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Know your lavender

The lavender must-haves are sun and well-drained soil.

Start there then choose the lavender that suits your conditions - and desires.

Photos courtesy of Plant Management Australia


Lavender must have sun and well-drained soil.


English lavender

Lavandula angustifolia

Actually native to Spain, with dark purple flower spikes in early summer on bushy shrubs, this is the lavender traditionally used in sachets and potpourri, and, with Portuguese hybrids (Lavandula spicata), produces lavender oil from flowers and leaves. Recommended for cool and wet areas with dry summers. Prized cultivars include ‘Hidcote’, ‘Munstead’, ‘Royal Purple’, white ‘Alba’ and the dwarf paler pink variety ‘Rosea’.


English lavender


French lavender

Lavandula dentata

Toothed lavender is the other common name for this long-lived, trouble-free lavender, referring to the serrated leaves which makes it easy to identify. Mauve flowers on long stems are held above the foliage in winter and spring. Excellent for warmer, humid areas. Trim in early January.


French lavender


Spanish lavender

Lavandula stoechas

Spanish lavender is distinguished by its winged blooms which appear from late winter through summer. It thrives in heat and is drought-tolerant. The scent is slightly sharp, and the oil is used in air fresheners and insecticides. ‘Avonview’, above, is one of the best cultivars, along with the dashing ‘Italian Prince’.


Spanish Lavender


Lace lavender

Lavandula pinnata

Also called jagged lavender, this one has an open habit with unusual ferny leaves and light purple flower spikes on branched stems. It’s native to southern Madeira and the Canary Islands, and is fragrant, but not long-lived, nor frost-tolerant. Try ‘Sidonie’ which flowers from late winter for many months.


Lace lavender


Fairy wing collection

Lavendula pendunculata hybrid

A brilliant, compact lavender from Plant Management Australia’s lavender breeding program. Small flower heads with long ribbon-like bracts are held above the foliage. It tolerates drought, repels deer and rabbits, draws bees and butterflies and tolerates the cold. Like all lavenders, this one needs a full sun position. Grows 70 x 70cm.


Fairy wings


Princess collection

Lavendula hybrid

Bred in Australia and selected for its intense colour and lengthy flowering season. ‘Princess’ has vibrant hot pink bracts atop dark pink flowers; ‘Ghostly Princess’ has pink flowers above silver foliage. Neat and compact, main flowering is in spring with spot flowering through summer. Dry tolerant once established. Clip back to two thirds of size in late summer, and apply slow release fertiliser.


Ghostly Princess


Ruffles collection

Lavandula pedunculata

Purpose-bred for large wings atop the flower heads, with compact, mounded habit and high resistance to disease. Use them as a low ornamental hedge by spacing plants 45cm apart. Water needs are low once established, but provide an occasional long soak during periods of extended heat. Plant in a full sun position in a well- drained soil. Tip prune after flowering.


Blueberry Ruffles


Come with us

To our Gardens of Victoria tour where we visit the beautiful Swiss Lavender Farm just outside Daylesford. Call and we’ll send out the itinerary.

About this article

Author: Linda Ross