It spreads that holiday feeling on the balcony, terrace and garden: lavender. With its blue flowers and the unmistakable scent, the Mediterranean plant simply belongs to summer. But how do you actually care for the plant? We asked professional gardeners.
Where does the lavender come from?
The tart-sweet scent was already popular with the Romans, who used it for baths: lavender is derived from lavare, the Latin word for washing. Although lavender itself does not cleanse, it surrounds you with a scent of clarity and freshness. It was also the Romans who brought the aromatic shrub to Germania.
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The best standing word for the lavender
The bee-friendly subshrub comes from the Mediterranean region and therefore needs a sunny and warm location in the garden or on the balcony. The soil should also be dry and medium-heavy to sandy-gravelly. If you plant your lavender in a pot, a layer of gravel or expanded clay as a drainage layer is the be-all and end-all, advise the experts from “Mein schöner Garten”.
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The best cut for the lavender
Dense lavender fields in Provence glow blue. In the home garden, on the other hand, the rain of flowers is usually more sparse. This is due to the less intense sun. But lavender is often cut too little. Without regular pruning, long woody branches develop, at the ends of which there are less leafy short shoots from year to year. The flowering shoots only develop from these short shoots.
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Uncut lavender is also more sensitive to frost. Its tall, sparsely branched shoots offer a larger surface to attack in the cold than dense, compact bushes. Healthy lavender therefore needs scissors. The best time for pruning is in the summer after flowering, when the plant is just beginning to sprout again. The green shoots are shortened by about half to two thirds. The inflorescences and leaves that have been cut off have an intoxicating scent and are far too good to throw away. They are easy to process into scented cushions and scented waters.
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What types of lavender are there?
In addition to common lavender, two other types of lavender are available: dentate lavender (Lavandula dentata), which differs from common lavender in its finely toothed leaves and flowers that are more purple in color, and French lavender (Lavandula stoechas). The latter is adorned with short, strong flower spikes crowned by a cluster of deep purple pseudoflowers. Scent belongs to all three – but only a good nose can tell the difference.
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Lavender: Not everyone is hardy
Lavender can get cold feet in the bucket. Therefore, to be on the safe side, the bucket should be packed in leaves or wrapped with bubble wrap or a coconut mat. Real lavender, botanically Lavandula angustifolia, is basically hardy and survives the cold season outdoors between roses or in herb beds without any protection, according to the Central Horticultural Association (ZVG) in Bonn.
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In contrast to the true lavender, the tooth and French lavender are not hardy. They must therefore be brought indoors in good time so that the cold does not kill them. They want to stand cool, if possible not warmer than ten degrees Celsius, so that they can really relax.
To protect against frost, it makes sense to place a piece of Styrofoam under each lavender container. Regular watering is also important so that the plants do not dry out in winter.
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With lavender against ants and moths
When insects also arrive with spring, the chemical mace should not be used immediately. Home remedies and modern, environmentally friendly means help against unwanted pests just as well, advises the Hamburg Consumer Center. Ants can be chased away with the scent of lavender. Moths are less enthusiastic about freshly washed clothes than they are from worn ones.