French vs English Lavender

Unraveling the Mystery: French vs English Lavender – Know the Difference!

When it comes to lavender, gardeners often mix up two types - French and English. Though they might look alike, they have key differences. This article will dive into what makes French and English lavender unique. These include their look, smell, ability to withstand cold, and more. Knowing these differences will help you pick the right lavender for your garden, whether you're experienced or a newbie.

Key Takeaways:

  • French lavender and English lavender are two distinct varieties of lavender with unique characteristics.
  • The differences between French and English lavender include appearance, scent, hardiness, and suitability for different climates.
  • Understanding the distinctions between these lavender varieties is essential for selecting the right one for your garden.
  • Factors to consider when choosing lavender include soil compatibility, bloom times, pruning, and maintenance requirements.
  • Both French and English lavender can be used for culinary purposes and home fragrances.

What Truly Sets French and English Lavender Apart?

french vs english lavender
french vs english lavender

French and English lavenders are both beautiful, but they're not the same. The key differences between them help you choose the right one for your garden.

The basic difference between French and English lavender

French lavender can grow up to 2-3 feet tall and wide, making it larger. On the other hand, English lavender remains more compact, usually reaching up to 2 feet.

Climate preferences: Where French and English lavender thrive

French lavender prefers warmer climates and thrives in zones 8 and above. English lavender, however, can handle colder weather and is suited for zones 4-8.

Lavender scent profile: English vs French

English lavender has a strong, classic scent that many love. French lavender, in contrast, offers a lighter scent, similar to rosemary. Your choice depends on what fragrance you prefer.

To see the differences between French and English lavender, look at the image below:

By knowing their climate needs and scent profiles, you can pick the best lavender for your garden. Whether you like the strong fragrance of English lavender or the subtle scent of French, both will make your garden beautiful.

Discovering the Fragrance: English vs French Lavender Scent

The scent of lavender changes with the variety. It's key to understand the fragrance differences between Lavandula angustifolia and Lavandula stoechas. This helps in picking the right lavender for you.

How scent differs in Lavandula angustifolia and Lavandula stoechas

Lavandula angustifolia, known as English lavender, has a strong, classic lavender scent. It's great for making essential oils, perfumes, and other scented items.

Lavandula stoechas has a lighter, more herbal scent, like rosemary. While different from English lavender, it still smells pleasantly of lavender.

Utilizing lavender fragrance: essential oil uses

Both English and French lavender are used in making essential oils. These oils are great for aromatherapy. They help calm the mind, ease stress, and better sleep.

You can use them in your own aromatherapy mixes or in homemade scented items. Both types offer enough fragrance to meet your needs.

Which lavender type is more aromatic?

Choosing the more aromatic lavender depends on your preference. For a strong, traditional scent, go with English lavender. If you prefer a lighter, herbal aroma, French lavender is a good choice.

Think about what you like and how you want to use it. This will guide you in choosing the right lavender type for you.

Lavender Variety Scent Profile
Lavandula angustifolia (English lavender) Strong, traditional lavender fragrance
Lavandula stoechas (French lavender) Lighter scent with herbal and rosemary undertones

Choosing the Right Type of Lavender for Your Garden

visual appeal in lavender landscape
visual appeal in lavender landscape

Creating a fragrant, beautiful garden means picking the right lavender type. You'll need to look at the soil, climate, bloom times, and how it will look. This helps to choose the perfect lavender for your garden.

Assessing soil and climate compatibility

Lavender likes well-draining soil and can handle not-so-great soil conditions. Before deciding, check if your soil matches what French and English lavenders need. This makes sure they grow well and have bright flowers.

Understanding bloom times and hardiness

Having lavender flowers all season makes your garden look great. French lavender blooms from spring to summer, adding color and scent. English lavender blooms in late spring and again in late summer. Knowing this helps you plan your garden for non-stop beauty.

It's also key to think about how cold they can handle. French lavender likes warmer places, good for zones 8 and up. English lavender can handle the cold, fitting for zones 4-8. This info helps you pick the right lavender for your weather.

French vs English lavender: visual appeal in the landscape

French and English lavenders look different too. French lavender is bigger, up to 2-3 feet tall and wide. Its fluffy purple flowers add elegance to your garden. English lavender is neater, growing about 2 feet tall with tidy flower spikes. Think about your garden's look when choosing between them.

By considering these points, you can pick the perfect lavender. It will fit your soil and climate and make your garden both look and smell amazing.

Caring for Lavender: Pruning and Maintenance of English and French Varieties

lavender pruning
lavender pruning

Lavender plants need proper care to grow well. This part will teach you how to prune, protect from cold, and water your English and French lavender efficiently.

