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Santolina Chamaecyparissus - Lavender Cotton

Characteristics:This evergreen shrub has neat, fragrant, narrow, and crinkled leaves on mound-shaped plants about 2 feet high. Soft gray leaves give it its name, lavender cotton, also known as gray santolina. Keep the leaves clipped for formal knot gardens, edgings, or clusters, or let the yellow, ball-like flowers emerge for extra color in an informal garden.

Growing Information: Like all gray herbs, provide full sun and soil with excellent drainage. In spring, when the new growth emerges, cut off barren stems and cut back healthy stems a little to encourage bushy new growth. In cold climates, mulch with pine boughs during winter.

Propagation: Grow more lavender cotton by layering in the fall or taking cuttings in the spring.

Cultivars: You can find cultivars such as 'Plumosus' with finely cut, feathery-looking leaves.

Possible Problems: Choose a site with good air circulation to prevent rot and death in hot and humid weather.

Harvesting and Using: Make use of the bright foliage for knot gardens, edgings, clumps, and mixed borders. You can cut sprigs for flower arrangements and tussie mussies. You can also use it dried in herb wreaths and potpourri.

Related Herbs: Green santolina (S. virens) looks similar to its gray brother but is bright green with a slightly different fragrance and different foliage texture. S. neapolitana, rarely sold in the United States, has lacy foliage that's almost white.

Green Santolina Lavender Cotton

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