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Lavandula latifolia, the broad-leaved lavender

Lavandula latifolia

Lavandula latifolia is one of the 3 original lavender varieties.

Lavandula latifolia facts

NameLavandula latifolia
Type – herb sub-shrub

Height – 30-80 cm
Exposure – full sun
Soil – ordinary, well-drained

Foliage: evergreen  –  Flowering: summer → early fall, but depends on weather

Often used as a pollinator to create hybrid lavenders, it also deserves a place of its own in our gardens.

Learn how to care for and grow Lavandula latifolia, and its many amazing uses.

Planting Lavandula latifolia

Depending on whether you’re starting seeds or planting a seedling, you’ll start either at the end of winter or in spring.

L. latifolia from seed

Best is to start sowing young plants in a seed tray or nursery pots towards the end of winter. This is when seeds would naturally fall from the dried flower in the wild.

  • They’ll need 1½ to 2 months of growing before being strong enough to transplant.
  • Transplant to the ground after the last frosts have passed.

Planting Lavandula latifolia from nursery pots

  • Plant your young potted plants in the ground in spring, after the last frosts.

Exposure and soil type for Lavandula latifolia

Planting lavandula latifoliaFull sun and dry soil is best.

  • Wet and waterlogged soil will kill your plant.
  • Alkaline soil is better than acidic soil (neutral soil is fine).

Avoid adding too much compost and keep away from peat, since water retention is the opposite of what L. latifolia requires.

  • Do your best to increase drainage as much as you can.

Lavandula latifolia care

Watering and fertilizing Lavandula latifolia

You won’t need to water or irrigate your Lavandula latifolia, quite the opposite!

  • Only water once upon planting or transplanting the flower.
  • Drainage must be excellent.

Pruning and trimming Lavandula latifolia

  • Prune early on in spring.

Lavandula latifolia leaves on a well cared-for plant.Like all lavenders, Lavandula latifolia won’t grow back from wood that is more than two years old.

  • Usually, a good way to know if wood is old or not is to check if green leaves are still attached to it.
  • Always keep a few leaves attached to the stem, to make sure you haven’t cut too short.

To help the plant grow into a nice, dense, round shape, use long shears and cut into a sphere-like shape. There should still be green leaves, don’t cut back to the point where only stems are left.

Here is a video on how to prune lavender:

Winter care for Lavandula latifolia

Although many sources list this plant as extremely hardy, sometimes down to zone 5 (USDA zone 5 is -20°F or -29°C), such cold will keep it from growing well. It won’t grow thick and lush and blooming will be impaired, if it even blooms!

Best is to consider this plant only hardy down to the low 20s Fahrenheit (-5°Celsius). Any colder will require you to protect the plant in winter.

Here are a few key techniques:

  • Use mulch around the base to keep the cold out, like shale mulch or pozzolana.
  • Avoid plant mulch because it would retain too much moisture.
  • Cover or wrap the plant with horticultural fleece or bubble-wrap.
  • If it gets really cold, stuff hay or dried, dead leaves in the bubble wrap around the plant, too.
  • Once a month on average, on a warmer, dry day, open the bubble wrap to let the plant breathe a bit and renew the air inside.

Learn more about Lavandula latifolia

Origin of Lavandula latifolia

Lavandula latifolia flowerThis type of lavender originates from the Western Mediterranean area. It can be found in rather elevated areas, along hilltops and in lower mountain ranges.

Its native range extends from central Portugal to Northern Italy, with most of Spain and Southern France included. One of the more famous names for this plant is “Portuguese lavender“, but it also goes by the name broadleaved lavender and spike lavender.

It’s one of the least hardy lavender varieties, only surviving with difficulty in temperatures colder than 20°F (-5°C).

Lavandula latifolia essential oil

Compared to the other types of lavender, the essential oil that comes from L. latifolia is among the most effective antibacterials. It also has properties that are antiseptic, antifungal and antiviral.

Its compounds are used to treat snake venom. This historical use appears in one of the old names for the plant, Lavandula spica. Spica relates to “viper”, a kind of poisonous snake.

Among other positive health benefits, Lavandula latifolia essential oil is also a cardio-tonic, an antispasmodic, an expectorant, a carminative, an emmenagogue, and serves to heal and regenerate skin wounds.

Read also:

Smart tip about Lavendula latifolia

Transplanting Lavandula latifolia from the wild is difficult. Take care to transfer it to a pot that drains extremely well, since the most common mistake is to overwater it over the first few weeks.

Images: CC BY-NC 4.0: Jeremy Barker, dreamstime: Hecos255, Pixabay: GPMMAB, Manfred Richter
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