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While the delicate blossoms of sea lavender look fragile, it is a hardy perennial. Sea lavender is often grown as a cut flower and, because it is easy to preserve, used in dried floral bouquets. Sea lavender can be grown 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.
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Part Sun, Sun
From 6 inches to 3 feet
Up to 2 feet
What many consider to be the flowers of sea lavender are actually showy calyces. Available in shades of blue, pink, purple, lavender, and white, sea lavender calyces contrast against its coarse-textured foliage. These colorful, papery calyces are what make sea lavender so popular for cutting, because they hold onto their color much longer than the flowers do. The calyces dry well and last for days after being cut. The best time to cut sea lavender is in the fall when the blossoms begin to fade. Or you can leave the calyces on the plant for winter interest.
To use sea lavender as a dried flower, cut it just before the flowers open. The actual blossoms of sea lavender are typically white, are very small, and appear in the center of the showy calyces. Once the stems are cut, simply hang them upside down to dry in a well-ventilated area.
Subtle foliage makes sea lavender an unusual perennial. The leaves are held close to the ground in a basal rosette. From this grouping of foliage long flower stems develop. This makes these plants great to tuck in among other perennials as the foliage remains mostly hidden and allows the flowers to stand out.
Sea Lavender Care Must-Knows
As the common name implies, the plant is native to coastal areas and is tolerant of salty conditions. Growing from rocky outcroppings, sea lavender is drought tolerant and thrives in sandy soil. Part of its drought tolerance is due to the large taproots that allow the plant to take up water from well below the soil surface. This also means sea lavender is not tolerant of being dug up or moved. When planting, sow seed directly in the ground. When transplanting, avoid disturbing the roots as much as possible.
This tough perennial is best planted in full sun to encourage the largest amount of flowers possible and also the densest display. Full sun also helps to keep the plant dry, and helps prevent the possibility of root rot.