Visiting garden centres when there is a sale on – and there always seem to be some specials going on – is a dangerous thing. The chances that you buy plants that you don’t know where to put and don’t really need is extremely high. Such was the case when I ended up in possession of this plant of the week – Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas). But I must say, I have no regrets purchasing it. It’s a real show-stopper and has been blooming continuously for a month now, and new buds keep on coming.
In addition to Spanish lavender, Lavandula stoechas can also be known as French lavender or Butterfly lavender. It is different from the “common” lavender Lavandula angustifolia. Both species thrive in well drained soil, medium to low fertility soil, loads of sun, little watering and regular pruning (once a year in early spring). But otherwise there are quite a few differences.
The most obvious one is the appearance of the flowers. The blooms of Lavandula stoechas have a much more intense colour and the petals look like they are sprouting out from a capsule. They are beautiful and a bit funny-looking at the same time. The blooms are not only spectacular, but put on a show from May to late summer (just deadhead old ones). Lavandula stoechas also have a considerably shorter lifespan than it’s cousin, is less hardy and not as fragrant.
The short lifespan is relevant if considering using many plants, for example, in a border. After only five years or so they will need to be replaced, which can be a costly affair. Not to mention the work involved. Better then to design your green space growing Lavandula stoechas in a container(s). Not having any other option myself, that is what I’ve done and as stated above am very happy, they put a smile to my face!