How to grow lavender
Lavender is a Mediterranean evergreen shrub, grown for its fragrant leaves and bee-friendly flowers. There are hardy, half-hardy and tender species of lavender to choose from.
Lavenders work in a variety of situations, from wildlife gardens to cottage gardens and even formal gardens, such as planted beneath shrub roses or used as a low-growing lavender hedge. Many lavenders thrive in pots.
Choosing lavenders to grow
The type of lavender you grow will depend on personal choice, including flower colour and shape, plus the shade and fragrance of the foliage (some lavenders have silvery grey leaves, while others are more green). However, there are some pointers to be mindful of when choosing which lavender to grow in your garden. Firstly, it’s worth noting that English lavender, Lavandula angustifolia, is more hardy and long-lived than French and Spanish lavenders, Lavandula dentata and Lavandula stoechas. It’s thought that English lavender is also more attractive to bees than French or Spanish lavender.
Traditional English lavender varieties include ‘Hidcote’ and Lavandula ‘Munstead’. These are undeniably lovely and rightly popular, but have you considered intermediate lavenders? Sometimes called ‘lavendins’, these hybrid lavenders have Lavandula angustifolia and Lavandula latifolia as their parents. Lavendin lavenders are more robust than other lavenders and therefore more tolerant of wetter soils and colder winters. They’re larger in habit than English lavenders and flower for a longer period, providing more flowers for you to enjoy and more pollen and nectar for bees. Popular hybrid lavenders, or lavendins, include Lavandula x intermedia ‘Edelweiss’ and Lavandula x intermedia ‘Grosso’.