Family: Lamiaceae – Mint family
Scientific name: Lavandula
Lavender is in the genus Lavandula and is derived from the Latin root word Lavare – meaning to wash.
There are 39 species of Lavender, but just two are commercially grown for the value of their lavender essential oil and its therapeutic benefits.
Nana Alba Variety
Ellagance Pink Variety
The first species is called an Angustifolia which is commonly referred to as French or the traditional English garden lavender varieties. These are smaller plants ranging from 1 to 2.5 feet tall and wide depending on variety. They have narrow leaves, shorter stems with flower heads that are barrel shaped as opposed to spiky. Their fragrance is softer and sweeter than their hybrid cousins the Lavandins, and because of this, their oil is coveted for aromatherapy and perfume.
There are hundreds of varieties of lavender with colors of white, pink and all shades of blue and purple.
Some varieties of Angustifolia:
Betty’s Blue: Angustifolia – 18-24″ plant size – 12″ bloom stalks; compact and tidy, medium lavender-blue color on short bloom stalks, blooms early summer, excellent dried for all uses. A recommended culinary variety.
Buena Vista: Angustifolia – 18-24″ plant size – 12-15″ bloom stalks; medium lavender color with nice long blooms stalks, exceptional fragrance, blooms early summer and often reblooms, growth habit a bit more open and less compact than other varieties. Excellent for crafting.
Hidcote: Angustifolia – 18-24″ plant size – 14″ bloom stalks; an old English variety, noted for its dark blue bloom stalks, blooms early summer, very reliable and compact. Makes a wonderful hedge along a walkway. A recommended culinary variety.
Hidcote Pink: Angustifolia – 18-20″ plant size – 12″ bloom stalks; an old English variety, noted for its pretty pink bloom stalks, blooms early summer, very reliable and compact. Makes a wonderful hedge along a walkway.
Melissa: Angustifolia – 18-24″ plant size – 12″ bloom stalks; light pink to white flowers with a delicate scent, blooms early summer, a wonderful color contrast to garden landscapes and bouquets. This is our number one choice of lavender for use in savory recipes for salad dressings, marinades or with meats.
Royal Velvet: Angustifolia – 18-24″ plant size – 12-14″ bloom stalks; beautiful, dark, saturated purple color, velvety buds, glorious sweet scent that distills into one of the finest essential oils, blooms early summer , excellent dried for all uses. Our favorite for cooking, baking or garnishing when you need both color and flavor. Deborah’s personal favorite!
Thumbelina Leigh: Angustifolia – 10-12″ plant size – 6″ bloom stalks; dark violet flowers in a compact form, blooms early summer. The smallest lavender and excellent for containers or edging a walkway or planting bed.
Twickle Purple: Angustifolia – 18-24″ plant size – 12″ bloom stalks; an old English variety, very fragrant, bright lavender-blue flowers, blooms early summer, fanlike growth habit, excellent dried for crafting.
Lavandin Intermedias; the hybrid vigor of these plants makes them hardy but sterile. This group typically has larger leaves, longer bloom stalks and larger flower heads that are pointed at the top instead of barrel shaped. Because of their sterility, the seeds in these plants are infertile, and the preferred method of reproduction is with cuttings. They have a more camphorous quality to their fragrance with a stronger scent profile. Great for sachets, soaps and crafting.
In the early 1900’s a virus damaged the lavender fields in France and Pierre Grosso started lavender hybridization. He crossed the Angustifolia species with another of the lavender species called a Latifolia and developed the Lavandin Intermedia. These are larger plants from 3 to 5 feet tall and wide. Intermedia’s are not quite as vibrant in bloom stalk color as the Angustifolias but much more prolific. So much so, that 80% of the lavender grown throughout the world now are the Intermedia varieties. They have many more bloom stalks and a longer blooming time including during the fall.
Some varieties of Lavandin:
Edelweiss: Lavandin – 24-36″ plant size – 16-20″ bloom stalks; white flowers, blooms mid-summer. Creates an excellent contrast in landscapes when combined with purple varieties. Perfect for bouquets or floral arrangements, both fresh and dried.
Grosso: Lavandin – 24-36″ plant size – 16-20″ bloom stalks; perfect lavender for anywhere in the United States hardy, resists disease, medium purple flowers, strong, clean fragrance, mid-summer bloom. Great for drying & crafting as this variety defoliates less than most other varieties. If you have a brown thumb, this is the plant for you. It is the most frequently planted Lavandin because it nearly has it all: dark color, strong fragrance and disease resistance. Deborah’s personal favorite!
Provence: Lavandin – 30-36″ plant size – 16-20″ bloom stalks; very fragrant violet flowers, mid-summer bloom, our favorite for culinary uses. It is the only Lavandin that we cook with at Pure Botanicals. Great in fresh bouquets. The fragrant blossoms leave the stalk easily, and because of that makes great sachets, but not recommended for crafting.
Seal: Lavandin – 48″-60″ plant size – 18-24″bloom stalks; very large plant, profuse bloomer, medium blue flowers, strong fragrance, early summer bloom, one plant will produce thousands of blossoms at maturity. This BIG plant would be great for a privacy hedge!
Super: Lavandin – 36-48″ plant size – 18-20″bloom stalks; large plant, profuse bloomer, exceptional fragrance and distills into a very fine essential oil.
White Spikes: Lavandin – 36-40″ plant size – 16-20″ bloom stalks; stunning white blossoms, strongly scented, blooms mid-summer. Creates an excellent contrast in landscapes when combined with purple varieties. Perfect for bouquets or floral arrangements, both fresh and dried.
This is in the Pinnata species. It’s called Fern Leaf Lavender because of its unique leaf structure. This is the very first lavender to bloom in the Spring! It grows very quickly and blooms continually into the Fall. The bloom stalks are long, abundant and violet in color. Not a lot of scent but pretty nevertheless and worth including in the garden. However, it can’t survive freezing temperatures. But is wonderful as an annual particularly in a container in zone 7 or below.