English vs French lavender, the hundred years war goes on…

English vs French lavender

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.

Read also:

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:

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 name

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)

olive-shaped, roundish

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)

elongated shape

intermediate density of rings of flowers

usually, pale lavender. some cultivars are white, yellow, deep violet

Single English lavender flower Single lavandula stoechas flower Single French lavender flower (USA)
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.
Leaves of the English lavender plant French lavender leafage, as designated in the UK French lavender leaves, USA version
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 drainage

perfect for outdoor growing & cultivation

great for large outdoor containers

dry, arid, low watering


0°F or -15°C with good drainage

perfect for outdoor growing

great for small outdoor containers

fine with either dry or humid


23°F or -5°C with good drainage

perfect for indoor growing, in pots

Fragrance, oil

Fragrance, oil
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

All three types are vibrant and lovely in the garden. Depending on your location and what you want to use them for, you can plant either of the French lavenders, or go for English lavender.

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