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Lavandula angustifolia (English Lavender)

English Lavender, True Lavender, Common Lavender

Lavandula Angustifolia, English lavender, Most fragrant lavender, Lavender Hidcote, Lavender Munstead, Lavender Rosea, Lavender Nana Alba, Lavender Thumbelina Leigh, Lavandula Angustifolia Hidcote,  Lavandula Angustifolia Munstead

Often associated with the famous purple fields of Provence, Lavandula angustifolia, commonly known as English lavender, is a perennial herb prized for its fragrant purple flowers and silver-green foliage. Despite the name “English” lavender, the plant is native to the Mediterranean region.

The genus name, Lavandula, comes from the Latin “lavare,” which means “to wash,” referring to its use in baths, laundry, and personal grooming in ancient times. “Angustifolia” means “narrow-leaved,” referring to the plant’s slender foliage.

What is English Lavender?

  • Description & Growth Habit: English lavender is an evergreen shrub with a compact, bushy growth habit. It typically grows 1 to 3 feet (30-90 cm) tall and wide.
  • Flowers: English Lavender is celebrated for the wispy inflorescences that adorn the tip of each upright stem, creating lovely drifts of cool colors that sway in the summer breeze. The flowers can be bluish-purple, lavender, violet-blue, or white-pink.
  • Blooming Season: Blooming lasts 3-4 weeks in early to mid-summer. These Lavenders usually bloom once but may experience a weak second flush after pruning.
  • Foliage: Equally attractive is the summer foliage of gray-green to green-purple, narrow leaves, which turns gray-bronzed in the winter. It is delightfully fragrant when brushed against or crushed,
  • Hardiness: English lavender is hardy in USDA zones 5 through 9, making it one of the more cold-hardy species of lavender. It is also heat-tolerant. Not sure about your growing zone? Check here
  • Uses: It’s often used in gardens for its fragrance, beauty, and ability to attract pollinators. It’s also popular in borders, rock gardens, or as a low hedge. The flowers are commonly harvested for use in sachets, perfumes, essential oils, and culinary applications.
  • Pollinators: English lavender is a favorite of bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects, making it a great choice for a pollinator garden.
  • Deer and Rabbit Resistance: Thanks to its strong fragrance, Lavender is deer and rabbit resistant.
  • Drought Tolerance: Once established, English lavender is drought-tolerant, preferring well-drained soil and little supplemental water, making it a good choice for xeriscaping.

Guide Information

Hardiness 5 - 9
Heat Zones 5 - 8
Climate Zones 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Herbs, Perennials, Shrubs
Genus Lavandula
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Early, Mid)
Fall
Height 1' - 3'
(30cm - 90cm)
Spread 1' - 3'
(30cm - 90cm)
Spacing 36" (90cm)
Maintenance Average
Water Needs Low
Soil Type Chalk, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Dried Arrangements, Cut Flowers, Fragrant, Showy
Tolerance Drought, Deer, Rabbit, Dry Soil, Rocky Soil
Attracts Bees, Butterflies
Landscaping Ideas Edging, Hedges And Screens, Banks And Slopes, Beds And Borders, Patio And Containers
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Coastal Garden, Gravel and Rock Garden, Informal and Cottage, Mediterranean Garden
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’ (Lavender)
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Little Lottie’ (Lavender)
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Nana Alba’ (Lavender)

Why Should I Grow English Lavender?

There are numerous reasons to consider growing Lavandula angustifolia, or English lavender, in your garden:

  • Aromatic Qualities: The aromatic properties of lavender are known for their calming and soothing effect. The scent is beloved in perfumes and essential oils and can be enjoyed by brushing against the plant in your garden.
  • Visual Appeal: Lavender’s silver-green foliage and vibrant purple flowers add color and texture to any garden. The plant’s compact, bushy growth habit is suitable for borders, rock gardens, or a low hedge.
  • Pollinators: Lavender is a magnet for pollinators. Bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects are drawn to its fragrant blooms, helping to create a healthy, biodiverse garden ecosystem.
  • Low Maintenance: Once established, lavender is incredibly hardy and drought-tolerant. It thrives in poor to average, well-drained soil, and requires little watering or fertilizing. It’s also resistant to pests such as deer and rabbits.
  • Versatility: Lavender has wide-ranging applications beyond the garden. It can be harvested for use in culinary dishes, teas, homemade skincare, potpourri, sachets, and more. It’s also a classic in cut flower arrangements.
  • Year-Round Interest: As an evergreen, lavender provides visual interest year-round, maintaining its silver-green foliage even in winter.
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Munstead’ (Lavender)
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Rosea’ (Lavender)
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Thumbelina Leigh’ (Lavender)

Garden Design with English Lavender

English lavender, is a versatile plant that can be incorporated in numerous ways into your garden design. Here are a few ideas:

