What Are The Differences In Lavender?

In a follow up from our post introducing you to the potential of lavender farming, today we are going to show you some of the varieties that you can grow. We have compiled this information into an eBook, so give that a look if you would like to have your own downloadable copy of this information.

Lavender: A Quick Glance

First off, we are going to discuss some of the main features of lavender. Belonging to the family ‘Lavendula’, these are the requirements that apply to most cultivars:

  • One of the most important things to do is to plant your lavender in well-drained soils. Lavender do not do well in waterlogged, wet soils so make sure your soil can drain any excess water.
  • For optimum growth and profuse flowering, you should also plant your lavender in the full sun. This will also help to dry out any wet soils.
  • In general, when they have matured, lavender can tolerate mild drought. This makes them a great option for water-wise gardens and eco-friendly farms.
  • A great tip for any lavender is to make sure that they are pruned yearly. This will keep your shrubs looking great and encourage flowering. Stems that are more than 2 years old become woody and will not grow further, so you can remove all leafless stems to keep your plants in great shape.

Now that we have covered the basics, let’s check out some of the lavender species you can grow!

Lavandula angustifolia 

Also known as English lavender, unlike its name suggests this species hails from the Mediterranean. It is available in many colours which will vary with cultivar. These plants have attractive, silvery green foliage and the flowers are borne a top slender, leafless stems. Lavandula angustifolia can reach heights between 1 to 2 metres and is great for herb gardens and border plantings. This species prefers alkaline soils over acidic ones, but will tolerate both.

Lavandula stoechas

Another Mediterranean native, ‘Spanish’ lavender has striking, deep purple flowers topped with bracts that look like ears. This species can also tolerate higher humidities compared to others. Reaching heights of 0.5-1m when mature, Lavandula stoechas is great for hedges and topiary. It will also attract bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects to your farm or garden.

Lavandula dentata

With similar flowers to Lavandula stoechas, this ‘French’ lavender can be identified by their ridged leaves that have a distinct ‘toothy’ appearance, hence the name ‘dentata’. The inflorescences are topped with bracts too. This species is favoured for its ability to bloom throughout the year, even in the cooler months. It can tolerate a variety of soils, provided they are well drained and not too acidic. Lavandula dentata also tolerates high temperatures better than other varieties, making them a great option for hot, dry areas.

Lavandula latifolia

This ‘Portuguese’ lavender can also trace its origins back to the Mediterranean.  With its bright green foliage and profuse flowering, this species is favoured by farmers and gardeners alike. This species has one of the most aromatic flowers of all lavender and can grow between 30-80cm tall. Because Lavandula latifolia is one of the original 3 lavender varieties, it is commonly used as a pollinizer in the development of new lavender hybrids.

Lavandin

This lavender hybrid was created by crossing Lavandula angustifolia with Lavandula latifolia. It received the cold tolerance of the former and heat tolerance of the latter. This makes Lavandin a great option for growers who experience temperature extremes on both sides of the scale. This hybrid is also favoured for its heavy flowering and fragrant flowers and foliage. The long flower stalks also make it a great option to use as a cut flower. When mature, Lavandin will form a compact shrub just over 0.5m tall.

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