Garden Oracle / Drought and Heat Tolerant Gardening / Tucson - Phoenix - Arizona - California

Growing Hyptis emoryi:
Desert Lavender

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Form: Multi-stemmed shrub.
Leaf retention: Evergreen but frost-deciduous.
Growth rate: Rapid.
Mature Size: 4-10' high and wide, depending on frost.
Flowers: Tiny, clustered, blue to purple, easy to overlook.
Bloom: Fall, winter and spring.
Fruit: Inconspicuous seed.
Leaves: Oval, hairy, green, round-toothed margins, having a strong lavender fragrance, edible. The fragrance is released by touching the plant, brushing against it, or by rain. New leaves grow smaller and grayer without water.
Stems: No thorns.
Wildlife: Attracts butterflies and bees.
Toxic / Danger: No.
Origin: California, Nevada, Arizona and Mexico.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 8-10. This plant can die to the ground in a severe freeze but usually grows back from its roots in the spring.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun.
Water once established: Monthly. Supplemental water speeds growth but can make the plant leggy. Stop watering six weeks before the first frost in fall or winter to avoid spurring new growth that will be killed in a freeze.
Soil: Well drained, dry, low organic content, pH 6.1-7.5 (slightly acidic to neutral).
Prune: After the danger of frost has passed, prune to maintain shape and remove freeze damage. Cut it to the ground if freeze damage is severe.
Litter: Low.
Propagation: Seed.
Uses: Ornamental, herbal. The leaves can be used to flavor tea.

This plant is a member of the Mint family (Lamiaceae). The grey butterfly is an Ilavia Hairstreak (Satyrium ilavia). A Queen butterfly (Danaus gilippus) appears below.

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Hyptis emoryi: Desert Lavender - flowers

Hyptis emoryi: Desert Lavender - with butterfly

Hyptis emoryi: Desert Lavender - butterfly

Hyptis emoryi: Desert Lavender - leaves

Latest update: February, 2019
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