Monday, October 10, 2011
Santolina chamaecyparissus, aka Lavender Cotton, aka Wonder Plant
It has been quite a while since I have done a Plant of the Month post so I thought I'd let you know about a fantastic plant growing in my garden that tops even the Plant of the Month. This plant commonly called Lavender Cotton or Santolina (Santolina chamaecyparissus) is a contender for Plant of the Year in my gardening book (that is the book I am keeping about my gardens:).
Lavender cotton is a gray foliaged plant that is soft to touch and has a very fine frilly fine textured appearance. It is slow to get started in the garden but once it settles in and gets going no other plant can match it for endurance and its year round good looks. Santolina needs a well drained area in full sun (but will grow in part sun as evidenced in my garden) with average soil. I never prune my santolina nor do I fertilize it. Be sure to site santolina near the front of your border so it can be enjoyed up close and is not overshadowed by other plants. Being a gray leaved plant santolina does not need a lot of water-I've never watered mine. Plant santolina in any hot and dry area and it will slowly fill in that area making a great evergreen ground cover.
A few good companion plants for santolina can be sedum (as evidenced in the second and third pictures of this post), irises, baptisia, roses, or salvia. Santolina is actually a plant that can go with almost all other plants except other gray leaved plants that are frilly (like catmint and artemesia). I also think santolina is a better groundcover under roses than the usual lavender but remember santolina does not need a lot of water. Lavender is not always a long lived plant for our area so I am not a big fan of lavender. Be sure to allow for at least a four square foot area for your santolina to grow and spread.
When santolina blooms it blooms a cute button like yellow flower. The yellow bloom is similar to the bloom of tansy but you should not consider the bloom of santolina when deciding whether or not to plant santolina. Santolina is what I consider a foliage plant that truly does not need any blooms to shine....
in the garden....
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden