Wondering how to choose between English and French lavender? Here are a few key differences between French and English lavender to make a decision you won’t regret!
French lavender and English lavender are related, but they’re different species and they do have a few crucial differences.
Which is best? Which one deserves a spot in your garden ? Read on to tell them apart and discover which is best for you!
English lavender vs both French lavenders!
First and foremost, it’s important to be aware that what people call French lavender is either of two different species. These are:
- Lavandula stoechas in the United Kingdom
- Lavandula dentata in the rest of the world (United States, New Zealand, Australia…)
On the other hand, in the English language, English lavender is always Lavandula angustifolia.
Get to know them so you can choose the best variety for your garden and desires!
|Botanical & Common names|
|English lavender||French lavender – UK||French lavender – USA & other|
|Lavandula angustifolia||Lavandula stoechas||Lavandula dentata|
Description and appearance
|no petals at the tip|
long flower cluster, 1-3 in (2.5 to 8 cm)
slightly cone-shaped, larger at the bottom than at the top
usually, clearly marked levels or stages between rings of flowers
usually, lavender color. Other cultivars range from white to pale pink, pale blue, or violet
|very long petals at the tip (4 or 6 of them)|
shortest flower, 1 in (2.5 cm)
rings of flowers tightly packed together
usually, a deep violet, but there are blue, white and even red cultivars
|short but distinct petals at the tip|
medium-length flower, 1-2 in (2.5 to 5 cm)
intermediate density of rings of flowers
usually, pale lavender. some cultivars are white, yellow, deep violet
|smooth edge, very narrow, often covered in powdery-white dust-like wax (not mildew!) giving it a silver-white sheen||smooth edge, very narrow, almost identical to those of English lavender but deeper green, less white covering||edged with squarish teeth, hence “dentata”, pale green leaves, thinly covered in protective wax.|
usually 3 to 6 feet tall (1 to 2 m)
usually 1 to 3 feet tall (30 cm to 1 m)
usually 8 to 24 inches (20 to 50 cm)
Climate and hardiness
|Climate and hardiness|
|dry, arid, low watering|
-20°F or -30°C with good drainageperfect for outdoor growing & cultivation
great for large outdoor containers
|dry, arid, low watering|
0°F or -15°C with good drainageperfect for outdoor growing
great for small outdoor containers
|fine with either dry or humid|
23°F or -5°C with good drainageperfect for indoor growing, in pots
|softest but most appealing fragrance, high oil production, highest quality. Leafage similar to rosemary.|
perfect for cooking, perfume, cosmetics, lavender wands and soaps
|strong and camphorus leafage, delicate-scented flowers, little oil in flowers|
perfect for cosmetics, lavender pouches and wands, and soaps
|strong and camphorus leafage, more delicate-scented flowers, little oil in flowers|
perfect for cosmetics, wands, pouches and soaps
How to choose which lavender to plant
Smart tip about English and French lavenders
They’re all equally astounding, plant one of each in your flower bed. Their blooming will be staged over the whole season!
Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Different lavender flowers by paravion under Pixabay license
Single English lavender bloom by JacLou DL under Pixabay license
Single L. Stoechas bloom by under Pixabay license
Single L. dentata bloom by juanvi under © CC BY 4.0
English lavender leaves by Karissa Mohler under Pixabay license
French lavender (UK) leaves by tserrano under © CC BY-NC 4.0
French lavender (USA) leaves by Deb under © CC BY-NC 4.0