Growing Guide
plant thumbnail


Herbaceous Perennial Flower, Herb, Shrub

Also known as English lavender
Lavandula angustifolia
Lamiaceae Family
Synonym: Lavandula officinalis, Lavandula vera, Lavandula spicata, Lavandula stoechas

A fragrant addition to the perennial border, herb garden, or rock garden, this shrubby perennial can be also be pruned into an informal hedge or used as edging. It has showy purple or sometimes pinkish flowers and the gray-green foliage remains attractive well into winter.

Site Characteristics
  • full sun
Does not grow well in even partial shade.

Soil conditions:

  • tolerates droughty soil
  • requires well-drained soil
Requires well-drained, light soil and grows best in an alkaline soil with a pH of 6.4 to 8.2. Once established, the plants are drought-tolerant. Foliage yellows in poorly dained soil.

Hardiness zones:

  • 5 to 9

Special locations:

  • rock gardens - Dwarf and semi-dwarf varieties are especially well-suited.
Plant Traits

Lifecycle: perennial

Ease-of-care: easy

Height: 1 to 3 feet

Spread: 2 to 4 feet

Bloom time:

  • early summer
  • mid-summer
  • late summer

Flower color:

  • violet
  • pink

Foliage color: gray-green

Foliage texture: fine


  • upright
  • loose and formless

Shape in flower: flower stalks with upright spikes

Flowers borne above the foliage in leafless terminal spikes.

Special Considerations
Special characteristics:
  • deer resistant
  • non-aggressive
  • non-invasive
  • not native to North America - Native to the Mediterranean region.
  • evergreen - Semi-evergreen, with foliage lasting well into winter.
  • fragrant - All parts are strongly aromatic with a pleasant, penetrating balsamic scent.
  • beneficial insects - Bees.
  • butterflies
Special uses:
  • cut flowers
  • dried flowers - Flowers retain their color when dried. Hang bunches in a well-ventilated area to dry.
Growing Information
How to plant:

Propagate by seed, cuttings, layering, division or separation - Lavender is most easily propagated by cuttings or division. Named varieties of lavender should be propagated by cuttings or layering and not by seed which will most likely not come true. May self-seed if not deadheaded.

Cuttings of strong growth taken with a heel in July or August can be grown in a greenhouse or cold frame the first winter and planting out the next spring after frost danger.

Seeds germinate slowly. Barely cover seeds with soil in a greenhouse. They will germinate in 1 to 3 months. When large enough to handle, put seedlings in individual pots and grow in a greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter, planting them out late the next spring after the last expected frost.

Layering is possible at any time of the year by scraping the bark near the base of a long stem, applying a rooting hormone and bending the stem down and pegging with a "V" cut from a coat hanger.

Maintenance and care:
Deadheading after first bloom may encourage plants to rebloom. This is also a good time to shape plants. But avoid pruning after late summer until new growth begins the following spring. Cut back heavily (to about 6 inches) every 2 or 3 years to keep plants from getting straggly.

Compared with other shrubs, lavender is not a long-lived plant, so it is best to replace old plants about every ten years.

For low hedges there are many dwarf and semi-dwarf cultivars to choose from that respond well to trimming.

More growing information: How to Grow Perennials

Four-lined plant bug
Root rot.
Lavender grown in the shade is susceptible to wilts.
There are at least 100 available cultivars that vary according to their growth habits and flower and flowering characteristics. Numerous cultivars of lavender are introduced every year.

'Hidcote': compact with silvery leaves and deep purple flowers.

'Jean Davis': pale, pinkish-white flowers.

'Loddon Pink': compact, with pink flowers.