7 types of Lavender for your dry garden

Lavenders are very popular plants perfect for surviving the climate changes we face. If you are looking for hardy and drought-tolerant shrubs to plant in your low-maintenance dry garden, you have come to the right place to guide your selection.

Among the many types of Lavender plants that exist, I have selected 7 species with different sizes and colours that may suit your garden.

7 beautiful types of Lavenders

I will describe each Lavender with plenty of images so you can easily see what they look like and compare them in terms of size, hardiness, drought tolerance and blooming times. 

Let’s walk through each plant and then compare them so that you can select the best Lavenders for your garden.

Varieties of Lavenders

Lavender plants are mostly native to the Mediterranean basin, where they are adapted to grow in full sun and poor, well-drained soils. This makes them an ideal choice for a Mediterranean garden style.

They are drought-tolerant, hardy and can tolerate most types of soils, from acid to mildly alkaline.

These robust  evergreen shrubs can be very diverse:

  • Foliage can vary from silver to dark green.
  • Flowers can come in shades of pink, violet, purple and whitish-green.
  • Habit can vary from mounding to upright.
  • Maximum size can range from small (40 cm / 1.3 ft) to quite tall (100 cm / 3.2 ft).

We can say there is a variety of Lavender for every preference.

Lavandula stoechas

Lavandula stoechas, commonly called French Lavender in the UK and Spanish Lavender in the US, is a mounding evergreen shrub with an upright to mounded shape. It has grey-green leaves and long stalks bearing oval heads of tiny purple flowers topped with pink bracts.

It is commonly used as an ornamental plant due to its attractive looks and easy maintenance.

It can be used as a solitary plant or planted in groups. In containers, beds and borders. In rock or gravel gardens, aromatic or seaside gardens.

I love the translucent pink bracts at the top of the flower spike. From a distance, they look like butterfly wings. I guess that is why it is also called Butterfly Lavender.

Lavandula stoechas
  • Size: 40 – 60 cm (1.3 – 2 ft) height, 60 cm (2 ft) width
  • Hardiness: -12º C (10 ºF)
  • Sunlight: Full Sun
  • Drought-tolerance: Approx 5 months
  • Origin: Mediterranean Basin

Learn more about this shrub in our detailed description of the Spanish/French Lavender.

Lavandula angustifolia

Lavandula angustifolia, commonly called English lavender is a compact evergreen bushy shrub with narrow grey-green leaves and long stalks bearing spikes of tiny purple flowers.

This is probably the most popular species of Lavender. It is easy to grow, and its dense foliage and clusters of purple flowers look beautiful in any garden.

It can be used as a solitary plant or planted in groups. In containers or beds. In rock or gravel gardens, aromatic or seaside gardens. 

They are especially suited for borders along a path. Having a large spread that can easily grow over the path releasing a wonderful fragrance when brushed as you pass by.

Lavandula angustifolia (english lavender)
  • Size: 30 – 60 cm (1 – 2 ft) height, 30 – 60 cm (1 – 2 ft) width
  • Hardiness: -15º C (5 ºF)
  • Sunlight: Full Sun
  • Drought-tolerance: Approx 3 months
  • Origin: Mediterranean Basin (Spain, France, and Italy)

Learn more about this shrub in our detailed description of the English Lavender.

Lavandula viridis

Lavandula viridis also known as Green lavender is a small aromatic evergreen shrub. It is upright to rounded with narrow green leaves and oval inflorescences of tiny white flowers topped with greenish-white bracts.  

This Lavender is used as an ornamental plant and makes a very interesting combination with Lavandula stoechas due to its similar leaves and flowers but with a different dolour.

Due to their small size, they are ideal for containers, but also look lovely in beds and borders, either in a solitary or mass planting.

Lavandula viridis
  • Size: 40 – 60 cm (1.3 – 2 ft) height, 60 cm (2 ft) width
  • Hardiness: -5º C (23 ºF)
  • Sunlight: Full Sun
  • Drought-tolerance: Approx 5 months
  • Origin: Mediterranean Basin (Portugal and Spain)

Learn more about this shrub in our detailed description of Green Lavender.

