Sea lavender, or statice, is a large group of plants in the genus Limonium, all of which have distinctive spiky flowers and simple or lobed leaves. Representatives of this family can be found growing all over the world in sizes ranging from one foot (30 centimeters) tall to large bushes. In general, statice thrives in sandy soil and also tolerates salt marshes, so it is often found on shorelines, islands, and in other locations which are too severe for most plants to thrive in. For this reason, it is widely cultivated in some regions to provide accent color, as well as fodder for bouquets.
English Statice in particular, is often considered the quintessential dried flower. While the flowers are blooming, they have a delicate papery outer layer and a soft set of inner petals. The inner petals drop out, leaving the outer ones behind, and often drying naturally on the stem. People who work with dried flowers often grow this flower because it is relatively easy to care for and the flowers dry so well. When a spray of statice is ready to be dried, it should be cut with lots of stem left over and hung upside down to dry.
Gardens in rugged soil can also benefit from these flowers, which add rich blocks of color like purple, pink, red, white, and sometimes orange. A small cluster of statice plants can be planted to provide a splash of color, or larger bushes can be selected for rich blocks of color. Because this flower prefers less than ideal soil conditions, gardeners with rich, healthy, dense soil should add sand to make the soil loamy and rough. Different varieties can be found thriving in almost any weather conditions from the heat of the tropics to the cool of Northern Europe, so check with your garden supply when selecting plants.
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Most gardeners find it easiest to plant statice seedlings which have been raised in a commercial greenhouse. The plants should be installed after the last frost in sandy, slightly alkaline soil with excellent drainage. This plant likes to be slightly dry, and also prefers full sun. Add compost or a slow releasing fertilizer to the soil to nourish the plants while they grow, and cut back the flowers periodically to encourage more blooming. At the end of the season, annual varieties should be ripped out, while perennials should be trimmed back to the ground so that they will not get frostbitten.