GARDEN KNOW HOW

The Lavenders of Europe

Dried Lavender at Sensible Gardening and Living

Lavender is a wonderful garden plant for those gardening in zones 5 and up. Growing lavender in zones 4 and 3 can be tricky but not always impossible, even if just for a short time. It would certainly be worth growing a few plants as annuals rather than not growing lavender at all.

Lavender / Sensible Gardening and Living
Lavender / Sensible Gardening and Living

Lavender has been in cultivation for ages and as a herb has been used in fragrances, incense, medicinal and antiseptic solutions, sacred cleansers, deodorizers, and cooking. Lavender is a beautiful perennial with evergreen silver foliage and fragrant blossoms. Even better it is drought tolerant and deer resistant. The perfect plant for my situation.

English Lavender

Lavandula angustifolia or common lavender. ‘Hidcote’ and ‘Munstead’ are two popular varieties which are small shrubs growing to 2 feet. Munstead is perhaps a bit hardier with pale gray-blue flowers but Hidcote has darker violet-purple flowers. ‘Jean Davis’ is considered to have a sweeter taste and smell and supports a pale pink bloom and olive green leaves. English lavender is used extensively for cosmetics and culinary uses. Zone 4 plants.

French Lavender

Lavandula dentata is taller at about 3 feet with finely toothed leaves.  Less hardy than English lavender it is restricted to frost free areas. Beautiful scented lavender-mauve blooms and green bushy foliage. Zone 8 plants.

Spanish Lavender (Butterfly Lavender)

Lavandula stoechas is a fragrant shrub of 3 feet with narrow sage green leaves. Large dark purple flower spikes are topped with purple bracts. Spanish lavender is used in insect repellants and toiletries. Zone 8 plants.

The Lavandins (Hybrids) 

Lavandula x intermedia is a cross (hybrid) between L. angustifolia and L. latifolia. The lavandins have a much stronger but less sweet scent than the other lavenders making them ideal for crafts, oil production and dried flowers. Varieties most found for growing are ‘Provence’ and ‘Grosso’ These lavenders bloom later than the others and are larger, taller plants. Zone 7 plants. 

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