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Publication #FPS-337

Lavandula angustifolia Lavender, English Lavender1

Edward F. Gilman2

Introduction

Lavender produces gray foliage and purple flowers, although cultivars with pink, blue, lavender, or white flowers also exist. Most plants are 2 to 3 feet tall but some cultivars are shorter and more compact. Soft leaves are borne on erect, square, tomentose stems. The plant is a perennial in the northern part of its range but may decline in zone 8 due to the summer heat.

General Information

Scientific name: Lavandula angustifolia
Pronunciation: luh-VAN-dyoo-luh an-gus-tif-FOLE-ee-uh
Common name(s): lavender, English lavender
Family: Labiatae
Plant type: herbaceous; perennial
USDA hardiness zones: 5B through 8 (Fig. 1)
Planting month for zone 7: year round
Planting month for zone 8: year round
Origin: not native to North America
Uses: cut flowers; ground cover; mass planting; attracts butterflies
Availability: generally available in many areas within its hardiness range

Figure 1. 

Shaded area represents potential planting range.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Description

Height: 1 to 3 feet
Spread: 2 to 3 feet
Plant habit: spreading
Plant density: moderate
Growth rate: slow
Texture: fine

Foliage

Leaf arrangement: whorled
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: entire
Leaf shape: oblong
Leaf venation: none, or difficult to see
Leaf type and persistence: deciduous
Leaf blade length: less than 2 inches
Leaf color: blue or blue-green
Fall color: no fall color change
Fall characteristic: not showy

Flower

Flower color: purple
Flower characteristic: pleasant fragrance; summer flowering

Fruit

Fruit shape: unknown
Fruit length: unknown
Fruit cover: unknown
Fruit color: unknown
Fruit characteristic: inconspicuous and not showy

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: not applicable
Current year stem/twig color: gray/silver
Current year stem/twig thickness: thin

Culture

Light requirement: plant grows in full sun
Soil tolerances: acidic; slightly alkaline; sand; loam; clay
Drought tolerance: unknown
Soil salt tolerances: unknown
Plant spacing: 24 to 36 inches

Other

Roots: not applicable
Winter interest: no special winter interest
Outstanding plant: plant has outstanding ornamental features and could be planted more
Invasive potential: not known to be invasive
Pest resistance: long-term health usually not affected by pests

Use and Management

The plants grow best in a sunny location in a dry, somewhat infertile soil. Protect the crowns with several inches of mulch during the winter. Plants are more susceptible to winter injury when grown in wet, heavy soil.

Lavenders are widely grown as ornamentals; they are tidy, low-maintenance plants that serve well as borders, knots, in rock gardens, and with roses. They are very sensitive to pH, which should be kept above 6. They can be pruned in early spring.

The oil of lavender is a mainstay in perfumery, and the fragrance is widely used in soaps and cosmetics. Flowers for drying must be harvested before opening. They can then be bound together into aromatic and decorative wands, or incorporated in potpourris or sachets.

Cultivars include: ‘Backhouse Purple’, ‘Bowles Early’, ‘Folgate’, ‘Gwendolyn Anley’, ‘Hidcote’, ‘Irene Doyle’, ‘Lodden Blue’, ‘Mitcham Grey’, ‘Munstead’, ‘Rosea’, ‘Summerland Supreme’, and ‘Twickel Purple’. The cultivar names more or less describe the flower color.

Pests and Diseases

Leaves infected with leaf spot can be picked off.

Footnotes

1.

This document is FPS-337, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.