seeds or plants. It can be difficult growing Lavender from seed as germination rates can be low. A two week period of cold damp conditioning can improve germination rates. You can do this by planting your seeds in a small amount of soil, water well , cover the pot with a plastic bag and put the pots in your fridge for at least two weeks. After two weeks remove the pots from the fridge and put in a warm spot to sprout. Germination usually takes two to four weeks. A much quicker and easier way to grow your own Lavender is to start with plants or root divisions of a large plant. Cuttings can also be made of new branch tips. Simply remove the leaves from the lower half of the stem, scrape the bottom half of the stem of your cuttings a little bit with a knife, dip in water and then in rooting powder.Add the treated stem to a pot filled with a mixture of vermiculite and fine soil and keep moist until new growth starts to appear. Lavender prefers a sunny spot in well drained soil with a good amount of sand added. It doesn't like it's roots to be too wet, so it's important not to over water. In late fall mulch your plants with pine needles and protect them from cold north winds.You can also grow your Lavender in pots and carry them inside on cold days. Lavender is generally hardy to -20 degrees, but that can vary according to the variety.
Both the leaves and flowers of Lavender can be used for it's healing properties, but the flowers are most often used.. It is an analgesic, anticonvulsive, antiseptic, antimicrobial, antidepressant, antispasmodic , nervine and sedative. The scent also helps keep insects away. Lavender can be made into a tea for stomach aches,colic and to calm coughing spells. Some people use Lavender flowers in baking as well. Infused oil of Lavender can be rubbed on the forehead and back of the neck to help ease headaches and insomnia. It also makes a great relaxing massage oil and calming soak when added to a hot bath. Studies have shown the essential oil of Lavender can destroy many bacterial infections including staph, strep, pnuemonia and flu viruses.Salves including Lavender can be used on burns and other skin injuries. It will also calm the itching from insect bites and stings.
It's not hard to see why Lavender is such a popular herb. With it's wonderful fragrance and healing qualities it's a herb that should be in everyone's garden. Prairie Dawn Herbs offers Lavender flowers in 1 ounce packages (when available) and infused Lavender oil. Lavender flowers are also used in our Sleep Pillows, Bedtime Buddies, Headache Oil, Painease Tincture and Painease Salve.