Lavandula x intermedia ‘Grosso’ (Purple Lavandin) – A selection of Lavandin (Lavandula x intermedia), the natural hybrid of Lavandula angustifolia and L. latifolia. This plant grows as a mound to about 2 feet tall by 3 feet wide with fragrant narrow leaves that when in active growth are green but age to gray-green. In summer rise the 12 to 18 inch long peduncles topped by a compact 3 to 4 inch long spike of sweet smelling dark purple flowers. This plant appreciates an open sunny location where it can grow well in poor alkaline soil. It quite drought tolerant and needs only be irrigated occasionally to infrequently once established – over watered plants are floppy and weaker and dislikes overly wet conditions . It is cold hardy to below 15 degrees F and can be long lived if pruned hard after flowering in late summer – cut back deep into the leafy stems above the hard wood but do not prune in late fall or winter. Some recommend replacing plants every 5 years or so but we have old lavender in our garden that are much older than this. Lavender are attractive to bees and butterflies but not particularly to browsing animals – deer tend to leave alone but rabbits sometimes nibble it. This lavender variety is the one most commonly used to extract lavender oil and is great in the garden and useful for fresh sachets, dried for potpourri and the edible flowers for salads or cooking. It was discovered in a deserted lavender field in Vaucluse District of France in 1972 by longtime lavender grower Pierre Grosso (1905-1989). Grosso took cuttings of the plant and resulting crops were more vigorous with higher yields than all other field varieties. By 1980 80% of the field grown lavandin was of this this variety. It has also been known by such names as ‘Dilly Dilly’, ‘Wilson’s Giant’ and ‘Wilson Grant’. Though its aroma is more camphorus than other varieties, this and its high yield made it useful by the detergent industry. Its long stems also make it very good for dried bouquets. We have grown this plant since 1993 in our nursery and also grow the other Lavandin cultivars Lavandula x intermedia ‘Alba’, Lavandula x intermedia ‘Provence’ and Lavandula x intermedia Phenomenal . The information on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery’s garden and in other gardens that we have observed it in. We also will incorporate comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that might aid others in growing Lavandula x intermedia Grosso.

What Is Grosso Lavender – How To Grow Lavender “Grosso”

Nothing pleases the senses quite like a mass planting of lavender – the velvety spikes of purple blooms set against silvery-blue fine foliage; the busy bees, butterflies, and hummingbird moths flitting from flower to flower; and the heavenly scent of those blooms that can undo all the stressors of the day with just one whiff.

However, many gardeners have difficulty growing lavender, as they have a reputation of being somewhat picky about where they are grown. Fortunately, we live in an age where plant breeders recognize problems and swiftly create new tougher varieties. One such tough, reliable hybrid is Grosso lavender. Continue reading for all the perks of growing Grosso lavender plants.

What is Grosso Lavender?

Grosso lavender, scientifically known as Lavendula x intermedia ‘Grosso,’ is a woody perennial hybrid of English lavender and Portuguese lavender. Lavender hybrids of these parent plants are generally known as lavadins, and incorporate all the beauty and fragrance of English lavender with the resistance and tolerance of Portuguese lavender.

Not just a favorite for beds, borders or mass plantings in the home landscape, Grosso lavender is also the most widely cultivated lavender variety for its essential oils. Its long lasting blooms and fragrance are excellent for cut flowers, dry flowers, oil infusions, potpourri, and other crafts, as well as in culinary and herbal recipes.

This is also an excellent plant to grow for honeybees. Harvest the large, deep purple to blue blooms of Grosso lavender from mid to late summer, just as the buds open, on dewy mornings when blooms a laden with natural essential oils.

Growing Grosso Lavender Plants

Like all lavender, Grosso lavender plants require full sun and well-draining soil. However, Grosso lavender does not struggle quite as much as English lavender in the cool, wet conditions of spring or fall in cooler regions. It also can stand up to the hot, arid summers of warm regions better than other lavenders.

Hardy in zones 5-10, Grosso lavender plants will grow best when planted in slightly sandy to rocky soil, with excellent air circulation. Even this tough hybrid cannot handle extremely humid regions, or overcrowding and shading from other plants.

Grosso lavender plants are rabbit and deer resistant, and drought tolerant once established. They seem to thrive in poor, infertile soils where other perennials suffer. To keep plants looking their best, water deeply but infrequently and apply a general slow release fertilizer in spring. For tidy looking plants, deadhead spent blooms.

