Name: Lavandula x intermedia 'Grosso' (L.angustifolia 'Grosso')
also known as 'Fat Spike lavender'
Flower Description: The flower heads are 3 to 6 inches long and
up to 1 inch wide. Flower is on a stem up to 2 feet. long. Flower
buds are a mix of green and violet. Blooming corollas are rich
violet with some dark purple.
Grosso is a member of the Pterostacjys (winged spikes) group of lavenders.
Bloom Period: Mid-June
to mid-July in eastern US. Here in Northern California, it mainly blooms
Plant and Foliage Description: Evergreen if not too cold. Has
thick, medium-width, true blue-gray-green leaves which are long
and tapered. Forms a dense, well-behaved canopy that is quite
nice, even when the plant is not blooming. Differs from other
lavenders in that it grows wider than its height. Averages 8-16
inches tall with a width of 3 feet. Has curved flower stems, especially
if planted alone.
Hardiness and Planting Range: Hardy to 0 F but not as
cold-resistant as L. Angustifolia. Unable to withstand continuous
cold without snow cover or protective covering. Some catalogs
say hardy to -20 degrees F, but it's safer to assume zone 6 (-10 degrees
F to 0 degrees F).
Typical Landscape Use: Nice in mass plantings.
Plant close in parallel rows (about 36 in. apart). Curved flower
stems bunch up and stand tall, and the stems from opposing rows
meet to form a noticeably darker, more richly colored violet band
where they mingle midrow. If planted tight enough in both directions,
a lovely crosshatching of shimmering dark purple-violet coloration
becomes visible between the rows. If planted alone, leave plenty
of space for the curved stems to arc out from the plant. Mulch
helps keep dirt from splattering on plant. In humid areas, a sand
mulch (white, salt-free sand) 1-2 inches deep may make for a healthier
plant and increase oil content dramatically.
Culinary Use: Due
to a strong, hearty flavor and aroma, Grosso is not used in most dessert and
bread recipes. Leaves and flowers are good to experiment with
for grilled meats and hearty stews. Perhaps also use in marinades.
Comments: Sterile seeds mean cuttings are necessary to propagate.
from The Lavender Garden by Robert Kourik