Lavender is a versatile and beautiful plant, beloved for its fragrant flowers, soothing aroma, and culinary uses. It’s no wonder that so many people want to grow lavender in their own gardens.
In addition to its beauty and fragrance, lavender has many practical uses. Its essential oil is used in aromatherapy and natural skin care products, and its dried flowers can be used in sachets and potpourri. Lavender is also a popular ingredient in cooking and baking, adding a unique and delicate flavor to a variety of dishes.
Lavender is relatively easy to grow, even for beginners. Lavender plants are drought resistant and require minimal maintenance once established. They thrive in full sun and well-drained soil, making them a great choice for gardeners in many regions.
Whether you want to grow lavender for its beauty, fragrance, or practical uses, choosing the right variety is key. With so many varieties of lavender available, it can be difficult to know which one to choose. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best lavender varieties to grow in your own garden, as well as tips and tricks for growing and using lavender.
Understanding Lavender Varieties: What to look for
Before choosing a variety of lavender to grow, it’s important to understand the different types of lavender and what to look for. Here are some important factors to consider:
- Lavender species: There are many different species of lavender, but the most commonly grown for ornamental and culinary use are English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and French lavender (Lavandula stoechas). English lavender is known for its sweet fragrance and delicate flowers, while French lavender has more showy flowers and a more pungent fragrance.
- Growth Habits: Lavender plants come in a variety of sizes and growth habits, from compact dwarf varieties to tall and spreading plants. Consider the space available in your garden and the look you’re going for when choosing a lavender variety.
- Flower Color: While most lavender plants have purple-blue flowers, there are also pink, white, and even yellow varieties available. Consider the color scheme of your garden and choose a variety that complements it.
- Hardiness: Lavender is a hardy plant that can tolerate a range of temperatures and growing conditions, but some varieties are more cold hardy than others. If you live in a colder climate, look for a variety of lavender that is known to be hardy in your area.
- Disease resistance: Some varieties of lavender are more resistant to pests and diseases than others. Look for varieties that are known to be disease resistant to avoid problems down the road.
By considering these factors when choosing a variety of lavender, you can find the best one for your garden and ensure that it will thrive for years to come. In the next section, we’ll explore some of the best lavender varieties for culinary use, fragrance, and landscaping.
Best culinary lavender varieties
Lavender is a popular ingredient in cooking and baking, adding a delicate and floral flavor to a variety of dishes. When choosing a culinary lavender variety, it’s important to look for one with a milder flavor and fragrance, as some varieties can be too pungent for cooking.
- Munstead: Munstead is a popular English lavender variety known for its sweet fragrance and mild flavor. It is a compact plant that grows to about 18 inches tall, making it a great choice for smaller gardens.
- Hidcote: Hidcote is another English lavender variety that is prized for its intense fragrance and deep purple flowers. It has a milder flavor than some other varieties, making it a great choice for cooking and baking.
- Melissa: Melissa is a French lavender variety known for its sweet and delicate fragrance. It has pale pink flowers and a mild flavor that makes it a great choice for culinary use.
- Provence: Provence is a French lavender variety prized for its fragrance and flavor. It has a milder flavor than some other French varieties, making it a great choice for cooking and baking.
- Twickle Purple: Twickle Purple is an English lavender variety known for its striking deep purple flowers and mild aroma. It is a compact plant that grows to about 12 inches tall, making it a great choice for container gardens.
By choosing one of these lavender varieties for your culinary garden, you can enjoy fresh lavender in your favorite recipes and create unique and flavorful dishes that are sure to impress.
Best Lavender Varieties for Perfumery
Lavender is prized for its soothing and relaxing scent, making it a popular choice for aromatherapy, skin care, and home fragrance. When choosing a lavender variety for fragrance, it’s important to look for one with a strong and long-lasting scent.
- Grosso: Grosso is a French lavender variety prized for its strong and long-lasting fragrance. It has deep purple flowers and a sweet, floral scent that is perfect for aromatherapy and home fragrances.
- Phenomenal: Phenomenal is an English Lavender variety known for its strong fragrance and disease resistance. It has light blue flowers and a sweet, floral fragrance that makes it a great choice for sachets and potpourri.
- Royal Velvet: Royal Velvet is an English lavender variety prized for its intense fragrance and deep purple flowers. It has a sweet, floral scent that is perfect for aromatherapy and natural skin care products.
- Provence: In addition to being a great choice for culinary use, Provence is also prized for its fragrance. It has a sweet, floral scent that is perfect for home fragrances, sachets and potpourri.
- Munstead: Munstead is another English lavender variety that is prized for its fragrance. It has a sweet and calming scent that is perfect for aromatherapy and natural skin care products.
By choosing one of these lavender varieties for your fragrant garden, you can enjoy the soothing and relaxing scent of lavender in your home and skin care products, creating a serene and calming atmosphere that will help you unwind and de-stress.
Best Lavender Varieties for Landscaping
Lavender is a popular choice for landscaping because of its beautiful flowers, soothing fragrance, and low-maintenance qualities. When choosing a lavender variety for landscaping, it’s important to look for one that is hardy, disease-resistant, and has a long blooming season.
- Hidcote: Hidcote is a popular English lavender variety prized for its deep purple flowers and compact growth. It blooms in midsummer and is known for its disease resistance.
