Which Type of Lavender Should you Grow? There are over 450 Varieties!

Lavender is one of the best plants you can include in your garden. However, you should make sure to plant the correct type of lavender since they need different growing conditions and can grow in different climates.

Growing lavender is not as easy as other herbs. This plant needs good drainage and sun. It is very picky about climate, since most varieties of lavender do not tolerate humidity or wetness. Also make sure not to put fertilizer since this will stop your plant from blooming. And you want your lavender to bloom so it brings bees (lavender honey is delicious!) and other beneficial insects.

There are so many ways to use lavender flowers, including cleaning products, soaps, beauty products, incense, room sprays, essential oils, sugar, sachets, potpourri, tea, and so on. The best types of lavender for oil production are Royal Velvet, Mailette, Grosso and Super.

The word lavender comes from the Latin word “lavare” which means “to wash”. Romans used this plant to wash their clothes and beds since it has such a pleasant scent. The use of lavender dates back at least 2,500 years. It is believed to be native to the Mediterranean, but there are also historical accounts of it in India and the Middle East. Lavender health benefits have been known since those times.

There are 45 or 47 types of lavender that have over 450 varieties, including many hybrids. The main ones are English lavender, French lavender, Spanish lavender and Portuguese lavender. Lavandin (Lavandula Intermedia) is a popular hybrid. This herb is part of the mint family, which is called Lamaiceae.

English Lavender

This type of lavender has a deceiving name since it is not originally from England, as it name suggests, but from the Mediterranean. It is also known as common or true lavender and it is the one you see growing in lavender fields. All types of English lavender can grow in USDA zones 5 to 9.

Flowers bloom around the middle or end of the summer. They grow in clusters that are lavender, white and pink, purple and blue or violet and blue. Foliage changes colors with seasons, being silver and green in the winter and gray and green in the summer. Its long stems sway with the summer breeze. Ornamentally it is used for walkways, borders, rock gardens and garden hedges, since it can grow up to 3 feet.

English lavender is the most common type of lavender

Many consider this the best smelling type of lavender. Because of that, English lavender and its sub-varieties are often used as flower centerpieces or wedding bouquets. It is also used in potpourri and essential oil.

Types of English Lavender

Alba Nana Lavender

This dwarf variety grows between 10-12 inches (25-30 centimeters) tall and 1 to 2 feet wide, making it ideal for containers, terraces and patio gardens. It blooms once in late summer with white blooms that have a soothing scent.

Hidcote Lavender

Hidcote is used in borders or edges, as well as in all types of gardens and pots. It grows between 1 to 2 feet in height and spreads about 11 to 23 inches (30 to 60 centimeters). This type of lavender is one of the most popular. Dark purple flowers have a very strong scent when they bloom once a year, during late spring to early summer, for a long time.

Pink English Lavender

This type of lavender gets its name from its pale pink (sometimes off white) flowers. Of all the varieties of lavender, this is one of the heaviest bloomers, but only blooms once in the season. It has a strong and calming fragrance which makes it ideal for garden hedges or borders.

Munstead English Lavender

Gertrude Jekyll, a British horticulturist, was the one who introduced the Munstead English lavender in 1916. This type of lavender is great for borders and rock or herb gardens. It grows between 1 to 2 feet in height and 2 to 3 feet in width. This lavender blooms only one between late spring to mid summer. Flowers are compact with five petals that are rose and purple in color.

Thumbelina English Lavender

This English type of lavender does not look as wild as other types of lavender, so it can be used in formal gardens, containers and flower beds. It can grow 10 to 12 (25 to 30 centimeters) inches and spread 9 to 11 inches (22 to 28 centimeters). Thumbelina English lavender blooms once in early to midsummer, however it can bloom a second time if you prune the flowers. Violet and purple flowers are short and thick on top of long stems.

Folgate English Lavender

Folgate English Lavender grows plenty of dark purple flowers that bloom in the spring and can bloom again in the summer if you cut the dry flowers early enough. This type of lavender grows between 2 to 3 feet and spreads 23 to 35 inches (60 to 90 centimeters). It is a colorful and aromatic addition to your garden, as hedges, borders or beds.

Royal Velvet English Lavender

This English type of lavender grows between 2 to 3 feet and spreads 23 to 35 inches (60 to 90 centimeters). It provides quite a rich scent when flowering, which happens once in spring or twice if you trim the blooms. Flowers are dark violet or navy blue with upright spikes that measure 4 inches (10 centimeters).

Spanish Lavender

Lavender names are confusing since this type of lavender is also called French. Those in the United States call it Spanish lavender and those in the United Kingdom call it French lavender. It is native to the Mediterranean and Northern Africa.

This type of lavender grows between 1.5 to 2 feet. It is more suitable for hot climates, so it can be grown in USDA zones 8 and 9.