Lavender X Intermedia (LAVANDIN)

These lavenders are a cross ( Hybrid) between Lavandula angustifolia and Lavandula latifolia. This is where the name intermedia comes from as in between. They are typically much larger and more robust in growth than L. angustifolia, often reaching over 4ft in height and width. They are wonderful to fill larger spaces in gardens or for creating large flowering hedges. They have broader leaves than L. angustifolia and have much longer flowering stalks making up to 2/3 rds of the plants height. The long stems make them suitable for use in the house as a cut flower.
Lavandula x intermedia varieties are grown in the lavender fields at Norfolk Lavender for oil production. They produce much larger quantities of oil than L. angustifolia sometimes as much as 10 times more. Unfortunately the oil is not of the same quality, it has a stronger camphor tone, and is mainly used in detergents, soaps and cheaper perfumes.

Origins

Where the parent plants overlapped mainly in South East France.

Growing Hint

Prune back the flower stalks to the main foliage as soon as the flowers fade , no later than mid September.

Lavender

The name is thought to have come from the Latin lavando, part of the verb lavare, meaning to wash. Romans added the flowers to their communal baths to ease their aching limbs.

This multipurpose herb has also been used as a perfume, air freshener, antiseptic, sleep-inducer, pesticide, lice repellent and even a corpse embalmer! It is also eaten: Elizabeth I was known to prefer to eat lavender conserve with lamb above all else.

The Greek physician Dioscorides (c. AD 40-90) was the first to note the medicinal properties of lavender. He recommended its use in a tea-like infusion for chest complaints and claimed it had laxative qualities. Pliny the Elder (c. AD 23-79) suggested its use during bereavement and to promote menstruation. During the Middle Ages lavender became an important part of the medicine cabinet and was used to treat many illnesses. Although the development of modern medicine in the 19th century saw lavender fall out of favour, it has become popular again recently, and is used in aromatherapy, skin-grafting surgery and to relieve burns. Research is also being carried out into its possible uses to prevent cancer and control gastro-intestinal disorders.

Lavandula x intermedia ‘Grosso’ (Lavender, ‘Grosso’) Herb Plant

Lavender ‘Grosso’ (Lavandula x intermedia ‘Grosso’) Herb in 9cm Pot

Lavender ‘Grosso’ is a strongly aromatic shrub, in fact it is probably the most fragrant lavender, it is a tall variety growing 80-90cm tall, and is well-recognised for its beautiful scented flowers, and grey-green foliage. The flowers of Lavender ‘Grosso’ are dark purple/blue, produced on spikes at the top of slender, leafless stems 30-40 cm long.

Lavandula x intermedia are tall and tough lavender’s hardy to -15°C,they can cope with a pretty bad English winter, however they will not tolerate damp conditions. They all have broader leaves and longer flower stalks than the angustifolia species, making them particularly suited to using as a cut flower. They work best as a specimen in a borders or a pot or as an informal flowering hedge. The evergreen nature of the silvery leaves make it an ideal hedging and garden plant as it will give structure to a garden throughout the year . The flowers are also particularly attractive to bees.

Lavender is a flowering plant in the family Lamiaceae, native to the Mediterranean region and as such prefers a light free-draining soil and an open sunny sheltered position. Lavender enjoys being cut back hard (to 2 cm above the hardwood) after flowering in mid Sept and to maintain a neat shape they can be trimmed again in Spring after the first flush of new growth. Ideally plants should be replaced every 3-4 years as they will eventually become woody at the base especially if not regularly pruned, however, with the correct regular pruning they can last much longer.

Herb Usage

The flowers of all Lavenders have long been harvested for their essential oil, as well as its insect repellent properties, infusions can ease headaches and encourage restfulness. Dried Flower heads can be used in Lavender pillows to freshen clothes and repel insects in drawers. Dried Flowers can also be used in cooking such as lavender biscuits .This is the most popular species grown commercially for oil extraction. Use this variety sparingly as a culinary herb, it’s best to use it in cooked food as it has a more lively flavour than the Angustifolia varieties.

Buy Lavender ‘Grosso’ Online

Our potted Lavender ‘Grosso’ herb plants are generally available to buy online all year round.

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