Extremely popular, Lavender (Lavandula) includes 39 different 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 pest or disease resistant. Colors, flower or leaf shapes, bloom times, 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 cultivar
  • Wispy inflorescences adorn the tips of each upright stem from late spring to late 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.

'Nana Alba'

'Hidcote'

'Little Lottie'

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 which have a richly, aromatic lavender-rosemary scent.
  • Showy compact flower heads with light purple bracts on top. Corollas 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

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.

    'Provence'

    'Phenomenal'

    'Grosso'

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 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

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
  • Flowers are not fragrant but the silvery foliage is very aromatic.
  • Forms a 18-24 in. (45-60 cm) bushy evergreen mound
  • Hardy from zones 8 - 9
  • Tolerates higher levels of humidity than English lavenders.
  • Great in mass planting, as ground cover, in containers.

    'Royal Splendour'

    'Ballerina'

    pedunculata subs. pedunculata