Sea lavender
Argusia gnaphalodes

Sea Lavender

Beautiful blue masses of sea lavender are found naturally along the coast from Key West to Brevard County. Sea Lavender is a member of the Borage family that contains chemicals in its leaves and white flowers that several male butterfly species use to attract their mates.

The rotting leaves release these chemicals and often are found with several male queen and soldier butterflies drinking these off of the foliage. Try a bundle of stems hung from a window. Moisten the dead leaves and watch for feeding butterflies.

Although it looks as if this plant grows in dry soil, it is actually just over the water table drinking away. To plant inland, enrich the soil with plenty of organic matter and finely ground lime rock and cover the surface with black plastic and mulch. This will recycle the moisture. It loves growing over the septic drain field if you have one. It will not tolerate flooding.

A mass of this plant is impressive. Try mixing with native scaevola, porterweed, sea purslane, beach elder, chapman’s cassia and beach cocoplum.