Lavandula dentata

Lavandula dentata, commonly called Fringed Lavender or French Lavender, is an aromatic, evergreen shrub with a rounded shape. It has narrow, green, finely-toothed leaves and long flower stalks bearing spikes of tiny light blue flowers topped with violet bracts.

The Fringed lavender is commonly used as an ornamental plant because of its showy blue-violet flowers and toothed green leaves.

It can be used as a solitary plant or in groups. Can be planted in pots, beds or borders. In rock or gravel, aromatic or seaside gardens. 

This lavender is ideal for cut flowers as they last long in the water and also for dry flower arrangements. 

Lavandula dentata
  • Size: 60 – 80 cm (1.9 – 2.6 ft) height, 80 cm (2.6 ft) width
  • Hardiness: -5º C (23 ºF)
  • Sunlight: Full Sun 
  • Drought tolerance: Approx 5 months
  • Origin: Mediterranean Basin (Spain and Morocco)

Learn more about this shrub in our detailed description of Fringed Lavender.

Lavandula lanata

Lavandula lanata, commonly called Woolly lavender, is an evergreen bushy shrub with soft silver-white woolly leaves and long stalks bearing dark purple flowers.

Woolly lavender is a very interesting ornamental plant.  Its bushy base of silver-white velvety leaves with long stems bearing clusters of dark purple fragrant flowers is a pretty sight in any garden.

It can be planted in containers, beds or borders. The planting looks nice either solitary or in mass. Its silver-white leaves make a lovely contrast with the greener tones of other Lavenders.

Lavandula lanata
  • Size: 40 – 60 cm (1.3 – 2 ft) height, 60 cm (2 ft) width
  • Hardiness: -5º C (23 ºF)
  • Sunlight: Full Sun 
  • Drought tolerance: Approx 5 months
  • Origin: Mediterranean Basin ( Southern Spain)

Learn more about this shrub in our detailed description of the Woolly Lavender.

Lavandula latifolia

Lavandula latifolia, commonly called Portuguese lavender or Spike lavender, is an intensely aromatic evergreen shrub with an upright to a rounded shape. It has broad grey-green leaves and long flower stalks bearing spikes of tiny pale violet flowers.

Spike lavender is a pretty ornamental plant with a bushy base of grey-green leaves and long green stems bearing clusters of violet fragrant flowers.

It can be used as a solitary plant or planted in groups. In containers or beds and borders. In rock or gravel gardens, aromatic or seaside gardens. 

Lavandula latifolia
  • Size: 30 – 90 cm (1 – 2.9 ft) in height, 50 cm (1.6 ft) in width
  • Hardiness: -12º C (10 ºF)
  • Sunlight: Full Sun
  • Drought tolerance: Approx 4 months
  • Origin: Mediterranean Basin (Portugal, Spain, S. France and N. Italy)

Learn more about this shrub in our detailed description of the Portuguese Lavender

Lavandula multifida

Lavandula multifida, commonly called Egyptian lavender or Fern leaf lavender, is a bushy, lightly aromatic evergreen shrub. It has fern-like green leaves and long flower stalks bearing single or 3-pronged spikes of tiny blue-violet flowers.

The Fern leaf lavender is a very pretty ornamental plant, adding textural interest with its feathery leaves and trident flower spikes. 

It can be used as a solitary plant or planted in groups which is especially effective due to its foliage.

Lavandula multifida
  • Size: 30 – 80 cm (1 – 2.6 ft) in height, 60 cm (1.9 ft) in width
  • Hardiness: -5º C (23 ºF)
  • Sunlight: Full Sun
  • Drought tolerance: Approx 4 months
  • Origin: Mediterranean Basin (Southern Europe and North-West Africa)

Learn more about this shrub in our detailed description of the Fern Leaf Lavender.

