If you want to grow lavender, it’s important to choose the right variety! We introduce lavender varieties and how to grow them, as well as the origin of the word and the language of flowers!
Lavender is one of the most popular flowers in July. Its fresh flower color, grassy appearance, and refreshing fragrance make it a popular plant. Lavender is a herb with a wide range of uses: it is beautiful in the garden, and its essential oil can be used for aromatherapy. This section introduces lavender, its varieties, how to grow it, how it is used in aromatherapy and herbs, and even the language of flowers.
- What kind of flower is lavender?
- There are many theories as to the origin of the word lavender!
- Lavender’s language of flowers includes “sedative,” “silence,” “answer me,” “clean,” “doubt,” “distrust,” “delicate,” “graceful,” and many more!
- The origin of “Sedation,” “Silence,” and “Answer me” in the language of lavender flowers
- Origin of “cleanliness” in the language of lavender
- Origin of “Suspicion” and “Distrust” in lavender’s language of flowers
- How Lavender is used in herbs and aromatherapy
- How Lavender is used as a herb
- How to use Lavender in Aromatherapy
- How to use lavender in the garden
The six main types of lavenders are introduced below!
- Angustifolia type
How to select lavenders, popular varieties, and how to grow them
- English Lavender (Angustifolia type)
- Lavender “Grosso” (Lavandin type)
- Lavender “Gloss Blue” (Lavandin type)
- Lavender “Stoecus” (Stoecus type)
- Lavender “Kew Red” (Stoecus type)
- Lavender “Angel” (Stoecus type)
- Lavender “Dentata” (Dentata type)
- Lavender’s Blue” (Lavender’s Blue), an English nursery rhyme
What kind of flower is lavender?
Lavender, with its fragrant blue-purple flowers, has long been widely used in Europe and the United States as an herb with many medicinal properties in folk medicine and as a fragrance in daily life. In ancient times, lavender oil was used as an embalming agent for Egyptian mummies.
Even today, many people use lavender fragrance in aromatherapy. I love its fresh and herbaceous fragrance.
The silvery leaves are beautiful, and the bushes are well-formed, making it an excellent garden plant.
The world-famous production area for lavender essential oil is Provence, France. In Japan, Furano in Hokkaido is famous. The view of lavender with blue-purple flowers planted in rows all over the area is very beautiful.
The flowering season is from July to August. Harvesting takes place in mid-July, while the flowers are still in good condition, in order to extract the essential oil.
There are many theories as to the origin of the word lavender!
The word lavender is said to derive from the Latin words “lavo” or “lavare,” both of which mean “to wash. For a long time, the common theory of the origin of the word lavender was that the Romans used this herb for washing clothes and scenting their baths, and that is how the herb came to be called lavender.
Some believe that the above theory is a myth since the ancient Greeks and Romans did not commonly use lavender for bathing and that the word comes from the Latin word “livere,” meaning “bluish, bluish.
Lavender’s floral language includes “tranquility,” “silence,” “answer me,” “cleanliness,” “suspicion,” “distrust,” “delicacy,” and “grace!”
Lavender has been used in Western life since ancient times and has a variety of floral sayings. I tried to find out the origin of these words but could only find common theories. Among them, here are some that make a certain amount of sense and some that I found interesting.
The origin of the flower language of lavender: “Calm,” “Silence,” and “Answer me.
The scent of lavender is said to have a calming effect on the mind. For this reason, lavender flowers have been used as a sedative to lull people to sleep by placing lavender sachets around the bed or by stuffing dried lavender flowers in pillows.
This calming effect may have given rise to the flower language of “sedation,” which eventually evolved into “silence,” and then “answer me.
I have seen a theory that “Answer me” is because French lavender flowers, with their large bracts at the tips of their spikes, look like rabbit ears. It’s kind of cute, isn’t it!
The origin of the word “clean” in lavender’s language of flowers
In Roman times, lavender was used for washing and bathing. (Of course, as indicated in the section above, some have pointed out that historically this is not true.) The use of lavender for washing, bathing, and other cleanliness purposes has given rise to the flower language of “cleanliness” for lavender.
Origin of “suspicion” and “distrust” in lavender’s floral language
In the past, before lavender was cultivated on a large scale, people used to pick lavender from the fields. At that time, there was an accident in which a poisonous snake was hiding in a lavender bush and bit someone.
