Santolina chamaecyparissus- cotton lavender is a small and compact evergreen shrub. It has narrow silvery-grey leaves which are very aromatic. It shoots out clusters of yellow flowers in summer.
Cotton lavender is a great plant for herb gardens where it can act as an insect repellent. Apparently the dried leaves can be used in moth repelling sachets. Also great in containers or as a border.
Best grown in a position in full sun. Prefers well drained soil. Tolerant of periods of dryness.
Botanical name: Santolina chamaecyparissus
Common name: cotton lavender
Native to: western and central mediterranean
Position: Full sun
How and when should you prune cotton lavender?
Cotton lavender plants should be given a light prune after flowering. This will help keep the plant looking good year round and maintain a nice compact shape.
We do find that in the garden it needs a hard prune every 2-3 years. The best time to give a hard prune is the middle of spring.
When we say hard prune, we mean hard prune cut it right down to 10-15cm above the ground. Nice the sides a trim also, cut it down to a small ball shape.
It will look woody and ugly but don't worry, in a couple of weeks new shoots should be emerging. In a month or so the new foliage should look amazing.
Is cotton lavender drought tolerant?
Yes. Cotton lavender is incredibly tolerant of dry periods. We have ours planted in a very dry zone of the garden and they thrive!
Cotton lavender also does really well in sandy soil.
Is santolina chamaecyparissus a perenial?
Yes. Cotton lavender is an evergreen perennial. We have had the same plants in our garden for over 10 years now.
They look great all year round provided they get a light trim after flowering and a hard trim every couple of years.
Could i use cotton lavender as a low hedge?
It's not something we have done. But i cant see why not. Cotton lavender only reaches about 1/2 a metre in height, yet spreads to about 75cm.
It certainly could form and interesting border hedge around a colourful cottage garden. If we were to try it, i would space the plants 30-50cm apart.
Pests and diseases.
We haven't had an issues in the 15 odd years we've been growing them.
How do you propagate cotton lavender?
We use softwood cuttings taken during the warmer times of the year. To strike the roots we place the cuttings in a mix of perlite and peat moss. For further instructions read this article or check out the short video below.