Wild About Lavender: How to Grow This Beautiful, Versatile Plant
Different Types of Lavender
There are 39 known species of lavender, and each has its own qualities. Your main purpose for growing lavender, as well as what you’re looking for appearance-wise, will help you decide which type is right for you. Here are some of the more popular types:
The English lavenders are often called “true lavender.” They do well in cooler climates, and not as well in hot, humid areas. Some popular English lavenders are:
- Munstead: This is a good cooking lavender with a nice flavor. It’s relatively easy to grow. It’s more petite than most lavenders, reaching only one to two feet tall. Its purple blooms are more open than most other types of lavender.
- Hidcote: This lavender is wonderful for crafts such as wreath-making or dried flower arrangements. Its buds dry to a lovely deep purple and are known for staying on the stems. This is also a shorter lavender, with a mature height of 12″ to 15″.
- Coconut Ice: This English lavender is also popular with decorators because of its soft-pink blooms that fade to white, and its silvery foliage. Combined with other types of lavender, Coconut Ice can form a striking multi-colored bouquet.
- “True” Lavender: This is Lavender angustifolia with no subtype. Its mature height is 24″ to 36″, and it is hardy in zones 5b to 8a. It is excellent as a garden shrub, border plant, or for landscape massings. Its sweet smell is both soothing to your guests and unattractive to deer, which makes lavender a great companion plant for roses or other treasures.
These flowers are hybrids of English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and spike lavender (Lavandula latifolia). They are very hardy and strongly-scented, and grow quickly. The lavandins have long, gray leaves. Most lavandins are ideal for hedges and for harvesting essential oil. Popular varieties include:
- White Grosso Lavender: This evergreen shrub grows to two to three feet tall and produces beautiful white flowers that stay snowy even after drying. It’s hardy in zones 5 through 11.
- Grosso Lavender: This evergreen shrub needs little water, and produces lovely purple flowers. It also produces lots of heavenly-smelling oil, so this is the perfect plant to get if you want to make soaps or other lavender essential oil products. It’s hardy in zones 5 through 11.
- Provence Lavender: This evergreen shrub grows to a mature height of two feet and has sweet-smelling purple flowers. Provence lavender’s buds are very easy to strip, so this lavender is perfect for making sachets or potpourri.
There’s also Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas), which has a bloom that’s unusual-looking enough to have earned it the nickname “rabbit ears.”
Whichever type of lavender you choose, this multitasking bloom is sure to satisfy your eyes, your nose, and your taste buds!
*Note: Never eat lavender from a flower shop. If you plan to grow lavender for consumption, don’t use any poisonous insecticides or other dangerous products on your lavender.