Lovely aromatic foliage
Of all the lavender species, Lavandula angustifolia is one of the richest in essential oils which makes it one of the most fragrant. Beautiful aromatic mounds of gray-green or silvery evergreen foliage are covered with spikes of fragrant flowers from June to September. These long-lasting blooms will attract flocks of butterflies to your summer garden and the fragrance is amazing!
Lavender is drought resistant which makes them wonderful perennials for the rock garden. They are also great for the sunny border garden or in container plantings. They can even be used to create small hedges. Their fragrant flowers are great additions to fresh or dried arrangements. Lavender can also be used to make wonderfully fragrant sachets and potpourris.
This species and it's cultivars are some of the hardiest and are more widely adapted to varying growing conditions than other lavenders. They prefer full sun and well-drained soil. They actually thrive in poor, sandy or rocky soils. Be sure to amend heavy clay soils with plenty of compost and gypsum. Hardy in Zone 5-9.
Unpruned lavender plants eventually become floppy and sparse. Annual pruning keeps them neater and more compact. Prune to remove the old flower stems, removing at least one inch of the leafy below the spent flowers. This can be accomplished by shearing or by pruning individual stems. In areas with colder winters, do this pruning in the early spring; in areas with milder winters, prune right after they finish flowering. Old, neglected, overgrown lavender plants cannot usually be rejuvenated by more severe pruning; they must be replaced with young vigorous plants.
Some Excellent Hybrids
Lavandula a. Hidcote
An attractive, mounding lavender with silvery-gray foliage. Lavender Hidcote (sometimes listed as Hidcote Blue) can be used in a sunny border, as an accent, or in a mass planting. It grows about 18" tall and 24" wide.
Lavandula a. Hidcote Superior
An improved form of Lavender Hidcote with improved flowering and a more compact form growing to 16" tall.
Lavandula x Provence
Provence has fragrant silvery-gray foliage with lovely lavender-blue flowers. It grows about 36" tall and 24" wide.
Lavandula x Silver Edge
Fragrant blue-green leaves are edged with creamy white which matures to a bright white. It grows 18" high and 24" wide.
The bottom line
Plant a few pots of English lavender in your garden, then pull up a comfortable garden chair, sip a cool glass of ice tea, and enjoy the delicious fragrance of this long blooming plant!