There are over 200 varieties of lavender in the world. The colors vary from white to pale pink and blue to dark purple. Flowers can appear leafy or spiky, and stem length and bush size can vary between varieties. We began our first planting with a lavandin named Grosso for its long stems, high oil content, and hardiness in our growing zone.
Year Three we added a variety bed containing 19 varieties of lavender in a range of colors!
- Whites — Edelweiss, White Provence, and Coconut Ice.
- Pinks — Rosea and Hidcote Pink
- Yellow — Chiffon Yellow
- Red — Kew Red
- Blues/Purples — Sweet Lavender, Royal Velvet, Hidcote, Spanish, Grosso, Vera, True Grosso, Silver Edge, Gros Bleu, French, and Munstead.
In Year Four, we added Munstead to our field for an introduction of culinary lavender. It is a smaller plant and blooms earlier than our Grosso.
Lavandins are a cross between L. angustifolia and L. latifolia and were developed in the late 1920's. The hybrids naturally occurred and the seeds are generally sterile. The propagation method of taking cuttings can be used to produce thousands of plants just like the parent plant. The hybrid lavandin offers many advantages: a robust plant, adapting readily to difficult climatic conditions and poor soil; it grows very well. The leaves are usually longer and broader in nature than L. augustifolia. The shrubs grow to 3ft. X 3ft. when full grown without flowers. The stems are long and sometimes branch with three flowers that are blue-gray and spiked. This species of lavender is high in oil content and usually has a yield of essential oil that can be ten times that of the angustifolias. The oil is used in soaps, crafts, and cleaning products.
Grosso is probably the most popular! It takes 3-4 years to mature and can last 15-20 years with proper care, producing 500-600 stems a year,
Grosso is a very dense, spherical plant with mid-green foliage that grays toward the end of the season. Corollas of blue-violet are borne on calyces of a darker violet on beautiful 18-22" long stems.
This lavender is one of the most popular oil-producing plants due to its high yielding spikes and releases an abundant long-lasting fragrance with just a gentle touch or disturbance. It is considered one of the most fragrant of all lavenders.
Best Uses: Grosso lavender is best displayed in an area where steam acts as a natural disturbance to release the soothing fragrance. A bathroom is ideal! Dried bundles and buds are best made from Grosso because of the fragrance they retain for years. The buds can be made into several lavender-filled products such as sachets to enjoy the beneficial aroma. With its long stems, Grosso is also one of the best lavenders to use for making lavender wands.
Lavandula angustifolias have a sweeter scented flower than the lavandins. They contain less camphor, bloom earlier, are smaller plants and more compact. These are varieties that are traditionally used for culinary purposes and many aromatherapy applications. The flowers range in color from blue, purple, pink, and white. They are arranged on the stem in whorls, with the top of the flower spike being flat. The name angustifolia means narrow leaved. Some of the more common angustifolias are listed below:
Munstead is a great lavender variety to attract butterflies, be used as a dried flower, or best used for culinary purposes. Lavender flowers are full of rich sweet flavor and are especially nice when used in desserts.
One of the most popular lavenders available, this variety has medium purple flower spikes on an 18-24 inch mounded plant. Two-inch long narrow leaves have a pleasing gray-green color. Munstead lavender is compact and early flowering.