  • Borders and Edging: Lavender’s compact growth habit and appealing scent make it an excellent choice for borders or edging along paths or driveways. When people walk by and brush against the plants, the delightful aroma will be released.
  • Herb or Cottage Gardens: English lavender is a classic in herb and cottage gardens. Its purple flowers and silvery foliage contrast plants with darker green leaves or brightly colored blooms.
  • Rock Gardens: Given its Mediterranean origin, lavender thrives in well-drained, even rocky, soil. It’s an excellent choice for rock gardens, where it can add a splash of color and a lovely scent.
  • Containers: Lavender can be grown in containers alone or mixed with other sun-loving, drought-tolerant plants. Place the container near a window or door to enjoy the fragrance whenever you pass by.
  • Pollinator Gardens: Lavender’s fragrant flowers are a magnet for bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects. Plant it in a pollinator garden to support local wildlife.
  • Xeriscaping: As a drought-tolerant plant, lavender is ideal for xeriscaping or low-water garden designs.
  • Mediterranean Landscapes: Pair lavender with other Mediterranean plants like rosemary, thyme, and sage for an authentic, water-wise landscape.
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Folgate’ (Lavender)
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Melissa Lilac’ (Lavender)
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Miss Katherine’ (Lavender)

English Lavender Companion Plants

Lavandula angustifolia, or English lavender, pairs well with a variety of plants in the garden. When choosing companion plants, consider those with similar cultural needs (full sun, well-drained soil), as well as those that offer contrasting or complementary forms, colors, and textures. Here are some good companions for English lavender:

  • Roses: Lavender and roses are classic partners, offering a beautiful visual contrast and a double dose of fragrance. Lavender also helps deter pests from roses.
  • Herbs: Mediterranean herbs like rosemary, thyme, sage, and oregano all thrive in the same conditions as lavender and can create a fragrant and functional herb garden.
  • Ornamental Grasses: The fine textures of ornamental grasses such as fescue or blue oat grass provide a lovely contrast to lavender’s compact form and bold blooms.
  • Echinacea and Rudbeckia: These perennial flowers offer bold, daisy-like blooms that complement lavender’s softer flower spikes.
  • Santolina, Artemisia, and other silver-foliaged plants: These plants match lavender’s preference for sunny, dry conditions and their silvery foliage complements lavender’s leaves and flowers.
  • Succulents: In xeriscaping or dry garden design, succulents such as sedum or echeveria can pair well with lavender.
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Betty’s Blue’ (Lavender)
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Royal Velvet’ (Lavender)
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Royal Purple’ (Lavender)

Growing Tips

Growing English Lavender can be a rewarding experience, but it does require some specific conditions to thrive. Here are some tips to help you grow this aromatic herb successfully:

  • Soil: English Lavender prefers well-drained soil. It doesn’t do well in waterlogged conditions, which can lead to root rot. The soil should also be slightly alkaline. Consider growing lavender in raised beds or containers if your soil is heavy clay or often soggy.
  • Sunlight: Plant your lavender in a location that gets full sun, at least 6-8 hours per day. The plant needs lots of light to produce the best blooms and fragrance.
  • Watering: Once established, English Lavender is drought tolerant and does not require much watering. However, while it’s getting established, ensure it gets water regularly but avoid overwatering.
  • Pruning: Prune your lavender plant in early spring or at the end of the blooming season to maintain its shape and promote vigorous growth. Avoid cutting into the woody part of the plant, as it might not regenerate.
  • Mulching: Mulch around the base of the plant with light-colored, reflective mulch, gravel, or small stones to help keep the roots cool and dry. Avoid organic mulch like wood chips, which can retain moisture.
  • Fertilizing: Lavender generally does not require much fertilization. If your soil is poor, you could apply a light layer of compost around the base of the plant in spring.
  • Pests/Diseases: English Lavender is generally pest-free but watch out for fungal diseases, particularly in damp weather or if the plant is waterlogged. Good air circulation around the plant helps prevent these issues.

Recommended Companion Plants

Armeria maritima (Sea Thrift)
Artemisia schmidtiana ‘Nana’ (Wormwood)
Artemisia ludoviciana (White Sage)
Centranthus ruber (Red Valerian)
Cerastium tomentosum (Snow in Summer)
Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’ (Blue Fescue)
Santolina chamaecyparissus (Lavender Cotton)
Achillea (Yarrow)
Echinacea (Coneflower)
Echinops (Globe Thistle)
Gaillardia (Blanket Flower)
Rudbeckia hirta (Black-Eyed Susan)

Garden Examples

A Lovely Mediterranean Border with Lavender and Lilies of the Nile
A Lovely Contemporary Garden Idea
A Long-Lasting Summer Duo for your Borders: Lavender and Cosmos
A Charming Mediterranean Flagstone Pathway
A Charming Garden Idea with Thyme, Lavender and Other Shrubs
A Fragrant Summer Border with Roses, Lavender, Pinks and Sea Holly
Compare All Lavandula (Lavender)
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Lavandula (Lavender)
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

Guide Information

Hardiness 5 - 9
Heat Zones 5 - 8
Climate Zones 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Herbs, Perennials, Shrubs
Genus Lavandula
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Early, Mid)
Fall
Height 1' - 3'
(30cm - 90cm)
Spread 1' - 3'
(30cm - 90cm)
Spacing 36" (90cm)
Maintenance Average
Water Needs Low
Soil Type Chalk, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Dried Arrangements, Cut Flowers, Fragrant, Showy
Tolerance Drought, Deer, Rabbit, Dry Soil, Rocky Soil
Attracts Bees, Butterflies
Landscaping Ideas Edging, Hedges And Screens, Banks And Slopes, Beds And Borders, Patio And Containers
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Coastal Garden, Gravel and Rock Garden, Informal and Cottage, Mediterranean Garden
Compare All Lavandula (Lavender)
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Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
Lavandula (Lavender)

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