After yesterday’s article ran, I received some emails from people asking for details about growing their English lavender. Many of the particulars about growing your plant, such as bloom time, will depend on which variety you’re growing. What will be common to all is that they all do best in full sun and well-drained soil, they are all fragrant, and they can all be used for craft and culinary purposes.
Here are some of the common varieties:
Provence: this is a variety I see a lot in local garden centers. Flowers are light lavender-blue and grow on narrow spikes in the summer. Commercially, this variety is grown for its oil, so it is one of the most fragrant lavenders to grow. It’s not a very good cut flower, because its stems are so thin, but it is excellent for making lavender wands.
Hidcote: This is also another very popular variety. The foliage is silvery and the flowers are dark purple-blue. It blooms from late spring to early summer, and is also one of the strongest scented varieties.
Graves: The flowers are lavender-blue and very fragrant. It blooms heavily in late spring and early summer and is a little taller than most English lavenders, growing to a height of about 3 feet.
Purple Bouquet: This is a good choice if you want to grow lavender for cutting fresh or drying. It has long stems, silvery-green foliage and rich purple blooms in early summer.
Betty’s Blue: What makes this lavender stand out is its growing habit. It grows in a rounded mound and produces large spikes of dark purple-blue flowers in late spring and early summer. This compact variety is good for growing as a small hedge.
Royal Purple: This variety has long stems of strongly scented purple flowers in early summer. The blooms hold their color well after drying. This is one of the larger English lavender varieties.
Munstead: This variety is very compact, growing only 18″ tall. The violet-purple flowers bloom in mid- to late-spring on attractive silvery foliage. Also known for its strong fragrance.
Buena Vista: Blooms twice a year, in late spring and again in autumn, with a bicolored purple and violet flower.
Melissa: Instead of blooming in a shade of purple, this variety’s flowers are light pink and fade to white. Blooms in late spring and early summer.
Folgate: A good pick for growing as a low hedge. Dark purple flowers bloom in early summer.
There are many, many more varieties available, beyond this list. You may need to order hard-to-find varieties from a catalog. The internet will provide many sources for lavender plants.