Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Santolina chamaecyparissus, Cotton Lavender

Provence, France the home of Santolina
Silver foliaged Santolina or 'Cotton Lavender'
(Abrotano hembra or Abrotano-femea)
In the south of France ,where this is native, it is called the 'Petit cypres', a reference to the pine like aromatic foliage or its similarity to the compact habit of a dwarf Cypress pine. It is also native to Spain and Portugal.To some, the foliage smells like a mix of olive oil and turpentine .Whatever it reminds you of ,it has been used together with lavender as a moth repellent and as a home remedy to control insects indoors. To grow this well you need a Mediterranean climate of hot dry summers. It also prefers poor soils a little on the alkaline side. The yellow or cream button flowers smother the bush in early summer and are best trimmed off once they are finished to keep the plant compact. In coastal climates with high humidity plants may only last a few seasons before they fall apart and become untidy. It is still worth growing and now is a good time to take cuttings of semi ripe wood of this easily grown plant.
2017 update: I no longer grow this.

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