The Lavender Cotton (Santolina Chamaecyparissus) Care Guide

The Lavender Cotton, otherwise known as the Santolina Chamaecyparissus or Santolina, Lavender Cotton, Gray Santolina, is a rather well known shrub plant by gardening enthusiasts around the world.

Best known for its low maintenance and moderate growth, this shrub will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its gray-green colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

This is why all the topics you need to know in order to achieve this will be covered in this Lavender Cotton Care Guide. Ready? Let’s go!

The basic care guidelines you need to remember for your Lavender Cotton are the following:

  • Water: The Lavender Cotton grows best in soil that is always moist.
  • Light: Keep your Santolina Chamaecyparissus in an environment where it can receive full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Lavender Cotton in soil with moist but well-draining to well draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of sand, chalk, and loam.

And that’s practically it! If you keep these three factors in check, your Lavender Cotton will likely have all it needs for it to survive and even thrive.

Santolina Chamaecyparissus flowers

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Lavender Cotton belongs to the Asteraceae family, the genus Santolina and the species Chamaecyparissus, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Santolina Chamaecyparissus (san-tow-LEEN-ah kam-e-sip-ar-IS-us).

As with other Santolina’s, the Lavender Cotton is an evergreen plant, which means it will be present year round in your garden.

Growing Region

The Lavender CottonS. Europe.

Knowing your plant’s native region is very useful, as it can give you tips on which environment is best for your Lavender Cotton. If you keep it in mind, you can try to replicate these conditions at home, and you’ll likely end with a healthier plant.

With this in mind, the Santolina Chamaecyparissus will be most used to the heat zones in the 4 – 9 region, as the plant hardiness level falls between 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a and the ideal climate zone is between 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.

Growth and Size


In terms of size and growth, the Lavender Cotton is a relatively moderate grower, which makes things somewhat easy for any plant enthusiast.


But, what size of Lavender Cotton are we talking about? What can you expect in terms of height, spread and spacing? Let’s dig in…

The Santolina Chamaecyparissus can grow up to 1′ – 2′ (30cm – 60cm) in 1′ – 2′ (30cm – 60cm) and 2′ – 3′ (60cm – 90cm) in 2′ – 3′ (60cm – 90cm). 

These dimensions make the Lavender Cotton a relatively medium shrub compared to others, so it’s best to keep this fact in mind since it will affect where you want to keep yours at home.

This is why experts recommend keeping an area of approximately 24″ – 36″ (60cm – 90cm) free so the Lavender Cotton can spread to its best extent.


In terms of watering, the Lavender Cotton is a fairly complicated plant to take care of.

This is mostly because it has a not so straightforward watering schedule and somewhat regular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Santolina Chamaecyparissus grows best in soil that is always moist.

Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively low needs in terms of water. 

Santolina Chamaecyparissus ear


As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Lavender Cotton in soil with moist but well-draining to well draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive. 

When you consider this, this is why you should aim to choose soil that has good drainage, occasionally dry, and very dry properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times. 

In our experience, the famous ‘thumb’ or ‘finger’ test is what works best for the Lavender Cotton since with it, you will be able to give it the right amount of water, every time – regardless of the environment or placement where you do decide to keep it.

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the Lavender Cotton prefers to have soil with good drainage, occasionally dry, and very dry properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of sand, chalk, and loam.

This is why most experts agree that the Lavender Cotton requires soil with sand, which will give you the right conditions it needs.

In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably alkaline, acid or neutral soil.

Light and Exposure

In terms of light & exposure, the Lavender Cotton requires full sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions. 

Most experts agree that this shrub will do well as long as you keep it in full sun, and it will be able to grow properly.

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Santolina Chamaecyparissus in full and direct sun (more than 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).


Being an evergreen plant, the Lavender Cotton will be present year round in your garden.

But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the spring (early, mid, late), the summer (early, mid, late), and during the fall.


You can expect your Lavender Cotton to flower around the spring months from April to June (spring).

In particular, this shrub is well known for its showy flowers around the plant enthusiast community.

The Lavender Cotton produces some beautiful yellow, or gray/silver, gold/yellow and white flowers around this time of year.


The leaves from the Lavender Cotton have a beautiful gray-green color during most of the year.

In particular, they have a alternate organization in its leaves.

You can expect the leaves from your Santolina Chamaecyparissus to be around (< 1 inch) in size.

Santolina Chamaecyparissus care

Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance

The Lavender Cotton is well known for its tolerance to drought and animals like rabbit and deer, so don’t worry if any of these come along, your Santolina Chamaecyparissus will be fine.


How should you then organize your garden to include your new Lavender Cotton? Here are some recommendations by expert gardeners.

Most Santolina Chamaecyparissus owners agree that this shrub will look great in most mediterranean, cottage and rustic gardens of all types. 

Other owners consider that they complement well most gardens of informal and cottage, gravel and rock garden, and in mediterranean garden styles. 

In particular, the Lavender Cotton’s best location within your garden is in hedges and screens, beds and borders, edging, and in patio and containers, others use it for landscaping in a ground cover, green roof, coastal exposure, border, edging, firescaping/fire wise, or a rock garden.

Companion Plants

Lavender Cotton’s do well with some other plants beside it. One good companion plant is the Armeria, which will pair up nicely with your leafy friend.

Others consider that a nice Dianthus will work well too, so choose whichever you find works best for you!


And we’ve come to an end. Fortunately, that’s everything you need to know about your Lavender Cotton to keep it safe and sound in your garden or home. Enjoy planting!

Sebastian Moncada

I’m also a plant enthusiast and researcher. I’ve been privileged to have lived my whole life around the wilderness of Colombia and I’m happy to share everything I learn along the way. “Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience” – Emerson.

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