Scientific Name: Santolina chamaecyparissus
Cotton Lavender is an evergreen perennial herb with aromatic strangely shaped silver leaves that reminds one of ocean coral. In midsummer it bears small yellow flowers like round buttons.
It is ideal for dry, rocky places or Mediterranean-type gravel gardens.
Cotton Lavender is popular as an ornamental shrub, dwarf edging plant or as a dividing hedge within a larger bed.
Plant Cotton Lavender in a sunny position. It will grow well in containers — feed it once every two months during the growing season with an organic fertilizer. It is necessary to cut out dead wood in spring and prune it into shape after flowering to prevent the plant from becoming woody and collapsing. Propagate it by layering, or making root cuttings with a heel in autumn or spring.
Cotton Lavender was used in classical Greek times as a dewormer and moth repellent. They made an infusion of the leaves and used it as a rub for rheumatism and painful joints. The Arabian people used Cotton Lavender as an eyewash.
Cotton Lavender can be used as a topical anti-inflammatory — rub the crushed leaves on insect bites to ease the pain.
Santolina leaves and flowers can be used fresh in decorative arrangements. It's flowers are long lasting.
Harvest Santolina leaves and small bunches of flowering stems for drying, strip them and include in sachets and potpourris — the flowers do not loose their colour when dried.
Today we use Santolina in the home as an insect and moth repellent. The pungent scent of the dried herb repels moths, insects and fleas. Put dried Santolina in little cloth bags in cupboards, drawers and on bookshelves to repel moths and fish moths. Sprinkle fresh Santolina in dog kennels and in the sleeping baskets of dogs & cats to repel fleas. Plant it around the nests of free-ranging chickens to deter ticks and fleas.