Distinctive cultivars for this easy-care plant.


There's no question that lavender is one of the best aromatic flowers around. This delicate beauty not only smells amazing, but it lends itself to many different uses, including teas, soaps, potpourri, insect repellent and even as an anti-inflammatory. Perhaps one of the best characteristics about lavender, beyond its incredible fragrance, is that it's really easy to grow.

A low-maintenance plant

Lavender grows best in a sandy, free-draining soil, especially on a sloping hillside. It doesn't like wet feet or soil with rich organic matter. This Mediterranean herb is also drought tolerant and therefore doesn't need a lot of moisture. In fact, depending on how dry your climate is, watering needs may be met with natural rainfall alone, and no supplemental irrigation may be needed. If it's a fresh transplant however, you'll want to water every few days until it's well established.

Don't amend your soil with compost when planting lavender. It will rot if you give it really rich soil.

Fertilize once a year with a tablespoon of all-purpose fertilizer for each plant. Each plant can get fertilized in spring, and let rain wash it in. Prune lavender once a year — ideally in early autumn after the flowers fall.

Choosing Lavender

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'Hidcote' English Lavender

'Hidcote' English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia 'Hidcote') flowers and foliage are popular additions to sachets and potpourris. Flowers appear in terminal spikes in late spring to early summer. Both foliage and flowers are highly aromatic.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

'Kew Red' Spanish Lavender

'Kew Red' Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas 'Kew Red') is a showstopper when paired with ornamental grasses or as a standalone in a rock garden. It's fuchsia-colored blooms attract butterflies and hummingbirds, and is a favorite with honeybees.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

'Loddon Pink' English Lavender

'Loddon Pink' English lavender is a compact variety with narrow, grey-green leaves and fragrant, pale pink flowers. The blooms are highly scented and good for drying.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

'Munstead' English Lavender

'Munstead' English lavender is a fragrant, robust variety that, due to its short size and tightly held blooms, makes a great hedge. It flowers profusely in the spring, after which a good pruning will provide an attractive gray bush with highly aromatic leaves.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Lavender 'Phenomenal' (Lavandula x intermedia 'Phenomenal')

This perennial lavender has been developed for hardiness, so it stands up to heat, humidity, and winter cold. The plants also resist root and foliar diseases. Even deer leave them alone! Grow a patch of these deep blue flowers with silvery foliage for their incredible fragrance.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Burpee

'Willow Vale' Spanish Lavender

'Willow Vale' Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas 'Willow Vale') features dense spikes of deep violet flowers with reddish-purple bracts. The flowers are highly scented and good for drying.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

'Sawyers' Hybrid Lavender

'Sawyers' hybrid lavender features linear, silvery grey green leaves that grows to a height of 12 to 15 inches, 18 inches when in bloom. In mid-summer it bears fragrant spikes of blue to light purple flowers.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

'Nana Alba' Dwarf English Lavender

'Nana Alba' is a compact English lavender with narrow, grey-green leaves and tiny white flowers on short spikes.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Jagged Lavender (Lavandula pinnata)

Jagged lavender (Lavandula pinnata), also called fernleaf lavender, is a compact variety that has silvery-green, fern-like foliage. In mid-summer until early autumn it shows off spears of blue-violet flowers.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

'Twickel Purple' English Lavender

'Twickel Purple' English lavender is a mid-sized variety has delightfully silver-blue foliage with dense flower clusters.

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

'Grosso' Lavender

'Grosso' lavender (Lavandula x intermedia 'Grosso') is a hybrid variety that is a cross between English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and broadleaf lavender (Lavandula latifolia). It has both excellent heat and cold tolerance, plus boasts huge flower heads and a rich fragrance.

'Jean Davis' English Lavender

'Jean Davis' shows off blue-green leaves with pale pink flowers. It's a compact variety, typically reaching a height and spread of 12 to 15 inches. 

'Lady' English Lavender

'Lady' English lavender is quite the charmer, showing off super-fragrant, blue-violet blooms on a compact plant. It's great for low hedges, small garden and even thrives in pots.

'White Anouk' Spanish Lavender

'White Anouk' Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas 'White Anouk') features bright purple blooms with white, "rabbit ear" bracts that float above silver foliage.

Lavender cultivars



Valued not just for its soft gray foliage, some lavender cultivars can also flower for 15 to 20 years. Purple- to blue-flowering 'Grosso' and 'Provence' are fragrant French lavender selections that are long-lasting in the garden. They should be planted about 48 inches apart.



On the flipside,Lavandula angustifolia 'Blue Cushion' is a dwarf English lavender cultivar that's ideal for containers or along the front of a perennial border. It gets about 12 inches tall by about 12 inches wide at maturity. When growing it in containers, use an all-purpose potting mix with some additional sand and gravel to facilitate drainage.



Don't think you're limited by the purple and blue selections. There are other cultivars that come in different colors. For instance, Lavandula angustifolia 'Hidcote Pink' has light pink flowers and grows about one to two feet tall and wide.



White French lavender (Lavandula intermedia 'Alba') has white flower spikes and grows to two feet tall and wide. One thing stays the same though – that distinctive lavender smell.

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