Botanical: Lavandula intermedia 'Grosso'
General Characteristics: Lavender is a herb rich in history and culture. Long prized for its scent and healing properties, it is also one of the most beloved plants in the garden. People who grow lavender for market usually grow this variety. 'Grosso' is used in aromatherapy oils because of its wonderful fragrance. The very attractive 24-36" tall plants will throw long violet flower spikes. 'Grosso' flowers are true blue when dried. Lavender has had its place in the hearts of men and women almost since the beginning of time. In ancient Rome lavender was recognized for its healing and antiseptic qualities, its ability to deter insects, and for washing. The name of lavender comes from the Latin word Ã¢â‚¬ËœlavareÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ meaning Ã¢â‚¬Ëœto washÃ¢â‚¬â„¢, and was used as a ritual bathing herb in ancient Rome.
'Grosso' is a popular hybrid lavender for the herb garden. Although it may be used for culinary purposes, it is more often used as an addition to sachets and potpourris. It is a semi-woody plant that typically grows in a shrubby mound to 24-36" tall. Gray-green leaves (to 2 1/2" long and 1/4" wide) on square stems. Flowers appear in terminal spikes in summer. Both foliage and flowers are highly aromatic. Leaves are evergreen in warm winter climates. Hybrid cultivars vary somewhat in habit, flower color, aromatic intensity and bloom time. 'Grosso' is a mounded, shrubby cultivar that grows to 2-3' tall and features silver-green foliage and very fragrant lavender flowers in summer. Flower spikes are unusually large and plump for this cultivar, rising well above the foliage mound.
Use: This is a versatile garden perennial that should be considered for a wide variety of uses and not just relegated to a corner of the herb garden. Lavender flowers and gray-green leaves provide mid-summer color and contrast to the perennial border front, rock garden, herb garden or scented garden. Can be particularly effective when massed. Also effective as an edger or low hedge.