See­ing DOU­BLE

Two lovely new laven­ders swap the clas­sic pair of winged petals for a clus­tered crown

Gardening Australia - - PLANTS IN FOCUS -

Two laven­ders bred in Aus­tralia and avail­able this spring mark a break­through for this peren­nial favourite. In what is a world first in plant breed­ing, th­ese va­ri­eties have dou­ble flow­ers.

Plant breeder John Robb from Par­adise Plants in New South Wales, who is re­spon­si­ble for the new Lav­ish range, says this flower type rep­re­sents 15 years of work.

They have been bred us­ing the Ital­ian or winged laven­der (La­van­dula stoechas) and Span­ish laven­der (L. pe­dun­cu­lata), which have wing-like petals at the top of each flower spike. The new dou­ble va­ri­eties have not two or three, but a clus­ter of crown­ing wings. The big­ger the plants grow, the more wings are found on their flow­ers, re­sult­ing in a highly frilled ef­fect.

The dou­ble blooms in two tones of pink live up to their Lav­ish name. The lighter pink ‘Lav­ish Musk’ (left) and deep pink ‘Lav­ish Rose’ (above) are the first to be re­leased, while pur­ple, white and a bright pink are set to fol­low later.

grow­ing tips

Dou­ble laven­ders can be grown in tem­per­ate, in­land, Mediter­ranean and cool zones, and are worth a try in the cooler parts of the sub­trop­ics. They need pro­tec­tion from heavy frost.

Th­ese va­ri­eties have a nat­u­rally rounded and com­pact habit to about 50cm high and wide. They tol­er­ate full sun to part shade, and can be grown in the gar­den or in con­tain­ers. The main re­quire­ment is well-drained soil or pot­ting mix for them to grow well.

They pro­duce fra­grant flow­ers from win­ter to spring, and have flushes of blooms at other times. Lightly prune af­ter flow­er­ing to main­tain their shape. Feed in spring and sum­mer.

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