English Lavender, the queenly lavender of old

English lavender

Old English lavender is grown for its beauty and fragrance. It’s very popular in gardens!

Essential English lavender facts

NameLavandula angustifolia
Type – herb sub-shrub

Height – 2½ to 4 feet (60-90 cm)
Exposure – full sun
Soil – ordinary, well-drained

Foliage – evergreen    –     Flowering – early/late summer (weather dependent)

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How to plant English lavender

Planting English lavender in the ground

Choose a spot with a lot of light and excellent drainage.

  • Planting English lavenderAdd organic material to the soil, but not so much that the soil stays soggy when watered.
  • Old English lavender responds poorly to humidity.
  • Leave a space of 1-3 feet (30-90 cm) between each plant.

Although acidic soil won’t stop its growth, it favors neutral to alkaline soil.


Make sure you plant it in a part of the garden exposed to full sun.

  • If placed under the shade, it will grow tall but will produce less flowers.

Landscaping with English lavender

When left to grow wild, this lavender can grow as high as 1 or 2 yards (1 to 2 meters), but it is almost always trimmed into a nice, round mound.

  • Leaves have a silver hue and are from 1 to 2½ inches long, but only up to ¼th inch wide (2–6 centimeters long and 4–6 millimeters wide).
  • Flowers are produced on the topmost part of foot-long (30 cm) stalks. Each cluster is from ¾ to over 3 inches  (2 to 8 cm) long!

Flowers bloom only once a year and last around 3-4 weeks. After this, they turn to a gray-bronze hue as they slowly dry up.

English lavender propagation

Best way to propagate English lavender

Stem cuttings are the best way to propagate this lavender. Just after pruning the shrub, plant the woody trimmings in sandy soil mix. Many will sprout and become new plants!

  • Follow this guide to make cuttings from 6-inch long shoots (12 cm)

Other ways to multiply Old English lavender

Clump division and seeds are equally effective.

  • With clump division, at most two or three plants can be obtained. Each will grow identical to the mother plant.
  • With seeds, many new plants will appear. Each will be slightly different due to cross pollination. They might even be hybrids like Lavandin.

Water young plants thoroughly and regularly. Do so only rarely when older.

Proper care for English lavender

Watering English lavender

Apart from once or twice upon planting, there is no need to water English lavender.

  • Only in case of extreme drought should the plant be given a little water.How to care for English lavender
  • When growing Old English in a pot, water when the soil is dry deep down.
  • There is no need to add fertilizer, except in pots.

It tolerates drought and is thus famous for its ability to need minimal water for survival.

Pruning and trimming English lavender

The technique is the same for all varieties of lavender.

Old English lavender benefits

Uses of English lavender

On one hand, it is famous for its aroma or scent. You can smell a relaxing fragrance when the leaves and flowers are crushed or brushed into. For this, it is usually harvested, dried and conserved.

On the other hand, the vibrant blue-purple flowers illuminate the garden. They sway along the summer breeze attracting buzzing bees and fluttering butterflies.

Here are a few manners in which English lavender is used:

  • Uses of English lavenderFlavor for cordials or liquor drinks
  • Flavoring for cooking (like dried meat sausages) and grilling herbs
  • Aromatherapy to easily sleep
  • Herbal medicine and herbal tea
  • Essential oil as a relaxant and for massage therapy
  • Lotions, soap, eye pillows
  • Against clothing moths (dried and put in sachets, potpourri, and lavender wands)

How to harvest English lavender

Harvesting English lavenderIt is good to harvest when flowers are just starting to open. Any later and individual flowers fall off the stalk upon drying.

Cut stems just above the portion that has lots of leaves.

  • Tie the stalks and make bunches that are easy to grasp.
  • Hang them in a dry and dark well-ventilated room.
  • It takes about a month to dry out completely, on average.

Types & varieties of English lavender

Hundreds of varieties

There are nearly two hundred varieties and cultivars of English lavender.

On top of the type species, plain Lavandula angustifolia, the most famous (and easily found in garden stores) are the following:

Hybrids called “Lavandin”

White English lavender varietyEnglish lavender is one of the most common lavenders, so it is often cross-pollinated with others to produce new offspring. These are collectively called “Lavandin“.

Here are the two nice English lavender hybrids:

  • L. × intermedia ‘Nana Alba’ – white-blooming, dwarf variety. Its larger parent, ‘Alba’, is also widespread.
  • L. × intermedia ‘Edelweiss’ – also white blooming and nicely mounding shrub

Learn more about Old English Lavender

English lavender, with scientific name Lavandula angustifolia, is also called simply “common lavender” or “true lavender“.

English lavenderThis garden lavender is part of the mint family. It is considered an herb, but it’s in fact an herbaceous perennial. This means above-ground parts may die off during cold winters. In spring and summer it regrows from surviving roots.

It is so beautiful and fragrant that it is known as “the queen of herbs” in herb gardens.

Interestingly, English lavender is native to the Mediterranean (Spain, Italy, France and Croatia) and not at all to England. Simply, Englishmen were among the first to make widespread use of it in gardens as an ornamental plant. Today, however, many compare English, French and Spanish lavender to see which fits them best.

Among other interesting properties:

  • It has a low flammability and low risk of catching fire.
  • This means English lavender is safe for planting in fire protection buffer zones.

Pests and diseases on English lavender

Disease is the only challenge when caring for Lavandula angustifolia. Although its flowers are food for butterflies like large white, you won’t see any caterpillars chewing on its leaves.

Root rot

Rotting roots is the most common problem with this plant.

  • it happens when soil is not well-drained
  • and/or not protected with mulch when temperatures drop below freezing.

Ensure excellent drainage upon planting and mulch with mineral mulch.

Leaf spot

English lavender is one of the Septoria host plants.

Smart tip about English lavender

Grow it in pots that drain well. The round mound it forms will make it look very good!

Images: Pixabay: Alicja Juskowiak, Hans Braxmeier, Meeeeting, Anna, Barbara, relaxa1, Achim Scholty