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Genus Lavandula (Lavender)

Lavandula Lavandula angustifolia 'Hidcote' Photo/Illustration: Melissa Lucas
lah-VAN-dew-lah Common Name: Lavender
The genus Lavandula contains a couple of dozen species of aromatic, evergreen shrubs and subshrubs that are cultivated for their spikes of fragrant, tubular flowers on the end of long stalks. They hail from dry, sunny, rocky areas of the Mediterranean, Africa, Asia, and India. Leaves are small, densely clustered, and often grayish green. Grow lavender in a border, rock garden, as edging or hedging, or in containers. Flowers and leaves can be dried for a variety of uses.
Noteworthy characteristics: Aromatic. Spikes of fragrant flowers which attract bees and butterflies.
Care: Site in full sun and well-drained soil of moderate fertility. Prune in early spring by cutting back flowering shoots to within an inch of the previous year's growth, and then prune again lightly after flowering ends.
Propagation: Start plants by layering or taking semi-ripe cuttings in summer, or sowing seed in a cold frame in spring.
Problems: Fusarium root rot, leaf spot.

Species, varieties and cultivars for genus Lavandula

Lavandula × intermedia 'Grosso' Lavandula × intermedia 'Grosso'
('Grosso' lavender)
(1 user review)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This hardy lavender stands out for its unusually large, dark blue-purple flowers, silvery green foliage, and heavy fragrance. It is often used in perfumes. Growing to 30 inches tall and nearly as wide, 'Grosso'  has very long flower spikes and blooms from midsummer into autumn. It is especially attractive as an edging.

Lavandula angustifolia 'Violet Intrigue' Lavandula angustifolia 'Violet Intrigue'
(1 user review)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

'Violet Intrigue' exhibits the typical handsome gray foliage of good lavenders, but its form and flowers are particularly noteworthy. Each stem is strongly upright, and requires no staking, and the blooms are a deep violet that remains vibrant even when temperatures rise. Other than occasional deadheading, no additional maintenance chores are required.

Lavandula angustifolia Lavandula angustifolia
(English lavender)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

English lavender has silvery gray, aromatic foliage topped in summer with lavender-blue to dark purple flowers on long stems.

Lavandula stoechas Lavandula stoechas
(French lavender)
(1 user review)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This early-blooming compact shrub bears intriguing pine-cone-shaped flowers that have dark-purple bracts, or “rabbit ears.” Bloom appears from late spring to summer. The foliage is gray-green.