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Gardening in the Rainy Zone.
Lavandula stoechas 'Otto Quast'
SPANISH LAVENDER, FRENCH LAVENDER
Pronounced: lah-VAN-dew-lah STOY-kas
Sunset zones: 4-24.
USDA zones: 8-9 (possibly 7).
Heat zones: 9-8
Height: 12-36 inches (30-90 cm).
Width: 24 inches (60 cm).
Late spring to summer.
One and a quarter inch long spikes topped with purple bracts on top of fragrant dark purple flowers along the spike.
Light green, evergreen leaves.
Well-drained, loose soil.
None to very light feeding.
Sow seeds at 68°F (20°C); if no germination in 3-4 weeks, bring to temperatures of 24-39°F (-4 to +4°C) for another 2-4 weeks.
Softwood cuttings in summer.
Prune after flowers fade, taking off the flower stem, to extend the blooming season.
Rainy Side Notes
Stoechas means "of the Stoechades," now called the Isles d'Hyères, off the southern coast of France near Toulon. Lavandula stoechas is Spanish lavender that is sometimes called French lavender, because it grows in the wild there. The name rabbit ears, as others call it, comeS from the long bracts on top of the flower head.
Even though the cultivar L. 'Otto Quast' is one of the showiest lavenders in the garden, it doesn't have the same fragrance as other lavender varieties. The fragrance smells like a cross between a lavender and rosemary. What it lacks in true lavender fragrance it makes up with evergreen leaves looking exceptional year round. From the species L. stoechas, is derived an extracted French oil. The oil is used to make air fresheners and deodorants, among other items.
L. 'Otto Quast' is perfectly suited to our cool summers and mild winters; however, it needs good drainage. Grow them as a short evergreen hedge, ground cover in drifts or a single specimen plant. It is one of the first of the lavenders to come into bloom, and during mild winters, mine bloom sporadically throughout the season. I planted mine with woolly thyme, a pleasing combination. The bees and butterflies flock to the tiny flowers of this herb.
Photographed in author's garden.