How to Plant and Grow Sea Lavender

Use the flowers of this pretty perennial to create stunning dried bouquets.

While the delicate blossoms of sea lavender (Limonium latifolium) look fragile, this plant is a hardy perennial. It's often grown as a cut flower and used in dried floral bouquets because it is easy to preserve. Sea lavender can grow in almost any garden, given the right conditions. It can even grow on the side of a cliff and is capable of thriving in hot and windy conditions.

The colorful part of sea lavender flowers is the calyx, a botanical term for the outermost ring of sepals that are usually green on most flowering plants. Available in shades of blue, pink, purple, lavender, and white, the papery calyces make sea lavender popular for cutting because they hold onto their color much longer than the tiny white flowers inside them. Once cut, the calyces dry well and can last for months.

This perennial's leaves are held close to the ground in a basal rosette. From this grouping of foliage, the long flower stems develop. This makes sea lavender easy to tuck in among other perennials because the foliage remains mostly hidden, allowing the flowers to stand out.

Sea Lavender Overview

Genus Name Limonium latifolium
Common Name Sea Lavender
Plant Type Perennial
Light Part Sun, Sun
Height 9 to 36 inches
Width 12 to 18 inches
Flower Color Blue, Pink, Purple, White
Foliage Color Blue/Green
Season Features Fall Bloom, Summer Bloom
Special Features Attracts Birds, Cut Flowers, Good for Containers, Low Maintenance
Zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Propagation Seed, Stem Cuttings
Problem Solvers Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant

Where to Plant Sea Lavender

Sea lavender is native to coastal areas, so it tolerates salty conditions and thrives in sandy soil. However, it can grow in other areas with average, well-draining garden soil as long as it receives full sun. It is happy growing from rocky outcroppings, which makes it an excellent candidate for a rock garden or on a slope, and it is lovely in a cottage garden.

How and When to Plant Sea Lavender

Nursery-grown sea lavender plants can be planted in spring or fall, while seeds are best sown in spring. For plants, dig a hole slightly bigger than the root ball. Remove the plant from the nursery container and carefully position it in the hole, being careful not to damage the root ball or tap root. Firm the soil and water the plant.

Because sea lavender's long tap root means it is not tolerant of being transplanted, it is often better to sow seed directly on the surface of a prepared seed bed. Wait until after the last spring frost and sow groups of three or four seeds spaced 18-24 inches apart. As they grow, thin each group to the most vigorous plant. Be patient. It takes three to four years for seed-sown plants to mature.

Sea Lavender Care Tips


This tough perennial is best planted in full sun to encourage the most flowers possible and also the densest display. Full sun also helps to keep the plant dry and prevents root rot.

Soil and Water

Part of sea lavender's drought tolerance is due to the large taproot that allows the plant to take up water from well below the soil surface. During the first year, give sea lavender an average amount of water—1 inch a week—but be careful not to overwater. The plant is drought-tolerant and rarely needs supplemental water after it is established.

Temperature and Humidity

Sea lavender can tolerate heat but not frost. Most varieties are winter hardy to zone 4. The plant prefers dry conditions and doesn't tolerate high humidity well.


Sea lavender doesn't require frequent fertilization. A light application in early spring of a water-soluble fertilizer low in nitrogen is sufficient. Follow the product instructions for quantity. Overfertilization may result in a lot of foliage and few (or no!) flowers.


This plant doesn't need much pruning, but cut it back by one-third after it flowers. Remove dead or damaged leaves in early spring to make room for new growth and improve the plant's appearance.

Potting and Repotting Sea Lavender

Sea lavender can be grown in deep patio pots for bold color in the seating area. Fill the pot with moist sandy potting soil. Add nursery-grown plants or sow seeds and barely cover them. Place the pot in a full sun location and give it an inch of water once a week. Don't plan on repotting sea lavender. It doesn't tolerate transplanting well.

Pests and Problems

Most familiar garden pests seem to avoid sea lavender, but it is sometimes affected by rust, root rot, or crown rot, which occur when the plant grows in wet conditions. Thinning the plants to improve air circulation and improving soil drainage helps.

How to Propagate Sea Lavender

Sea lavender can be propagated by stem cuttings and seeds.

