A REAL Lavender for the South! Sweet!

March 27, 2014 | By | Comments (14)
Lavender

Candy Traven enjoys her ‘Phenomenal’ lavender. Photo: Axiomcom.com

We can grow many great plants in the South, but up until now traditional lavender hasn’t been one of them. It didn’t like our soil and climate and would collapse and die in a heartbeat. But now there’s hope with a new lavender that’s simply ‘Phenomenal.’

Actually, ‘Phenomenal’ is its name. It’s disease-resistant, tolerates heat and humidity, and is also deer-proof. Its purple blooms are extremely fragrant, not like those of the Spanish lavender (Lavendula stoechas) we’ve been forced to settle for in the South. They’re good for cutting, making sachets, and so forth. Their high oil content makes them perfect for use in baking, cocktails, and other delectables.

Who do we have to thank for this Herculean herb? Wholesale plant growers Lloyd and Candy Traven of Peace Tree Farm in Kitnersville, Pennsylvania. Lloyd recounts their discovery of ‘Phenomenal.’

“We were doing custom propagation for a lavender farm,” he says,  “including varieties like ‘Grosso,’ ‘Hidcote,’ ‘Munstead,’ ‘Edelweiss,’ and others. Losing them by the thousands—EXCEPT one patch in one flat of ‘Grosso’ [the most widely planted kind in France and renowned for fragrance] that was glowing like a pulsar and thriving. We separated and watched and started selecting. Did trials alongside regular ‘Grosso’ and the other varieties in areas where we knew there was disease in the soil, and it simply does not die. Saw how incredibly UNIFORM it is. It has trialed all over the planet now… simply, a quantum leap in performance compared to any others.”

The ‘Phenomenal’ Facts

Lavender

Photo: Axiomcom.com

‘Phenomenal’ lavender has been tested all over the South, including such prominent trial gardens as the Dallas Arboretum and the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, and passed with flying colors. It grows well in hot, sticky Florida, where other lavenders go to die. It grows 3 to 4 feet tall, 2 to 3 feet wide, with silvery-green foliage. It’s hardy throughout the South (USDA Zones 5-10). Give it full sun and excellent drainage.

Drainage is the key. Don’t expect great things if you plant it in wet clay. Lean, gritty soil is much better. Its need for good drainage makes it an excellent choice for growing in containers filled with good potting soil.

Where To Buy
With luminaries like Grumpy going gaga over this plant, you shouldn’t have trouble finding it in garden centers this spring and summer. Go out and buy a plant — before I buy all of them for me.

COMMENTS

  1. Steve Bender

    It could possibly produce seedlings, but it’s not going to spread by runners.

    April 9, 2014 at 11:00 am
  2. Shirley

    Will this new lavender plant reseed or keep spreading? Zone 9 central, Florida.

    April 7, 2014 at 1:40 pm
  3. Jessica

    So excited and Grateful for the discovery! I will be on the lookout for this plant in sunny FL!

    April 5, 2014 at 10:37 pm
  4. Trish

    Thanks!

    April 4, 2014 at 8:32 am
  5. Steve Bender

    You can order this plant from whiteflowerfarm.com.

    April 3, 2014 at 4:15 pm
  6. Jayme finley

    I just grabbed 3 trays of the Phenomenal Lavender from my broker, and it doesn’t appear to be anywhere on the west coast. Hopefully the supplier will be producing more for us!

    April 3, 2014 at 11:22 am
  7. Trish

    I’ve called all of the local nurseries in Gainesville, Fl and can’t find any. No one seems to have heard of it, or can’t find where (their wholesaler) to order it. I’d appreciate knowing any resources for purchasing.

    April 2, 2014 at 10:41 am
  8. Tips for planting lavender in New Orleans gardens. There’s a trick to it. – The Times | Gardening

    […] Friday, I wrote about a new hybrid lavender, called ‘Phenomenal,’ that, according to Southern Living magazine, reportedly grows well in the South. New Orleans-area gardeners took note — and flooded my […]

    April 1, 2014 at 6:59 am
  9. Tips for planting lavender in New Orleans gardens. There’s a trick to it. – The Times | AiDaIa – Gardening

    […] Friday, I wrote about a new hybrid lavender, called ‘Phenomenal,’ that, according to Southern Living magazine, reportedly grows well in the South. New Orleans-area gardeners took note — and flooded my […]

    March 31, 2014 at 7:09 pm
  10. Steve Bender

    Grumpy is delighted to give each of you hope.

    March 28, 2014 at 2:20 pm
  11. SmplySuzy

    This native Floridian is alternating dancing & shouting Phenomenal! Grateful to all the horticulturists him a new cultivars possible! Thank you!

    March 27, 2014 at 1:55 pm
  12. Marcia A. Daniel

    Cannot wait to add this to my garden. We’re having to replant and repair our entire back due to two ice storms in one week,a white oak falling on our patio cover,pergola, deck and hitting our house. We are in the Piedmont area of North Carolina and last year I lost all of my lavender due to sudden death syndrome. This sounds ‘Phenomenal.’

    March 27, 2014 at 10:59 am
  13. Carolyn Choi

    Save some for your long suffering fans, Grumpy. Thanks for letting me know about this great plant, my deer will love you for this .

    March 27, 2014 at 10:12 am
  14. Kylee Baumle

    I’ll be adding this to my garden this spring! I actually have two plants and while I’m not sure yet whether they’ve survived the Arctic winter we’ve had (and seem to be STILL having…talk about being GRUMPY…), I have confidence that they’ll come through with flying colors. More! I want more!

    March 27, 2014 at 10:09 am

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