Lavender: Growing Guide

By: Roy Stevenson
Roy Stevenson
www.roy-stevenson.com

Roy Stevenson is a professional freelance travel writer and photographer based in Seattle, Washington, covering travel and culture, history and…

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An appropriately colored purple chair for relaxing among the many varieties of lavender at Purple Haze Lavender Farm and Store. Photo: Linda Popovich

An appropriately colored purple chair for relaxing among the many varieties of lavender at Purple Haze Lavender Farm and Store. Photo: Linda Popovich

Located at the tip of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, Sequim has become “America’s Provence,” the unlikely lavender capital of the United States with more than 50 acres of the beautiful fragrant plants billowing in the gentle breezes of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley.

English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) Zones 5–8, is sweetly fragrant and prized for both its perfume and culinary uses. Compact in stature and with a long bloom season, the semi-woody plants are evergreen with narrow, typically grey-green foliage. English lavender is the hardiest and most widely planted lavender.

  • ‘Royal Velvet’ has especially dark flowers and a sweet smell.
  • ‘Hidcote’ is favored in the kitchen; ‘Hidcote Superior’ has a particularly uniform growth habit.
  • ‘Jean Davis’ has light pink flowers.
  • ‘Martha Roderick’ blooms with a spicy scent over a long period.
  • ‘Nana Alba’ is a dwarf plant with pure white flowers and narrow grey foliage.

Lavandin sometimes called hedge lavender (Lavandula ×intermedia) Zones 5–8, is a vigorous but sterile hybrid of L. angustifolia and L. latifolia. Plants are large and productive, a favorite for crafting. Lavandin is almost as hardy as English lavender and more tolerant of heat in the summer. Flower fragrance is pungent with notes of camphor.

  • ‘Provence’ has long stems and is good for crafting lavender wands.
  • ‘Dutch Mill’ is tall and hedge-like.
  • ‘Grosso’ is especially fragrant and a favored for making wands, sachets, and bundles.
  • ‘Fred Boutin’ is a favorite for landscaping

Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas) Zones 7–9, has a more rangy habit with narrow green foliage. Two to four petal-like bracts that look like rabbit ears top the characteristically purple blossoms. Seeds profusely and can be invasive.