What do Lavenders look like?

7 types of Lavander compared (chart).

Lavender inflorescence forms a spike with whorls, loose or crowded, of tiny flowers and bracts. The bracts are usually coloured and small, but in some species like L. stoechas and L. viridis they are rather large at the top of the spike.

The flower colour can be blue, purple, violet, pink, or white.

The leaves are quite varied. They can have different shapes, from narrowly lanceolate to broadly elliptic, entire, toothed or several times divided. Their colour can range from whitish to grey-green to green.

The scientific name sometimes describes the leaf, for example L. angustifolia means narrow leaf, L. latifolia is broad leaf, L. dentata is toothed leaf, L. lanata is woolly leaf.

Stems are squared and generally very leafy at the bottom.

The size and habit are also quite diverse, from small to quite tall and rounded to upright.

In the chart, you may see how the different parts of the selected Lavenders compare.

Height and Width of Lavender plants

Lavenders height and width chart

The height and width of Lavender plants can be varied from smaller types, such as Lavandula viridis, to quite tall ones, like L. latifolia. However, the plant size will vary based on the weather, sun exposure, soil and fertilization. So you may end up with different sizes than those shown in the chart.

The habit can also vary from rounded to upright.

Which is the tallest Lavender?

The size of any plant can vary based on many factors, such as soil, weather, watering and so on. However, the tallest Lavender species is generally Lavandula latifolia, whose height can reach 110 cm (3.6 ft). Because there are so many different varieties, including hybrids and cultivars, you may find even taller ones among these.

Lavender bloom times

Bloom times of Lavender plants (chart)

Lavender plants will bloom around spring and summer. Some types start a little earlier than others, and the duration of the bloom time also varies a little.

Many factors affect flowering, such as temperature, sunlight availability, and soil fertility, so slight variations may depend on your garden´s environment.

But generally, the bloom times for the 7 selected species in this article are shown on the chart.

Which is the hardiest Lavender?

lavender cold-hardiness chart

The hardiest lavender is Lavandula angustifolia, known as English lavender. Lavandula x intermedia, a hybrid cross between L.angustifolia and L. latifolia, commonly called lavandin is also very hardy as it inherits this characteristic from its parent English Lavender.

However, most Lavenders will be quite hardy if you give them the right growing conditions, such as well-drained soil and little or no fertilization. They will only suffer in very wet and cold winters.

In this article, I have selected the most cold-hardy types because I always try to choose the plants better adapted to weather extremes that we face with climate change.

Nevertheless, some Lavenders are naturally tougher than others. Depending on your climate, you may choose the best ones for your garden based on the hardiness chart shown here.

Which is the most drought-tolerant Lavender?

Lavender drought tolerance chart

Lavenders are amazingly tough plants that can survive hot and dry weather for long periods and remain evergreen with showy blooms.

Although all Lavenders are drought-tolerant, some are incredibly resistant to drought, such as Fringed lavender, Green lavender, woolly lavender and Spanish Lavender.

The chart uses the drought-tolerance code defined by Olivier Filippi (https://jardin-sec.com/), which I find very useful and have found to be correct based on my own experience.

Which Lavender is the most fragrant?

The different lavender species have varying fragrance intensities. The most fragrant species is Lavandula angustifolia, as well as hybrids and cultivars based on this species.

Which is the best lavender for your garden?

This is the question that I hope to answer with all the information provided in this article. The best lavender will be different for different people and different environments.

While you cannot change some conditions, such as the size and hardiness of the plant, others you can adjust, like soil and watering.

Steps to choose the best lavender for you

  • Check if the lavender is hardy enough for your climate. If not, then you need to select a different one.
  • Check if you have poor, well-drained soil. If not, see if you can adjust it.
  • Check if the size and shape are appropriate for the spot you want to plant in your garden.
  • Check if your climate can support the water needs for the lavender. If not, plan to water in extreme drought and heat.

If you follow these steps, you will find the right plant for your garden.

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