Which is the Best Lavender for You?
Charming, flowering lavender plants, with their intense fragrance and delicate, swaying blooms have captured the attention of gardeners across the globe.
However, admiring lavender and being able to grow lavender are two completely different undertakings! But thanks to good breeding and some well-organized advice, most of us can now grow beautiful lavender plants in the USA, hassle-free.
When considering which type of lavender is right for your garden, you’ll first need to pay close attention to your own climate. Next, you’ll check in with the four main types, to determine which will give you the outcome that matters most to you.
Lavenders are divided into four main groups:
English Lavender (Zones 5 – 8): (Lavandula angustifolia) small, tight flower clusters, that bloom in the early part of the season, set against blue-green leaves. These hardy lavenders perform well for northern gardeners, overwintering to zone 5. Those gardening in colder zones will need to rely on a warmer microclimate within their garden beds to ensure the plants’ survival.
These lavenders are typically fragrant and are the first choice for culinary gardeners.
Lavandin Hybrids (Zones 5-10): “Lavandins” are English Lavender Hybrids (Lavandula x intermedia) that bloom later than species lavenders and have a higher essential oil content. They have large, gray-green leaves and are known for their speedy growth and strong fragrance.
‘Provence’ the famous perfume lavender, is a Lavandin hybrid.
French Lavender (Zones 5 – 10): (Lavandula dentata) well-suited to milder climates without the scare of harsh winters, French lavenders are ornamental plants known for their needle-like, toothed leaves (hence their Latin name – dentata!). Their fragrance is lighter than the perfumy English varieties. These plants work well in fast-draining containers and rock gardens, and add a good dose of beauty when lining walkway and entry paths. They prefer full sun and gritty soil.
Spanish Lavender (Zones 7 – 10): (Lavandula stoechas), have silvery leaves and larger flowers with bigger, pine-cone-shaped petals at the top. The flowers alone are quite eye-catching. Carrying a eucalyptus fragrance, Spanish lavenders can tolerate a bit more humidity than most of their relatives. Popular as focal points in courtyard and small-space gardens, Spanish lavenders take well to containers and stylized pruning.