- Munstead: Munstead is another English lavender variety that is ideal for landscaping. It has a compact growth habit and produces fragrant lavender-blue flowers in midsummer. It is also disease resistant and easy to care for.
- Provence: Provence is a French variety of lavender prized for its long blooming season and beautiful pale purple flowers. It has a tall growth habit and is great for adding height to a garden.
- Grosso: Grosso is a French lavender variety known for its tall growth and long blooming period. It has deep purple flowers and is great for adding a pop of color to a garden.
- Lavandin: Lavandin is a hybrid lavender variety that is a cross between English and French lavender. It is prized for its long blooming season and beautiful flowers that come in a range of colors from pink to blue. It has a tall growth habit and is great for adding height to a garden.
By choosing one of these lavender varieties for your landscaping, you can enjoy the beauty and fragrance of lavender in your outdoor space and create a low-maintenance garden that is sure to impress.
Growing Lavender: Tips and Tricks
Growing lavender is relatively easy, but there are a few tips and tricks that can help your plants thrive and produce beautiful flowers and fragrance. Here are some important tips for growing lavender:
- Choose the right location: Lavender plants need full sun and well-draining soil to thrive. Choose a spot in your garden that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day and has well-drained soil.
- Amend your soil: If your soil is heavy or clayey, amend it with sand or gravel to improve drainage. Lavender plants do not like wet feet and can suffer from root rot if the soil is too moist.
- Water sparingly: Lavender plants are drought tolerant and do not require a lot of water. Water deeply once a week during the growing season and allow the soil to dry out between waterings.
- Prune regularly: To keep your lavender plants looking their best, prune them regularly. Cut back the stems by about one-third after the plants have finished flowering to encourage bushier growth and prevent them from becoming too woody.
- Fertilize sparingly: Lavender plants do not need a lot of fertilizer, but you can give them a boost by applying a slow-release fertilizer in the spring.
- Mulch around your plants: Mulching around your lavender plants can help retain moisture in the soil and prevent weeds from growing. Use a light layer of mulch, such as straw or pine needles, and avoid mulching too heavily around the stems.
By following these tips for growing lavender, you can ensure that your plants thrive and produce beautiful flowers and fragrance year after year.
Lavender harvesting and use
Harvesting and using lavender is a great way to enjoy the fragrance and beauty of this versatile plant. Here are some tips for harvesting and using lavender:
- Harvest at the right time: Lavender blooms in midsummer, and this is the best time to harvest the flowers for use in cooking, crafting, and aromatherapy. Wait until the flowers are fully open but have not yet begun to fade.
- Cut the stems: To harvest lavender, use sharp scissors or pruning shears to cut the stems just above the leaves. Be sure to leave enough stems to tie the flowers into a bundle for drying.
- Dry the flowers: To dry lavender, tie the stems together in small bundles and hang upside down in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. The flowers will dry in about 1-2 weeks and can then be removed from the stems and stored in an airtight container.
- Use Lavender in Cooking: Lavender flowers can be used in a variety of culinary applications, from baking to seasoning meats and vegetables. Use lavender sparingly as it can be overpowering. The flowers can be added to sugar, honey, and vinegar for a unique flavor and used to make tea and lemonade.
- Use Lavender in Crafting: Lavender flowers can be used in a variety of craft projects, from making potpourri and sachets to creating scented soaps and candles. Dried lavender flowers can also be used to make lavender oil and lavender water.
- Using Lavender in Aromatherapy: Prized for its soothing and relaxing properties, lavender can be used in aromatherapy to promote relaxation and reduce stress. Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to a diffuser or bath water, or use a lavender sachet to scent your clothes and linens.
Harvesting and using lavender is a great way to enjoy the fragrance and beauty of this versatile plant in a variety of ways, adding a touch of lavender to every aspect of your life.
Choosing the right lavender for your garden depends on your goals and preferences. If you are looking for a culinary variety, look for one with a milder flavor and fragrance, such as Munstead or Hidcote. If you want a lavender variety for fragrance, look for one with a strong and long-lasting fragrance, such as Grosso or Phenomenal. For landscaping, choose a variety that is hardy, disease-resistant, and has a long blooming season, such as Hidcote or Provence.
Whichever variety of lavender you choose, be sure to give it the right growing conditions, including full sun, well-drained soil, and minimal watering. Harvest your lavender at the right time and use it in a variety of ways, from cooking to crafting to aromatherapy.
With the right lavender variety and growing techniques, you can enjoy the beauty and fragrance of this versatile plant in your garden, home, and everyday life.
What are some of the best lavender varieties for fragrance?
Some of the best lavender varieties for fragrance include Grosso, Phenomenal, Royal Velvet, Provence, and Munstead.
What are some of the best lavender varieties for landscaping?
Some of the best lavender varieties for landscaping include Hidcote, Munstead, Provence, Grosso, and Lavandin.
What are some tips for growing lavender?
Some tips for growing lavender include choosing the right location with full sun and well-draining soil, amending heavy or clay-like soil with sand or gravel, watering sparingly, pruning regularly, fertilizing sparingly, and mulching around the plants.
How do you harvest and use lavender?
To harvest lavender, cut the stems just above the leaves and dry the flowers by tying them into small bundles and hanging them upside down in a cool, dry place. Lavender flowers can be used in cooking, crafting, and aromatherapy, and can be added to sugar, honey, and vinegar, used to make tea and lemonade, made into potpourri and sachets, and used to make lavender oil and lavender water.