Santolina is a Mediterranean plant with silvery evergreen leafage.
Key Santolina facts:
Name – Santolina
Family – Asteraceae
Type – shrub, sub-shrub
Height – 20 to 24 inches (50 to 60 cm)
Exposure – sunny
Soil: ordinary – Foliage: evergreen – Flowering: early summer
Sometimes called cotton lavender, its blooming is worthwhile, too.
Santolina be grown in rocky, dry soil that is poor and arid, and it can also be grown in pots, garden boxes or containers to decorate a patio, deck or balcony.
- Plant preferably in fall, but planting in spring is also possible.
- Select a very sunny spot.
- Santolina tolerates part sun in warm climates.
- Follow our tips on planting.
Pruning and caring for santolina
Santolina demands minimal care and maintenance, it is a plant that is very easy to grow.
- Prune just after the blooming or at the end of winter if the season is mild in your area.You can deadhead to remove wilted flowers.
- Give it the round shape that is typically associated to santolina. Snip away at the plant to shape it, while trying to remain in the “green leafy zone”.
- In a pot, you must water when the soil is completely dry deep down. Water sparingly.
Woody santolina – how should I prune it?
Santolina, like lavender and rosemary, can grow woody, sparse and leggy in time. It’s possible to rejuvenate your cotton lavender in less than half an hour’s work.
- Branches that are “on the rise” have more growth and bear more flowers.
- Those “dying back” are either all dead already or have lots of dead portions, weak growth, and corky bark.
Generally, cut all “dying back” branches back to the trunk or to the nearest junction to a healthier branch. This portion of the pruning you can perform any time in spring, summer or fall. In winter, it’s sometimes harder to tell whether a branch is vigorous or not.
Second, after removing dead and dying wood, wait for fall. That’s the best time to perform “maintenance pruning”: shorten the greenery by half to trigger branching out more flowers in the following spring.
- If it’s really woody, try the same techniques needed to deal with old woody lavender, (the “regular” lavender). It involves hard pruning and maintenance pruning.
All there is to know about santolina
Often used to landscape rocky ground, decorate edges or the sides of alleyways, santolina offers us beautiful summer blooming.
This sub-shrub is melliferous, particularly pleasing to bees, and it is easy to grow and only requires minimal care.
Its flower appears in summer and is humble but very interesting, especially if you want to prepare beautiful dried flower bouquets.
Varieties of Santolina
There are quite a few varieties to chose from nowadays:
- ‘Lemon queen’ santolina, shown here, has ivory-colored pompom flowers
- ‘Small-Ness’ is small enough to grow in tiny pots
- ‘Lemon Fizz’ santolina has bright yellow leafage
Cotton lavender herbal uses
It has medicinal uses, too: oil produced from the plant is used as a de-worming agent, and the flower is drunk in the form of herbal tea for its stimulating properties.
Smart tip about santolina, cotton lavender
Santolina naturally repels clothing moths, it is quite effective if you prepare small bouquets, dry them, and then store them with your clothes in the drawers. In lavender wands, you use only the flower, but for santolina leaves and branches work well, too.