This is said to have given rise to the saying, “Be careful in lavender bushes because snakes may be hiding there,” which became the language of flowers such as “suspicion” and “distrust.
Other words in the language of flowers include “delicate,” “graceful,” and “expectant.
Usage of Lavender in Herbs and Aromatherapy
How Lavender is used as an herb
Lavender oil was used as an embalming agent for mummies, and lavender has been used as a plant with a variety of medicinal properties since ancient times. In Roman times, lavender water was used to wash wounds.
Even today, lavender is said to be a special remedy for insomnia due to its high sedative effect.
Because of its insect repelling properties, dried lavender flowers are hung in chest drawers and closets, used in potpourri as a room freshener, and carried in small scent bags (sachets) in one’s bag.
The flowers can also be made into herbal teas and drunk, candied to make sweets, or used to flavor food.
Because of its wide range of uses, lavender is called the “queen of herbs.
How Lavender is Used in Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy (aromatherapy) is a casual and popular way of relaxing the mind through fragrance in Japan. In Europe, aromatherapy has taken root not only as a way to “relax” but also as alternative medicine that is effective for a wide range of ailments, from trauma and gastroenteritis to gynecological disorders. There are even several schools specializing in aromatherapy.
The basis for this is the experience of a French researcher. In July 1910, René Maurice Gatfosse, a French perfumer and fragrance researcher, suffered severe burns on his upper body during an experiment. A doctor treated him, but his progress was not good, so he used the essential oil of lavender, which was known to be effective against burns in folklore, with good results. From this, aromatherapy was established as alternative medicine that actually worked.
In aromatherapy, the lavender essential oil is highly sedative and relaxes the body and mind. It also has the ability to regulate the autonomic nervous system and is said to be effective in treating stress-related gastrointestinal disorders and insomnia. As the experience of René Maurice Gatfosse shows, it has the ability to reduce inflammation and regenerate the skin, and it is believed to be able to heal scars such as keloids without leaving scars.
Lavender, how it is used in the garden
With its small blue-purple flowers, silvery foliage of many varieties, and natural hemispherical shape, lavender is an excellent garden plant that adds a graceful look to the garden. If you have traveled to England in the summer, you have probably seen thick lavender bushes with blue-purple flowers in the front yards of houses and old castles.
Because of its beautiful grassy appearance, lavender is ideal for the front of a border flower bed, edging a garden path, or as a hedge.
I am sure many people have grown lavender because of the scenery and fragrance. I am sure that most of them have probably lost their lavender within a month or so. Actually, I am one of them.
Lavender is a plant native to the Mediterranean.
While the original lavender is tolerant of cold and dry weather, it is weak against high temperatures and humidity and does not fare well in Japan’s rainy season and mid-summer heat. Therefore, it can be grown in open fields in cooler regions such as Hokkaido, but if you want to plant it in your garden west of the Kanto region, you must choose a variety that is tolerant of heat, or it will not survive the summer and die.
Let’s take a look at what types of lavenders are available and what types of lavenders are easy to grow in gardens west of the Kanto region.
Let’s take a look at the six most common strains of lavender!
Lavender is a member of the Lavandula family, which is native to the Mediterranean region. Lavender is divided into various strains, and each strain has different properties.
Here we introduce the characteristics of lavender and its properties for each of the six representative strains.
This type of lavender grows in cooler climates along the Mediterranean coast, similar to the climate in England.
For this reason, Angustifolia lavender is often called “English lavender. It is sometimes called “common lavender” because it is a basic lavender, or “true lavender” or “true lavender” to distinguish it from other lavenders. The flowering season is from late May to mid-June. Herb height 50-60 cm
A very strong fragrance characterizes the bluish-purple, grain-like flowers. For this reason, this strain of lavender is grown for its fragrance. In addition to fragrances, lavender is used in a variety of other ways, such as dried flowers, for crafts such as lavender sticks, and for flavoring teas and sweets.
The blue-purple color of the flowers is beautiful, and the small green leaves are fresh and fragrant, making it an ideal garden material. The hemispherical clumps of 50-60 cm tall grass give a very fresh impression.