Flowers are pink, violet or purple and are quite pretty, however they are not fragrant. These flowers come in a pinecone shape with “ears” that come out of the top. Because they are so unique, they are mostly grown in flowerbeds. Foliage is silver green, quite similar to English Lavender. Aromatic leaves are used for essential oils or potpourris.

Types of Spanish Lavender

Ballerina Lavender

A very showy variety that has upright stems with short spikes of deep violet or purple flowers that have white “ears” on top. Quite an unusual type of lavender that will impress visitors if planted in a container or flower garden. It will bloom several times between mid spring to early fall. Ballerina lavender grows 1 to 2 feet in height and can be grown in USDA zones 8 to 9.

Butterfly Lavender “Papillon”

This is a lesser known species of Spanish lavender. It has very pointy and rebellious looking ears, instead of the more classical ones. Both ears and flowers spikes are purple or magenta in color. In some climates it will blossom year round. Those with seasons can expect to see flowers from May until the end of summer. This type of lavender is very resistant to heat and can be planted between USDA zones 9 to 11.

French Lavender “Anouk”

“Anouk” is one of the most showy types of lavender as it has very large ears (you can see the veins in them) that are a beautiful shad of magenta. Flowers appear on upright stems which peak out of the grass. Both leaves and flowers are aromatic and attract plenty of butterflies. This type of lavender blooms three times from mid spring to early fall. It grows between 1 to 2 feet in USDA zones 60 to 10.

Kew Red Lavender

This compact variety of lavender reaches a height of 1 to 1.5 feet and a width of 1 feet. Making it perfect for containers or flowerbeds. Originally from Europe and northwestern Africa. Kew Red lavender blooms from late spring to late summer or early fall. Its flowers are carmine with white or pink ears.

Regal Splendor Lavender

This variety of lavender will give a touch of royalty to your garden. It has thick violet blue spikes and deep magenta ears that are long and upright. It almost looks like crowns on top of the heads. Flowers bloom three times from spring to late summer. Plant Regal Splendour lavender in USDA zones 8 and 9. It will grow between 2 to 3 feet in height.

French Lavender

This drought tolerant type of lavender needs very little maintenance. French lavender is also known as fringed lavender. Its scientific name is lavandula dentata which makes a reference to the dented leaves. It grows between 1 to 3 feet in hotter climates, as it should be planted in USDA zones 8 to 11.

Flowers are less fragrant and lighter than English lavender, but they are also beautiful and have a pleasant scent. They bloom non-stop from early summer to fall if they have enough warmth and sunlight. Dried flowers are used for decoration and craft. Leaves are green and gray with a rich aroma that is a combination of lavender and rosemary.

Portuguese Lavender

Portuguese Lavender is not native to Portugal but to the Mediterranean. It needs cooler climates, so it is hardy between USDA zones 6 to 8. This type of lavender grows between 1 to 3 feet.

This evergreen plant flowers between spring and summer. Long flowers spikes are pale lilac with a stronger and more pungent smell than English lavender. These flowers are cut or dried for ornaments.

Egyptian Lavender

This type of lavender is native to the western parts of the Mediterranean. It is usually grown as a landscape plant, that reaches a height of 1 to 3 feet. Egyptian lavender needs cooler climates and is hardy between USDA zones 6 to 8.

Flowers grow on a long stalk between spring and summer. They are pale lilac in color and have a very strong and pungent aroma.


The reason why this hybrid is so popular is because it can grow anywhere. This type of lavender combines the English lavender, which is cold-hardy, with the Portuguese lavender that can tolerate heat. Therefore it answers the problem that gardeners face all over the world.

Lavandin blooms are plentiful during the summer. It has dark violet to white flowers that come in long spikes and are very fragrant. The leaves of this lavender are gray green. It grows shrubby and compact up to 30 inches (75 centimeters), making it a great plant to place in hedges, borders, herb or rock gardens.

Types of Lavandin

Provence Lavandin

When we think of lavender, we usually think of the fields in Provence. So what better name for a lavender specie? Provence Lavandin is a variety that likes humid summer, unlike most that need dry areas. It can be planted in USDA zones 5 to 8. This type of lavender grows between 2 to 3 feet in height. Flowering happens between mid to late summer, when plants produce big flower heads that are 3 inches (8 centimeters) long. Flowers are deep violet purple.

Grosso Lavandin

This type of lavender is ideal to cover slopes as it grows fast and is vigorous. It has a very elegant appearance with long stems which produce traditional lavender colored flowers. Stems grow by each other, but are quite sparse so they don’t look crowded. Grosso Lavandin is hardy in USDA zones 5 to 8 and it grows between 2 to 3 feet.

Hidcote Giant Lavandin

Hidcote Giant Lavandin grows between 2 to 3 feet and spreads 3 to 4 feet. This type of lavender is hardy to USDA zones 5 to 8. It is an unusual variety since it has a big and plump flower spike that produces flowers in several shades of purple. The whole spike is quite big, reaching about 4 inches (10 centimeters) in length. It flowers during summer. This decorative plant looks great in containers or gardens.