Bring but­ter­flies and hum­ming­birds to the gar­den with showy sea laven­der

The Tribune (SLO) - - Home & Garden - BY JACKIE WOODS Sarah Linn: 805-781-7907, @she­likestowatch

Na­tive to the Ca­nary Is­lands, sea laven­der is an herba­ceous, ev­er­green peren­nial sub-shrub with dense, rounded dark green leath­ery leaves.

The flow­ers are strik­ingly beau­ti­ful with in­tense pur­ple ca­lyces and white corol­las on stiff, long stems. But­ter­flies and hum­ming­birds are at­tracted to the showy flow­ers.

The fruit of the sea laven­der is a tiny cap­sule con­tain­ing a sin­gle seed, partly en­closed by the ca­lyx. The flower petals are dry and pa­pery at peak bloom.

This plant is known as an “ev­er­last­ing” va­ri­ety, which means that the flower re­tains its shape and color when dried, mak­ing it a fa­vorite to use in dried flower ar­range­ments.

Sea laven­der tol­er­ates salty con­di­tions and well-drained soil but it re­ally thrives in sandy soils, mak­ing it a per­fect choice for sea­side court­yards, rock gar­dens and flower beds. It can de­velop root rot in poorly drained, heavy wet soils.

This plant has large tap­roots, which makes it dif­fi­cult dig up. If us­ing it as a con­tainer plant, choose a deep-bod­ied con­tainer to ac­com­mo­date its tap­root.

Sea laven­der is deer re­sis­tant, but keep an eye out for brown snails which can be a nui­sance.

In the fall and win­ter months, the plant’s fo­liage turns brown, which is nor­mal. Re­mov­ing the spent leaves al­lows for new growth in the spring.

Peren­nial plants that com­ple­ment sea laven­der in­clude yarrow, daylily, echev­e­ria and kan­ga­roo paw.

JACKIE WOODS UCCE Mas­ter Gar­dener

Sea laven­der, also known as seafoam stat­ice, grows well in sandy soils in coastal ar­eas.

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