English Vs. French Lavender: Which Is Right For You?

As we were strolling through the garden center, we stumbled upon a beautiful display of lavender plants. The vibrant purple flowers and sweet aroma caught our attention, and we couldn’t resist the urge to add them to our collection. However, as we were browsing through the selection, we noticed that there were two types of lavender: English and French. We were unsure which one to choose, and that’s when we realized that many gardeners face the same dilemma.

If you’re like us and want to add lavender to your garden or pot, it’s essential to understand the differences between English and French lavender. Both species belong to the same plant family, but they have distinct characteristics that make them unique.

In this article, we will provide an in-depth comparison between the two and help you determine which one is right for you based on factors such as hardiness, aroma, and flowering season. We will also offer tips on how to care for lavenders to ensure they thrive in your garden or pot.

So, let’s dive in and discover which type of lavender is the perfect fit for your gardening needs.

Key Takeaways

  • English lavender is hardier and longer-lasting than French lavender, making it a better choice for those who prioritize cost and longevity.
  • French lavender has a more subtle aroma and a longer flowering season, making it a good choice for those who want a variety of sizes and a longer period of blooming.
  • Both English and French lavender require well-draining soil, full sun, infrequent watering, and regular pruning to thrive.
  • The mature size of any lavender depends on the conditions it is grown in, and both species prefer alkaline soil with low to medium fertility.

Growing Conditions

We should make sure to provide well-draining sandy soil and full sun for our lavender plants, as both English and French lavender thrive in these growing conditions. Lavenders of all species and varieties grow best in well-draining sandy soil, with low to medium fertility. They also require full sun to thrive and produce their signature fragrant flowers. It’s important to note that lavender doesn’t tolerate standing water, so well-draining soil is crucial.

In addition to soil and sunlight, pruning is a crucial aspect of caring for lavender plants. Pruning prevents leggy growth and slows down woody growth from the base of the lavender. It’s recommended to prune lavender annually, ideally in the late summer or early fall after the plant has finished blooming.

Deadheading the flowers once they have faded will also stimulate the plant to produce more flowers instead of putting its energy into the seed pods. It’s important to avoid over-pruning, as this can stress the plant and affect its ability to produce flowers.

By providing the right growing conditions and using proper pruning techniques, our lavender plants can thrive and produce beautiful blooms year after year.

Appearance and Aroma

I love the way the blooms of each variety of this fragrant plant differ in shape and color, with one type boasting a stronger, sweeter scent and the other more subtle and delicate.

English lavender, with its shorter spikes of flowers in shades of purple and blue, has a more compact and tidy appearance. The flowers of French lavender, on the other hand, grow in longer spikes and come in shades of pink, purple, and white, adding a touch of whimsy to any garden.

Scent preferences are also a significant factor when choosing between English and French lavender. English lavenders have a stronger and sweeter aroma that is perfect for potpourri, sachets, and essential oils. In contrast, the scent of French lavender is more subtle and delicate, making it a popular choice for perfumes and scented candles.

Both varieties are equally lovely, and the choice ultimately depends on personal preference and the intended use of the plant.

Longevity and Cost

When considering planting lavender, it’s important to take longevity and cost into account. While French lavender may have a longer flowering period, English lavender is known to be more cold hardy and can live up to 15 years with proper care. This means that English lavender may be a better choice for those looking for a long-term investment and are willing to pay a bit more for a plant that will last longer.

To help illustrate the differences between the two species, we’ve created a table comparing their growing habits and winter survival. English lavender is known to be more cold hardy and can survive in USDA zone 5, while French lavender is only hardy in zones 7-9. Additionally, English lavender tends to be more drought tolerant and can handle mild soil acidity better than French lavender. However, French lavender can produce flowers for a longer period of time and may be a better choice for those who live in warmer climates with mild winters. Ultimately, the decision between the two species will depend on your specific climate and gardening goals.

English Lavender French Lavender
Cold Hardy USDA Zone 5 USDA Zones 7-9
Longevity Up to 15 years Up to 5 years
Growing Habits Prefers alkaline soils, drought tolerant, mild soil acidity tolerance Prefers alkaline soils, flowers for a longer period of time, less drought tolerant
Winter Survival Can survive colder temperatures May not survive colder temperatures Overall Hardiness Moderately hardy, adaptable to various growing conditions Less hardy, requires specific growing conditions

Frequently Asked Questions

Can French lavender survive in colder climates with proper care?

As lavender enthusiasts, we know that with proper care, French lavender can survive in colder climates. Pruning frequency, pests and diseases, and indoor or container growth are important factors. Propagation techniques and timing are key for best results.

How often should lavenders be pruned and what is the best method?

To maintain the shape and encourage more flowering, we prune our lavender every year after the first bloom, usually around mid-July. We use hand pruners to remove about a third of the plant’s growth, including any spent blooms and woody stems.

Are there any pests or diseases that commonly affect lavenders?

Common pests and diseases of lavenders include spider mites, root rot, and leaf spot. To prevent these problems, ensure well-draining soil, avoid overwatering, and prune regularly. Use insecticidal soap or neem oil for infestations.

Can lavenders be grown indoors or in containers?

While lavender is typically grown outdoors, it can also be grown indoors or in containers. Proper growing techniques include using well-draining soil, providing full sun, and infrequent watering. Regular pruning is also necessary for healthy growth.

How do you propagate lavenders and when is the best time to do so?

To propagate lavenders, take stem cuttings from a healthy parent plant in late spring or early summer. Strip the lower leaves and dip the cuttings in rooting hormone before planting in a well-draining soil mix. Ideal conditions include full sun and moderate watering.

As an author and indoor plants enthusiast, I have always been fascinated by the natural world and the beauty of plant life. Growing up, I spent much of my time outdoors, exploring the forests and gardens in my hometown and learning about the various plant species that inhabit them.