Container gardens around a patio or deck add color in the heat of summer. Tough and drought tolerant, it grows where other plants wither. Plant lavender in a sunny warm spot with well draining soil. No fuss and easy to grow, lavender is deer resistant too.
Over 20 genus of lavender exist with hundreds of named varieties. The true lavenders (Lavandula angustifolia) known as the English lavenders are among the most popular.
The heavy flowering Lavandins (Lavandula x intermedia) are grown for abundant oil and flower production, while the Spanish (L. stoechas) varieties have a special use in landscaping.
Here is a short list to help you choose which lavender varieties to grow-
English lavender (l.angustifolia):
This plant is a semi-evergreen perennial with cool-colored flowers that have a multitude of uses. You can enjoy it as an ornamental in the garden, and then harvest and use the buds in crafts and projects.
‘Hidcote’ is a dwarf variety that blooms earlier than most with deep purple flower buds. Plant along a pathway for a fragrant hedge.
‘Munstead’ is a tried and true variety that blooms a pale, purple color. Tuck groupings of three or more in sunny flower border to add a color in mid-summer.
‘Mailette’ has velvety, silver foliage that adds shimmer to the garden. Bred for its high oil content, this highly fragrant cultivar planted near outdoor living spaces adds natural aromatherapy.
Lavandins (L.x intermedia):
Lavandins grow large and take up space in the garden. Plant them on a sunny hillside with other drought tolerant plants like rockrose and rosemary for a low water use tapestry of color.
‘Grosso’, one of the largest growing lavenders; in flower it can reach up to 4 feet high and wide. Good for medicinal and cosmetic uses.
‘Provence’ has pale purple, long flower spikes. One of the smaller growing lavandins, it will stay tidy and compact, making it ideal for container plantings.
‘Seal’-produces a large amount of flowers per plant, which makes this variety perfect for a cut flower garden. Harvest for fresh and dried flower bouquets.
Spanish (L. stoechas):
Easily recognizable by the plump flowers that cover the plants in early summer. This variety can be tender to zone 7 but will thrive in a warm sheltered location. Stoechas cultivars bloom earlier and longer than the English varieties and the best for landscaping.
‘Otto Quast’, the most popular variety for landscaping. This variety takes well to shearing and is good for hedges or in mass plantings.
‘Hazel’ is a tidy growing lavender that blooms earlier than most cultivars. Plant ‘Hazel’ in containers with late blooming bulbs like ‘Purple Sensation’ alliums to extend spring color.
‘Silver Anouk’ – the stunning silver foliage looks good year-around while the deep purple blooms show off from spring to summer.
Sue Goetz CPH is a garden coach, designer, speaker, and writer from Gig Harbor. She is also the author of a series of garden booklets called the Creative Garden guides including one titled “In Love with Lavender” Visit her website at www.thecreativeagrdener.com for more information.