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Lavender Main Types

English Lavender, Portuguese Lavender, French Lavender, Spanish Lavender, Lavandin

Lavender, English Lavender, Spanish lavender, French Lavender, Common lavender, True Lavender, Spike lavender, lavandula angustifolia, lavandula dentata, lavandula stoechas, lavandula x intermedia, lavandula latifolia

Extremely popular, Lavender (Lavandula) includes about 47 species, which are cultivated in temperate climates either as ornamental plants for the landscape or for the extraction of essential oils. Sun lover, this perennial or herb thrives in well-drained soil, is drought tolerant, and is pest or disease-resistant. Colors, flower or leaf shapes, bloom times, and hardiness vary across varieties. Since it can be confusing to know which lavender plant is right for your garden, here is a brief summary of the top 5 varieties.

Lavandula angustifolia – English Lavender

  • Also called True Lavender or Common Lavender, this type of lavender is often associated with the famous purple fields of Provence. It is not native to England but to the Mediterranean.
  • Flower colors vary from blue-purple, lavender, violet-blue, or white-pink, depending upon the cultivar.
  • Wispy inflorescences adorn the tips of each upright stem from early to mid-summer, creating drifts of “cool” colors that sway in the summer breeze.
  • Aromatic when brushed against or crushed
  • Gray-green to green-purple foliage of narrow leaves in the summer and silver-green to gray-bronzed in the winter
  • Forms 2-3 feet (60-90 cm) upright clump of small, semi-woody, semi-evergreen perennial
  • Performs best in poor, sandy soil with good drainage.
  • Hardy from zones 5 – 9
  • Great for formal or informal edging along walkways, raised walls, borders, rock gardens, and in mass plantings. This is also the “queen of herbs” for herb gardens.

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 Spring (Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
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 Hedges And Screens, Banks And Slopes, Beds And Borders, Patio And Containers, Edging
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Coastal Garden, Gravel and Rock Garden, Informal and Cottage, Mediterranean Garden, Traditional Garden
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’ (Lavender)
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Nana Alba’ (Lavender)
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Little Lottie’ (Lavender)

Lavandula dentata – French Lavender

  • Also called Fringed Lavender, this evergreen shrub is native to Eastern and Southern Spain and derives its name from the toothed (dentate) leaves with a rich, aromatic lavender-rosemary scent.
  • Showy compact flower heads with light purple bracts on top. Corollas are a light lavender blue, sterile bracts a slightly deeper color.
  • Blooms nonstop from early summer to fall and nearly all year if given enough light and warmth.
  • Not as fragrant as other lavenders, but the spikes are very colorful.
  • Bright gray-green leaves with toothed leaf margins and a strong camphor-lavender or rosemary-like scent.
  • Forms a 12-36 inches (30-90 cm) upright, medium-sized shrub with medium-length spikes
  • Has an inflorescence (spike) that has reduced sterile bracts
  • Hardy from zones 8 – 9

Lavender, English Lavender, Spanish lavender, French Lavender, Common lavender, True Lavender, Spike lavender, lavandula angustifolia, lavandula dentata, lavandula stoechas, lavandula x inter

Lavender, English Lavender, Spanish lavender, French Lavender, Common lavender, True Lavender, Spike lavender, lavandula angustifolia, lavandula dentata, lavandula stoechas, lavandula x inter

Lavandula x intermedia – Lavandin

  • Lavandin (Lavandula x intermedia) is a popular hybrid lavender combining the cold-hardiness of the English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and the heat tolerance of the Portuguese Lavender (Lavandula latifolia), therefore providing an answer to the many gardeners’ worldwide quest for a Provencal atmosphere in their gardens.
  • Long spikes of highly fragrant flowers, from dark violet to white
  • Profuse blooming from mid to late summer
  • Both gray-green foliage and flowers are extremely aromatic
  • Grows in a shrubby compact mound up to 30 inches tall (75 cm)
  • Hardy from zones 5 – 9
  • Great candidate for mass planting, hedges, herb gardens, borders, rock gardens, or as accent plants.
Lavandula x intermedia ‘Provence’ (Lavender)
Lavandula x intermedia ‘Grosso’ (Lavender)
Lavandula x intermedia ‘Phenomenal’ (Lavender)

