UC Nursery and Floriculture Alliance
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UC Nursery and Floriculture Alliance

From the UC Blogosphere...





By Lee Oliphant   UCCE Master Gardener



Spanish Lavender


Lavandula stoechas


Planting zone: hardy in zones 7 to 9.


Size: grows to 3 feet in height and width.


Bloom season: spring to fall.


Exposure: full sun.


Pruning needs: deadheading spent blooms will prolong blooming season. Can be sheared with a hedge clipper at the end of the season or at time of harvest. Annual pruning of 2/3 of new growth will encourage thick, dense growth.


Water needs: Lavender is a drought tolerant plant. Once established, lavender will need little supplemental watering.



Of all the drought tolerant, deer resistant Mediterranean plants that thrive on the Central Coast, lavender (Lavandula) is one of the most popular. Its blossoms come in blue, mauve, violet, and purple that attract bees and can be used for potpourri and other scented products.


Lavender has over 30 species. Among them are many varieties and cultivars. They are considered dwarf woody shrubs, evergreen, perennial, and in the same plant family as mints, sages, and thymes.


The most common species of lavender are English (Lavandula augustifolia), French (L. dentate) and Spanish (L. stoechas). Spanish lavender is colorful and blooms along the coast nearly year-round. It matures into a thick bushy shrub and is often planted along paths to scent the air as walkers pass by. It is an easy-care plant that resists insect pests and diseases.


Ideal conditions for lavender include well-drained loamy soil and a dry, sunny location. Lavenders are susceptible to root-rot caused by overwatering so the soil moist only until established. Fertilize lightly in the spring with fish emulsion or a time release fertilizer.


With the proper care and environment, Spanish lavender can live for 7-8 years before becoming woody and needing replacement.

Posted on Monday, January 22, 2018 at 1:21 PM

Planting Onions?

Advice for the Home Gardener from the Help Desk of the
UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County

Client's Request: Hello! My family will be moving to Contra Costa County this summer. I am wondering (many things, but firstly) what "length" of day onions are best for this area? It seems on the border for long day varieties,,, would long day ones still do ok, or should we stick to intermediate day varieties?

MGCC Help Desk Response: Thank you for contacting the UC Master Gardener Program Help Desk. As you are aware, onion varieties have different requirements regarding the number of daylight hours required to initiate bulb development and form a bulb. An onion plant will bulb up only after experiencing its critical day length for several weeks; the bigger the plant receiving the light stimulus, the bigger the bulb.

If an onion variety is described as long day, it sets bulbs when it receives 14 or more hours of daylight. Intermediate day onions set bulbs with about 13-14 hours of daylight. There are also short day varieties that require 12 hours of daylight, but they are not recommended for this area.

The following varieties are recommended for Contra Costa County:
Intermediate Day
- Italian Red
- Stockton (red, white or yellow)
Long Day
- Fiesta (yellow, sweet Spanish type)
- Yellow Sweet Spanish
- White Sweet Spanish
- Southport Globe (red or white)

Onions are also affected by temperature in addition to day length. Average daytime temperatures less than 70 degrees retard bulb formation. Seedling or young transplants exposed to several days of temperatures well below this, followed by a period of weather at or above this temperature while day length is increasing, may produce flower stalks before the mature or form bulbs (bolt). Plant seed or transplant intermediate or long day varieties from January through March for late summer or fall harvest.

Below are links with additional UC information on cultural tips for onions:

Please let us know if you have any questions or would like additional information.
Good luck on your move to and growing onions in Contra Costa County.

Help Desk of the UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County (JMA)

Note: The  UC Master Gardeners Program of Contra Costa's Help Desk is available year-round to answer your gardening questions.  Except for a few holidays, we're open every week, Monday through Thursday for walk-ins from 9:00 am to Noon at 75 Santa Barbara Road, 2d Floor, Pleasant Hill, CA  94523, although we will be moving this spring. We will notify you if/when that occurs. We can also be reached via telephone:  (925)646-6586, email: ccmg@ucanr.edu, or on the web at http://ccmg.ucanr.edu/Ask_Us/  MGCC Blogs can be found at http://ccmg.ucanr.edu/HortCoCo/ You can also subscribe to the Blog  (http://ucanr.edu/blogs/CCMGBlog/)

Posted on Monday, January 22, 2018 at 12:22 AM

The Amazing Art of Entomologists

This stunning praying mantis illustration is the work of Ivana Li, UC Davis entomologist and artist. It  will be among the art displayed at the Bohart Museum of Entomology's open house on Jan. 21.

Oh, that praying mantis! Oh, that jumping spider! When you attend the UC Davis Bohart Museum of Entomology's open house on...

Posted on Friday, January 19, 2018 at 5:39 PM

A Rousing, Standing Ovation for Eric Mussen

As Extension apiculturist, Eric Mussen shared his knowledge of bees. Here he opens a hive for a group to show them the queen, worker bees and drones. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

It was so well-deserved. Internationally known honey bee guru Eric Mussen, Extension apiculturist emeritus, drew a rousing,...

Posted on Thursday, January 18, 2018 at 6:27 PM

That Elusive Cabbage White Butterfly

A cabbage white butterfly, Pieris rapae, nectaring on catmint last summer in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

If you've been looking for that cabbage white butterfly in the three-area county of Sacramento, Yolo and Solano to win UC...

Posted on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 at 4:24 PM

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