Cuttings: Cut 6 inches from the end of a softwood stem on an established plant. Remove any foliage from the bottom half of the cutting and dip it into a rooting hormone. Insert at least half of the cutting into a small pot filled with moist, sandy potting soil. Place the pot in a warm, bright light location and monitor it for six to eight weeks, adding water as needed to keep the planting medium moist but not wet. After the plant shows new growth, slowly acclimate it to a full-sun exposure before transplanting it outside permanently.

Seeds: Seed pods form within the flower after the bloom is spent, so don't deadhead sea lavender; allow some flowers to develop seed pods and dry on the plant. Collect the seeds by shaking the flowerhead over a container, catching them as they fall or by cutting the flowerhead and popping it into a paper bag, giving it a good shake to loosen the seeds. When they are completely dry, they can be stored. The seeds need a period of cold stratification before they can be sown, so place them in the refrigerator for a couple of months before planting time.

Types of Sea Lavender

'Blue Cloud' Sea Lavender

Lovely Limonium latifolium 'Blue Cloud' blooms from late summer to early fall and grows 6-30 inches tall. Its leaves are up to 12 inches long, and the plant is covered with blue and purple flowers and white calyces. Zones 4-9

'Collier's Pink' Sea Lavender

Limonium latifolium 'Collier's Pink' brings pink sea lavender to the garden. Growing 18-30 inches tall, this plant appreciates shade from hot afternoon sun when growing in the warmest climates. Zone 4-9

'Misty Blue' Sea Lavender

Limonium latifolium x bellidifolium 'Misty Blue' is part of the Misty series of sea lavender. One of the tallest sea lavenders, it grows 24-36 inches and has an upright habit. It is an excellent cut flower. Zones 4-9.

Sea Lavender Companion Plants


Dianthus Feuerhexe
Denny Schrock

The quintessential cottage flower, dianthus, commonly called pinks, are treasured for their grasslike blue-green foliage and abundant starry flowers, which are often spicily fragrant. Depending on the type of pink, flowers appear in spring or summer and tend to be pink, red, white, rose, or lavender, but come in nearly all shades except true blue. Plants range from tiny creeping groundcovers to 30-inch-tall cut flowers, which are a favorite with florists. The foliage is blue-green.

Dusty Miller

Dusty miller plant
Tom McWilliam

Dusty miller is a favorite because it looks good with everything. The silvery-white color is a great foil for any garden blossom, and the fine-textured foliage creates a beautiful contrast against other plants' green foliage. Dusty miller has also earned its place in the garden because it's delightfully easy to grow, withstanding heat and drought like a champion.

Red Hot Poker

Kniphofia Red Hot Poker
Laurie Dickson

Tall, dramatic red-hot pokers create architectural impact in sunny gardens. Their bold spikes of brilliantly colored tubular flowers are set among sword-shaped leaves. Most varieties are hybrid selections. They need humus-rich soil that is well-drained and light.

New Zealand Flax

potted Phormium
Jeff McNamara

Bring a note of the tropics to your garden with the bold, colorful, strappy leaves of New Zealand flax. They are excellent as container plants that can be overwintered with protection, but in warm areas, they're spectacular planted directly in the ground. Flower panicles may reach 12 feet tall in some selections with red or yellow tubular flowers. Blooms only appear in mild climates, but they attract many species of birds. If space is limited, check out dwarf forms. While New Zealand flax is a popular perennial in frost-free areas, it's becoming increasingly loved in northern regions, where it's treated as an annual.

Sea Lavender Garden Plan

Drought-Tolerant Plants for Slopes Plan

Water penetrates poorly on a slope, and a lot of it runs off before it soaks in. That can make sloping land a tricky situation for planting, but this garden plan features several drought-tolerant perennials that thrive in hot, dry, sunny conditions. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is sea lavender the same as the herb lavender?

    Despite the name similarity, the two plants are not related. The familiar lavender usually found in the herb garden is a member of the Lavandula genus. Sea lavender doesn't have the same pleasing scent as the herb.

  • How long does sea lavender live?

    Under ideal conditions, sea lavender can live for up to 15 years. It may self-seed unless it is deadheaded.

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