Lavender plants (Lavandula), adaptable to many conditions, have many uses including cosmetic appeal, aesthetic impact and fragrance. Making an appearance in gardens as a stand-alone plant or for mass planting, lavender uses reflect the versatility of the plant and its many prized qualities. From lotions to herbal use in foods and teas, the list of functions is diverse.
A highly resilient plant, lavender flowers provide a vibrant purple to lavender to blue-purple splash of color to a garden. Though lavender thrives in full sunlight and prefers well-drained soil with a pH of 6 to 8, it is considered a drought-tolerant plant and can survive in tough conditions, according to the Washington State University Extension Small Farms Team. From rocky soil to warm temperatures, lavender may be used in sites with poor soil quality and in xeriscapes (dry gardens) where low water availability is prevalent.
Oil extracted from the lavender plant through a distillation process is referred to as "essential oil." This oil is said to have calming properties and appears on its own, in scented candles, reed diffusers and in products like lotion that are applied to the body. Inhaling lavender oil or placing it on the body's "pulse points" for a soothing experience is the goal of lavender aromatherapy.
Sachets and Potpourri
Sachets are small fabric sacks filled with dried scented material, whereas potpourri is scented material kept loose on display in bowls or other appropriate casing. As a sachet, lavender makes an appearance for use in home care including closets, dresser drawers and clothing or bath items one wants to keep fresh. When used as potpourri, the strong pleasing scent of lavender may fill a room, often combined with other dried fragrant plants like rose petals, according to the Washington State University Extension Small Farms Team.
Fresh and Dried Bundles
Whether kept fresh or dried, bundles make their way into the hands of florists, craft artists, vendors of farmers' markets and enthusiasts who add the pleasing look and scent to their home or office environment as a design addition.
From hair care to body care, lavender is a widely-used ingredient in cosmetics. Considered an antiseptic and antibacterial, lavender adds a pleasing scent as well as cleansing properties to cosmetics, including shampoos, conditioners, face washes, bath and hand soaps, bath salts and lip balm, according to the Washington State University Extension Small Farms Team.
Chefs and foodies alike use the buds of the lavender plant (usually L.
angustifolia) to add flavor to their food dishes, including dry rubs, herbal mixes and seasoning, explains the Washington State University Extension Small Farms Team. Lavender is also commonly consumed as a hot tea drink.