Mad about lavender? Here are some of our favourite varieties plus tips on caring for them.
More on growing lavender
- Position: Full sun.
- Size: From 15cm–1m high.
- Frost tolerance: Light frost.
- Flowering season: This varies according to variety; the Spanish lavenders flower sporadically from spring to autumn; the new English lavenders flower throughout the summer with regular deadheading; ‘Grosso’ flowers in early summer only; the French and ‘Margaret Roberts’ lavenders flower all year round.
- Plant: Any time of the year in free-draining soil. Replace woody lavenders every 3–4 years. Note: You might not find any summer-flowering lavender at garden centres in autumn or winter as they are usually only available during the flowering season.
- Care: Medium to regular watering. Feed 3–4 times a year with a slow-release fertiliser and compost (keep it away from the stem). In winter cut them back to keep them in shape. After flowering, or in spring, cut back by a third to shape the lavender.
- Caution: When cooking, only use varieties with a low camphor content, like English lavender.
Lavender varieties we love
L. Intermedia ‘Grosso’ is readily available in nurseries. Intermedia is traditionally grown for its oil and, although quite low growing (about 20–40cm high), the flower spikes are tall. The flowers are light to dark purple and very fragrant, there’s also a white variety to choose from.
L. Angustifolia ‘Elegant Ice’ is an English hybrid from Malanseuns. This low-growing (29–30cm) plant flowers from spring to autumn and the very fragrant blooms are icy white with a tinge of lilac.
L. Angustifolia ‘Blue River’ is available at garden centres and some Builders Warehouse branches.
L. Angustifolia ‘Ellagance’ is an exciting range of English lavenders distributed by BallStraathoff. There are four colours – pink (pictured), purple, ‘Sky’ (light blue) and ‘Snow’ (white). “The plants are small and cascading, with soft wood, making them ideal for borders, pots and hanging baskets,” says Patricia Nemakhavhani of Nu-Leaf Nursery which sells the seedlings. The flowers have a very sweet fragrance and appear all through summer, especially when the plant is deadheaded regularly.
L. Dentata ‘White’ isn’t widely available so you may have to hunt for it. A vigorous plant, it grows to a 1m x 1m shrub and needs to be cut back regularly. It looks pretty when lining a pathway or at the back of a border.
L. Pendunculata ‘Blueberry Ruffles’ is a cascading Spanish lavender ideal as an edging plant for pathways or in containers. It flowers in spring and autumn.