Angustifolia lavenders are very tolerant of cold winters, withstanding temperatures as low as -15°C. On the other hand, they do not tolerate high temperatures and high humidity. On the other hand, it is susceptible to high temperatures and humidity, making it difficult to grow in gardens west of the Kanto region.
Typical varieties are “Hidcote” and “Okamura-saki,” which are planted in Furano, Hokkaido.
Even in the Kanto region, where I live, English lavender potted flowers are sold at flower stores during the flowering season, and I tend to buy them, but I end up ruining them every time.
2, Spica type
Spica lavender grows wild in the western part of the Mediterranean coast and in Portugal. It is characterized by its relatively high tolerance to summer heat. Spica lavender is called “spike lavender” or “latifolia lavender. It is sometimes called “Hiroha Lavender” because of its characteristic broad, silver-gray leaves.
Spica lavender has a clean fragrance, subtracting the sweetness of Angustifolia lavender.
The flowering season is from early August to mid-September, more than two months later than the Angustifolia type. Herb height: 50 cm.
Although it is relatively tolerant of summer heat, it does not fare well in Japan’s hot and humid summers. It is difficult to grow in the garden west of the Kanto region to survive the summer.
Lavandin lavender is a natural or artificial hybrid of Angustifolia and spica. The lavender was bred to extract essential oil for fragrances, and the leaves, as well as the flowers, have a strong, slightly acrid fragrance.
The flowering season is from July to September.
Many of them grow to be large, with a herb height of about 1 meter.
Lavandin-type lavenders are the easiest to grow in the garden because they are both cold- and heat-tolerant.
Typical varieties are “Grosso,” “Impress Purple,” “Arabian Nights,” “Provence,” and “Super Sevillian Blue.
4, Stoecus type
Although they belong to the same lavender genus, the Stoecas lavender differs greatly from other lavenders such as the Angustifolia lavender.
Several large petals (*bracts, not petals) extend from the tips of the oval-shaped flower spikes, giving the flowers a cute, rabbit-eared shape. The Stoecas type is called “French lavender” in Japan. In Europe, it is also called “Italian lavender” or “Spanish lavender,” depending on the region.
The scent of Stoecus lavender is weaker than others, but it has a nice sweet fragrance.
The flowering season is from early April to mid-June. Herb height: 50 to 60 cm
Stoics lavender is highly heated tolerant and can be planted in gardens west of the Kanto region. Cold tolerance is up to -5 degrees Celsius. Stoecas lavenders are ornamental lavenders suitable for garden planting, with lovely flower shapes and heat tolerance, although their fragrance is weak.
Typical varieties are “Avon View” and “Kew Red.
Pterostoecus lavender is generally called “lace lavender” or “fern lavender. Its delicate, finely lobed leaves characterize it. It has a strong, medicinal fragrance.
It is a four-season bloomer, but its cold tolerance and heat tolerance are weak, making it a difficult lavender to grow for advanced users. It will flower all year round if properly maintained in a greenhouse.
The Dentata-type lavender can withstand the heat of summer in Japan.
The flower stalks are thick and firm, and it grows to be large plant. Dentata” means “tooth-like” in Latin. The name is derived from the unique shape of the leaves, which have jagged lobes. It is also called “dentata lavender,” “fringed lavender,” and sometimes “French lavender.
The flowering season is from May to August, but it also blooms in the fall when the plant is full-grown. The plant grows to a height of 60 to 80 cm.
It is tolerant of heat but does not do well in the steamy conditions of the rainy season. During the rainy season, the plants should be trimmed to improve ventilation.
How to choose lavender, popular varieties, and how to grow lavender
There are many different strains of lavender, but the most lavender-like Angustifolia and spica types can be grown in gardens north of the Kanto region or in cooler climates, such as in the Shinshu region.
If you want to plant a garden west of the Kanto region, choose from the lavender, stocks, and data types.
Always check the product tag at the florist to see what type of lavender it is. The best way to be sure is to buy online, where the strains are indicated. Here are some popular lavender varieties by strain.
English Lavender (Angustifolia)
This is a fragrant Angustifolia lavender. It is very tolerant of cold and can survive the winter as an evergreen in the garden except in extremely cold regions. It does not tolerate high temperatures and humidity, so it should be grown in cooler climates. It cannot be grown in gardens west of the Kanto region. It will die in summer.
