As gardening enthusiasts, we all aspire to create a beautiful and thriving garden that is low maintenance and resilient to harsh weather conditions. One plant that fits this description perfectly is the English lavender. This hardy and adaptable plant can withstand cold winters, droughts, and even deer and rabbit predation.
In this article, we will delve into the world of English lavenders, exploring their various varieties, characteristics, and how to care for them to ensure their longevity.
English lavenders are the hardiest of all lavender species, and their adaptability makes them a popular choice for gardeners who want a low maintenance yet visually stunning garden. With their versatility and hardiness, these plants can thrive in a wide range of environments, from cold winters to hot summers.
In this guide, we will explore the different varieties of English lavenders, their unique characteristics, and how to care for them to ensure they thrive in your garden. Whether you are an experienced gardener or new to the hobby, this guide will provide you with the knowledge and tools to create a garden that is both beautiful and resilient to the harshest weather conditions.
- English lavenders are the hardiest of all lavender species and can tolerate snow, drought, and resist deer and rabbit predation.
- Good pruning in early spring and late summer is essential for the longevity of English lavenders and to achieve a robust mound shape.
- English lavenders can grow successfully up to USDA zone 5 and can tolerate freezing temperatures, frosts, and snow in winter without killing the plant.
- English lavenders are highly drought tolerant due to their Mediterranean heritage and will only need occasional water once established.
Hardiness and Resilience
We love how English lavenders’ hardiness and resilience make them the perfect choice for colder climates and drought-prone areas. These plants are the hardiest of all lavender species, capable of surviving temperatures as low as -30°C (-20°F).
English lavenders are the only lavender species that can reliably live for several years in temperate climates that see frequent winter frosts and can grow successfully up to USDA zone 5. Their resilience to freezing temperatures, frosts, and snow in winter without killing the plant is remarkable.
In fact, good pruning in the early spring and late summer to achieve a robust mound shape and structure is essential for the longevity of lavender. This pruning technique also slows down the growth of the woody base, which is necessary to increase the life of the plant.
English lavenders have specifically adapted to grow in the low fertility sandy soils of the Mediterranean region of southern Europe, which explains their ability to thrive in harsh conditions.
Pruning and Maintenance
Regular pruning and proper maintenance are crucial for the longevity and health of this hardy plant species. English lavenders benefit greatly from mound pruning, which involves pruning the plant into a robust mound shape and structure. This not only helps the plant withstand the effects of winter, but it also slows down the growth of the woody base, which is necessary for increasing the life of the plant.
Mound pruning also promotes a more compact and bushy growth habit, resulting in a more attractive and healthy plant. Timing of pruning is also essential for English lavenders. It’s best to prune the plant in early spring and late summer, as this is when the new growth begins and the plant can recover from the pruning.
Pruning during other times of the year can damage the plant and inhibit its growth. Overall, proper pruning and maintenance can help English lavenders thrive in cold and drought conditions, resulting in a healthy and beautiful plant for years to come.
Soil and Water Requirements
When planting lavender, it is important to ensure the soil is fast draining and not water retaining, such as clay or boggy low lying areas, to promote healthy growth. Lavenders of all species require well-drained soil to thrive, and English lavenders are no exception. This means that the soil should be amended with plenty of sand to ensure it drains very quickly and does not retain much moisture.
Improving drainage is essential for the longevity of English lavenders as it prevents root rot and other diseases. Established English lavenders are highly drought tolerant, and only need occasional watering. However, during prolonged drought periods, it is important to water them deeply to ensure the roots receive enough moisture. A good rule of thumb is to water the plant once a week, but adjust this according to weather conditions. To help retain moisture in the soil, mulching is recommended. The table below summarizes the soil and water requirements for English lavenders:
|Soil Requirements||Water Requirements|
|Fast draining soil||Occasional watering|
|Soil amended with sand||Deep watering during prolonged drought periods|
|No damp, water retaining soils||Adjust watering according to weather conditions|
|Prevents root rot||Mulching recommended|
|Essential for longevity|
By maintaining the appropriate soil and water requirements, English lavenders can thrive in cold and drought conditions, making them a versatile and durable plant for any garden.
Varieties and Uses
Just like a painter’s palette, the different varieties of lavender offer a range of colors and aromas to elevate any garden or bouquet. English lavenders, in particular, come in a variety of sizes and colors, making them a versatile addition to any landscape.
Popular dwarf varieties such as Hidcote Superior, Munstead, and Sarah are perfect for low hedging or decorative use, while semi-dwarf varieties like Jean Davis, Hidcote Blue, and Martha Roderick are ideal for larger garden beds. For those who want to make a statement, giant English lavenders like Alba, Hidcote Giant, and Vera can grow up to 40 inches in height and 36 inches wide.
Cultivation tips for English lavenders include ensuring the soil is well-draining and adding sand to prevent moisture retention. Good pruning in early spring and late summer is also essential for maintaining a robust mound shape and structure, which increases the plant’s longevity.
English lavenders are not only great for home gardens but are also commercially produced for their oil. The Munstead and Hidcote varieties, known for their long-lasting flowers and intense aromas, are commonly used for oil production.
With their resilience to cold and drought, and versatility in size and color, English lavenders are a must-have for any gardening enthusiast or commercial grower.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can English lavenders be grown indoors as houseplants?
Yes, English lavenders can be grown indoors as houseplants, but they have specific growing conditions and potting requirements. They need well-draining soil, bright sunlight, and consistent watering. Pruning is also necessary to maintain their shape and health.
What is the best time of year to prune English lavenders?
The best time to prune English lavenders is in early spring or late summer. Pruning techniques include shaping the plant into a mound to increase winter resilience and slow woody base growth. Benefits of pruning include a longer plant life and robust structure.
Do English lavenders attract bees and other pollinators?
Like a magnet to iron, English lavenders attract bees and other pollinators, making them essential for lavender cultivation. Pollinators are crucial for the production of flowers and seeds, ensuring the longevity and reproduction of the plant.
What is the average lifespan of an English lavender plant?
English lavender plants can live for several years with the right care and growing conditions. Proper pruning and fast-draining soil are necessary for longevity. Propagation techniques include sowing seeds or taking cuttings from established plants.
Can English lavenders be used for culinary purposes?
Yes, English lavenders can be used for culinary purposes. Lavender infused desserts are popular and the culinary benefits of lavender include adding a unique floral flavor to dishes and having calming effects. It is important to use culinary-grade lavender and not plants treated with pesticides.