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| Commercial Lavender in Texas |
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Tom Richter
Posted on: January 30, 2002
Hello, I live in Pipe Creek, Tx, about 50 miles NW of San Antonio. This is in zone 8. The climate here is hot and dry. I live in an area of Texas that is a uplift of limestone hills, so the soil is alkaline. There are areas on this ranch that are on the side of the hills and have very little soil and other areas that are abandon hay fields, deep soil, but still alkaline. I have read about lavender and was wondering if I could grow it here? We have taken all the domestic stock off the place about 5 years ago and want to help it go back to native plants. The big problem is deer. We are trying to build up the herd but of course they love to eat almost all the native wild flowers. I have read that deer do not eat lavender!!! I know that they hate rosemary. So my question is do you think that I could grow lavender in this area? I would like to devote about 25 acres to flowers for butterflies and hummingbirds.
Lavender is often cited as one of a number of herbs that deer dislike. Generally, deer avoid strongly aromatic herbs like lavender, rosemary, mint and thyme. For a list of deer tolerant herbs, please check the InfoSheet section of the website in the "Richters InfoCentre".
English lavenders (Lavandula angustifolia) are known to tolerate heat zones 5-8, which means that you are at the edge of its range. They prefer dryish, limestone soils, so you otherwise have the right conditions for english lavenders. The english varieties include ‘Munstead’, ‘Hidcote’, ‘Lady’ and many others, but each is likely to be different in its ability to tolerate heat, so you will have to experiment.
The hybrid lavenders (also known as "lavandins") probably tolerate heat better than the english varieties. They are the most important ones for commercial lavender production, so you should include them in your experiments also. We carry two lavandins: ‘Provence’ and ‘Grosso’.
We don’t have much information on the heat tolerance of other species of lavander such as Lavandula multifida, L. dentata and L. stoechas, but these are not grown commercially for dried lavender or oil anyway.
PS Your not going to believe this but my name is Tom Richter, and my dad’s name was Otto Richter!
Well, how about that! Although Richter is a fairly common surname is central Europe, it seems that not many Richters migrated to the new world. So, it is not every day that a Richter writes to us!