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Santolina chamaecyparissus - L.

Common Name Cotton Lavender
Family Asteraceae or Compositae
USDA hardiness 6-9
Known Hazards The bruised leaves have been known to cause a severe rash on sensitive skins[182].
Habitats Dry ground, stony banks and rocks[100], usually on calcareous soils[7].
Range Europe - Mediterranean. Occasionally naturalized in Britain[17].
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Santolina chamaecyparissus Cotton Lavender

Santolina chamaecyparissus Cotton Lavender


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Bloom Color: Yellow. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Early fall, Late summer, Mid summer. Form: Upright or erect.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Santolina chamaecyparissus is an evergreen Shrub growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 7. It is in leaf all year, in flower from July to August, and the seeds ripen from August to September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


S. incana.

Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Ground Cover; Hedge; Cultivated Beds; East Wall. In. South Wall. In. West Wall. In.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts:
Edible Uses: Condiment

The aromatic leaves are used as a flavouring for broths, sauces, grain dishes etc[15, 183].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

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Antispasmodic  Disinfectant  Emmenagogue  Stings  Vermifuge

The leaves and flowering tops are antispasmodic, disinfectant, emmenagogue, stimulant and vermifuge[4, 7, 11, 201]. Cotton lavender is rarely used medicinally[238], though it is sometimes used internally as a vermifuge for children and to treat poor digestion and menstrual problems[4, 238]. When finely ground and applied to insect stings or bites, the plant will immediately ease the pain[7]. Applied to surface wounds, it will hasten the healing process by encouraging the formation of scar tissue[7]. The leaves and flowering stems are harvested in the summer and dried for later use[238].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Disinfectant  Dye  Essential  Hedge  Hedge  Pot-pourri  Repellent

Plants can be grown as a low formal hedge and used as an edging plant[200]. The plant is very tolerant of shearing[200]. In less exposed areas the plants can be trimmed in the autumn, otherwise they need to be cut by early April if they are to be allowed to flower[245]. Plants can also be grown for ground cover[190]. They are best spaced about 60cm apart each way[208]. The leaves are strewn amongst clothes to repel moths etc[4, 15, 18, 20, 100]. The growing plant repels various insect pests, especially cabbage moths[201]. The dried leaves are used in pot-pourri[238]. An essential oil from the leaves is used in perfumery[4], the oil is also obtained from the flowers[168].

Special Uses

Ground cover  Hedge  Hedge  Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Border, Foundation, Ground cover, Massing, Rock garden, Seashore. An easy and undemanding plant that does not require a rich soil, though it strongly dislikes wet conditions around the roots[1, 11, 15, 200]. Prefers a light sandy fairly poor soil on a sunny slope[200]. Prefers a chalky soil[190]. Established plants are drought tolerant[190]. They succeed in a hot dry position[190]. Hardy to about -15°c when in a well-drained soil. A very wind hardy plant, it succeeds on the top of Cornish dry-stone walls[49]. A very ornamental plant[1], there are several named varieties[245]. Cotton lavender tolerates shearing so long as this is not done at times of low resistance (winter?)[200]. Plants can be cut back hard in spring to maintain their form[200, 208], though this will prevent them flowering[208]. A good companion plant for roses[201]. Flowers are produced on two year old wood[182]. The leaves are very aromatic[190]. The bruised leaves are pleasantly pungent, though the flowers have an unpleasant smell[245]. The form S. chamaecyparissus nana has a more pungent aroma than the type[245]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. Special Features: Attractive foliage, Fragrant foliage, Not North American native, Suitable for dried flowers.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse. Does not require pre-treatment[113]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe side shoots, 5 - 8 cm long with a heel, July/August in a frame. Roots within 2 weeks. High percentage[78]. The heeled cuttings can also be placed direct into the open garden in early July and should be well-rooted by the winter[245]. Division in spring or autumn[111]. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer. Layering.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

EUROPE: Croatia, Italy (incl. Sardinia, Sicily), Spain (incl. Baleares), France (incl. Corsica)

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Achillea santolina Perennial0.3 -  LMHNDM011
Santolina pinnata neopolitana Shrub0.6 6-9  LMNDM003
Santolina rosmarinifoliaHoly FlaxShrub0.5 6-10  LMNDM203

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


Links / References

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Readers comment

santosh patil   Tue Jan 8 2008

hello sir is it regeneration protocol is there for santolina for its in-vitro regeneration

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