Lavandula latifolia – Portuguese Lavender

  • Also called Spike Lavender, this lavender is native to the western Mediterranean region. Its scent is stronger and more pungent than the Lavandula Angustifolia scent.
  • Pale lilac flowers on long stems
  • Bloom occurs profusely from late spring to late summer
  • Broad, coarse evergreen leaves.
  • Strongly aromatic shrub growing to 1-3 feet tall (30–90 cm)
  • Hardy from zones 6-8

Lavender, English Lavender, Spanish lavender, French Lavender, Common lavender, True Lavender, Spike lavender, lavandula angustifolia, lavandula dentata, lavandula stoechas, lavandula x inter

Lavender, English Lavender, Spanish lavender, French Lavender, Common lavender, True Lavender, Spike lavender, lavandula angustifolia, lavandula dentata, lavandula stoechas, lavandula x inter

Lavandula stoechas – Spanish Lavender

  • Also called French Lavender or Butterfly Lavender, this type of lavender is native to the Mediterranean and Northern Africa. Grown for its silvery aromatic leaves, it is used extensively for essential oils or potpourris. The very distinctive flowers, however, steal the show with their “ears” sprouting from each flower head.
  • Distinctive deep purple flower with a pinecone shape and upright flower petals.
  • Bloom occurs profusely, almost continuously, from mid-spring to late summer.
  • The flowers are not fragrant, but the silvery foliage is very aromatic.
  • Forms a bushy evergreen mound, 18-24 in. (45-60 cm).
  • Hardy from zones 8 – 9
  • Tolerates higher levels of humidity than English lavenders.
  • Great in mass planting, as ground cover, in containers.
Lavandula stoechas ‘Ballerina’ (Spanish Lavender)
Lavandula pedunculata subsp. pedunculata (Lavender)
Lavandula stoechas ‘Regal Splendour’ (Spanish Lavender)

Planting and Growing Lavender

Creating a picturesque garden with lavender can be a rewarding project. These fragrant, drought-tolerant plants require a few specific conditions to thrive. Here are your steps to success:

Variety Selection: Lavenders come in several varieties with different growth habits, flower forms, and hardiness. English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is a popular choice due to its hardiness and lovely scent.

Site Selection: Lavenders love sunlight and good air circulation, so choose a spot in your garden that receives at least 6 hours of sun daily. Avoid areas prone to standing water.

Soil Preparation: These Mediterranean natives prefer well-draining soil with a neutral to slightly alkaline pH. If your garden has heavy clay soil, consider amending it with compost or growing your lavender in raised beds or containers.

Planting Time: Spring is the ideal time to plant lavenders after the risk of hard frost has passed.

Planting Process: Dig a hole twice the width and the same depth as the root ball. Place the plant in the hole, ensuring the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Backfill the hole, firm the soil around the base of the plant, and water thoroughly.

Watering: Lavender plants are drought-tolerant once established but need consistent watering until they mature.

Maintenance: Prune your plants back by about a third in early spring to promote new growth and bushiness. Avoid heavy winter mulches, which can lead to root rot.

Patience is key when growing lavender. It may take a season or two to establish fully, but the wait is well worth it for the beauty and fragrance they add to your garden.

Discover These Helpful Guides for Further Reading

Lavender: How to choose the right one?
Learn How To Plant, Care and Grow Gorgeous Lavender
Planting and Caring for Lavender in Pots
Lavender Varieties and Blooming Seasons
Drought Tolerant Companion Plants For Lavenders
Creating a Lavender Hedge

Garden Examples

A Charming Mediterranean Flagstone Pathway
A Long-Lasting Summer Duo for your Borders: Lavender and Cosmos
A Lovely Contemporary Garden Idea
A Lovely Mediterranean Border with Lavender and Lilies of the Nile
A Lovely Mediterranean Path
A Fabulous Duo: Rose ‘Bonica’ and Lavender ‘Hidcote’
Compare All Lavandula (Lavender)
Compare Now
Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
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 Spring (Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
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 Hedges And Screens, Banks And Slopes, Beds And Borders, Patio And Containers, Edging
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Coastal Garden, Gravel and Rock Garden, Informal and Cottage, Mediterranean Garden, Traditional Garden
Compare All Lavandula (Lavender)
Compare Now
Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
Lavandula (Lavender)

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