It prefers well-drained, dry sun. It can be left planted as long as the climate is suitable. It does not need fertilizer, as it does not like high fertilizer.
Lavender ‘Grosso’ (Lavandin type)
Lavandin lavender is a cross between English lavender and spike lavender. It grows up to 1 meter tall and produces large clumps of flowers. It is suitable for making lavender sticks and wreaths, as the flower spikes are 5 to 6 cm long and the flower stalks are 40 cm long.
It prefers well-drained, dry, sunny soil that is not fertile. In rainy areas, rows can be made to improve drainage. After flowering, the plants should be trimmed to improve ventilation. It can be planted in gardens west of the Kanto region. It is not suitable for very cold climates, as it may wither at temperatures of -10°C in winter.
Lavender “Gros Bleu” (Lavandin type)
This is the deepest purple lavender. The color is deep purple even from the buds, making it ideal for adding color to the garden. Because it is of the lavender type, it can be planted in gardens west of the Kanto region.
Lavender “Stoecus” (Stoecus type)
Lavender “Stoecus” is a species of Stoecus lavender. It produces beautiful silvery-gray clumps.
It is characterized by the rabbit-eared ribbon at the top of each ear.
Stoecas lavenders are relatively heated and tolerant and can survive the summer even in areas west of the Kanto region. However, it is not extremely heat tolerant, so it is best to keep it in a cool place in summer. It prefers a well-drained sunny position.
Lavender ‘Kew Red’ (Stoecus type)
This is a Stoecus-type lavender with oval, pineapple-like flowers with deep reddish-purple spikes and pretty pink bracts at the ends. Stoecus lavenders can be planted in gardens west of the Kanto region.
Lavender “Angel” (Stoecus type)
This variety has white bracts resembling the wings of an angel on top of ears of dark purple flowers. Stoecus lavender can be planted in gardens west of the Kanto region.
Lavender “Dentata” (Dentata type)
Dentata is a highly heat-tolerant variety characterized by its silvery-gray, jagged leaves. It can survive the summer in gardens west of the Kanto region.
It can be used to create beautiful silver-gray borders and hedges as long as it is managed carefully during the rainy season. When the plant is fully grown, you can enjoy its flowers twice a year, in early summer and autumn, making it a very enjoyable variety.
The English nursery rhyme “Lavender’s Blue” (Lavender’s Blue)
There is a nursery rhyme called “Lavender’s Blue” that has been sung in England since around the 17th century. It is still sung today as a standard lullaby in England.
Here are some of the lyrics in both the original and translated versions.
Lavender’s blue, dilly, dilly, lavender’s green,
When I am king, dilly, dilly, You shall be queen
Who told you so, dilly, dilly, who told you so?
‘Twas my own heart, dilly, dilly, that told me so.
This song, with a very relaxed tune, gained attention as an insert song for Disney’s live-action Cinderella, which was released in 2015. Some of you may remember this song sung by Mitsuki Takahata.
Lavender’s flower color is blue-purple. Blue-purple is the color of royalty, also known as “royal blue. However, lavender is a flower rooted in the lives of ordinary people. It is not the flower of royalty. Perhaps this is where the song was born.
I summarized lavender. Lavender is a flower that the common people have loved for a long time because of its medicinal properties. In particular, it is known as an herb that brings about a good night’s sleep because of its excellent calming effect that relaxes the mind. Some of you may have tried its effects. How was the result? Were they subtle?
When I spoke to a female doctor who is familiar with herbs and aromatherapy, she told me something like this.
The area of the brain responsible for scent is located near the hippocampus. The hippocampus plays an important role in memory and recall. This is why people tend to associate scents with memories. If we make good use of this in our daily lives, we can get unexpected benefits.
For example, place lavender-scented items around your pillow and make it a habit always to smell lavender when you go to sleep. If the hippocampus remembers this habit, then just smelling lavender during the day will make you sleepy. You can also make the hippocampus remember that the smell of mint = gives time to concentrate by always smelling mint when you are studying.
Since he is a doctor, he could not just be talking about folk remedies such as “lavender has a restful sleep effect,” so he gave us an explanation based on sound medical evidence.
The trick seems to be to make it a habit. Please take a look!