When and how to prune your lavender plants

Pruning lavender is key to keeping a good shape, healthy growth, and more flowers. Here are the steps to prune your lavender right:

  1. Prune yearly in late summer or early fall after the blooms fade.
  2. Use clean, sharp shears to cut one-third of the plant's height above a leaf node.
  3. Cut off any dead or damaged branches to keep the plant healthy.
  4. Don’t cut the woody stems because new growth won’t sprout from them.

Pruning your lavender regularly encourages new growth and extends your plant's life.

Managing cold hardy: Ensuring winter survival

English lavender handles cold better than French lavender, but both types need winter care. Use these tips to help your lavender survive the winter:

  1. Before winter, put organic mulch at the plant's base to keep roots warm and moist.
  2. Water less in winter to prevent root rot from wet soil.
  3. In very cold areas, protect your lavender with frost cloth or burlap against freeze and winds.
  4. In spring, lightly prune to remove any dead or damaged parts from the winter.

With the right care, your lavender will make it through winter and flourish in spring.

Differences in water requirements and sunlight

Lavender doesn't need much water and likes well-drained soil. But, French and English lavenders have different water needs:

French Lavender:

  • French lavender needs a bit more water than English lavender.
  • Water it deeply but not too often, letting the soil dry between times.
  • Too much water can cause root rot and hurt the plant.

English Lavender:

  • English lavender needs less water and can handle more drought.
  • Let the soil dry completely before watering deeply.
  • Avoid too much water to stop root rot and help roots grow strong.

Both French and English lavenders love the sun. They need 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day. Make sure they're placed where they'll get plenty of sun for the best growth and flowers.

Next, we'll look at how to use lavender in cooking and at home. We'll talk about the best types of lavender for these uses and how to dry and store them.

Lavender in Cooking and Home Use: English or French?

drying and storage
drying and storage

Lavender is loved for its look and smell. It's great for cooking and making your home smell nice. Whether you love to cook or want natural scents at home, lavender is perfect.

Which lavender is better for culinary uses?

For cooking, English lavender is often the top pick. It has a strong scent and taste. It adds a special touch to food and drinks.

English lavender goes well with lemon, berries, honey, and chocolate. You can make lavender sauces, desserts, and more. It brings a fun twist to your dishes and surprises your guests with its flavor.

Creating home fragrances and aromatherapy with lavender

French and English lavender are both good for making your home smell nice and for aromatherapy. Which one you choose depends on what smell you like more.

French lavender has a lighter scent, similar to rosemary. It's used in candles, room sprays, and essential oils. Its smell can make your home calming and relaxing.

English lavender, with its strong and sweet scent, is good for sleep sachets and bath salts. It can help make your space more soothing and improve your mood.

French vs English lavender: Best practices for drying and storage

It's important to dry and store lavender the right way to keep its smell and taste. Here's how to do it with both French and English lavender:

  1. Harvest lavender stems when the flowers are in full bloom but before they start to fade.
  2. Tie the stems in small bundles and hang them upside down in a cool, dark, and airy place.
  3. Keep bundles small for air to flow and prevent mold.
  4. Let the lavender dry for one to two weeks.
  5. Once dry, take off the flowers and put them in airtight containers.
  6. Store the dried lavender in a cool, dry spot away from sunlight to keep its smell and taste.

By drying and storing lavender right, you can use it longer in cooking and for your home's fragrance. Properly stored lavender keeps your home and food smelling and tasting great.

Identifying Lavender Varieties: From English to French and Beyond

lavender varieties
lavender varieties

Lavender is a versatile plant with many types, each unique. It's important to know the different varieties, whether you're an expert or just starting. This helps pick the best one for your garden.

Spotlight on popular cultivars: Grosso, Provence, and more

Some lavender types stand out, like Grosso and Provence. Grosso is famous for its strong smell and big growth. Provence has lovely purple flowers and a soothing scent. Gardeners love these for their looks and dependability.

Deciphering between lavender species: Lavandula angustifolia vs Lavandula stoechas

Understanding the main lavender species is key. Lavandula angustifolia, or English lavender, has a classic scent and grows compactly. Lavandula stoechas, or French lavender, has fluffy flowers and a lighter smell. Knowing these helps choose the right lavender for your garden.

Exploring lesser-known lavender varieties for unique gardens

Beyond the common types, rare lavenders can make your garden stand out. They have special colors, smells, or shapes. From Lavandula x intermedia 'Grosso's vibrant yellow flowers to 'Hidcote Giant's dark purple ones. These unusual types bring creativity to any garden.


French and English lavenders are distinct in their look, smell, toughness, and uses. Knowing these differences aids in choosing the right one for your garden.

If you want a small plant with a strong scent or a big one that blooms for long, there's a lavender for you. Each type fits certain preferences and gardening needs.

Factors like soil, climate, bloom times, and care needs matter when picking your lavender. Whether for cooking or your home, knowing these can help you pick. Thus, you can enjoy your garden's beauty and benefits.


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