It can be confusing, however French Lavender usually means Lavendula denata in todays terms. This is a drought tolerant, fragrant and easy care Lavender with dentate or ‘Toothlike Leaves’ the botanical name is apt. This is a Lavender well suited to Australian conditions.
It comes in a number of varieties and can be used as a low hedging plant, grown in pots or in the garden border. This is a very long flowering type, drought tolerant, frost tolerant and easy care. Fragrance is best described as balsamic with a hint of rosemary.
Flowering can be extended by deadheading regularly right through the flowering season. As the plant flowers continuously over a few month, you will need sacrifice a few flowers. We deadhead by using garden shears and pruning back to below the flower heads. As you prune back it will help the plant bush out, so deadhead by pruning back to 7cm (3 inches) below the top of foliage always leaving good green growth below.
How to Grow French Lavender.
A position in full sun is best, when planted in shade, Lavendula denata tends to flower poorly and will also grow towards the light, creating a badly shaped plant.
You can grow French Lavender from seedlings or from cuttings. Cuttings are usually taken in spring.
- Position – Full sun
- Soil – Humus rich well drained.
- Fertiliser – Use a slow release type in spring and a liquid type at the end of spring.
- Mulch – Mulch around the plants to maintain a cool root run.
- Watering – Water well through the first summer. After this you should only need to water during long dry periods.
- Pruning – The best time to prune is in spring immediately after flowering. If you are growing the plants as a hedge, prune twice a year. Prune as much of the new growth back as possible without cutting into old wood.
- Planting Distance – For a hedge, plant French Lavender at between 25 and 30 cm apart.
French Lavender Varieties
You will find a number of named varieties including :
- Ploughman Blue – Blue to Purple flowers, reaching around 1m to 1.2 m in height.
- Monet – Violet blue flowers on a plant that reaches around 70 cm in height.
- Pure Harmony – A white flowering form reaching around 1 m in height.
- var. Candicans – Tall growing to 1.5m, true lavender coloured flowers.
- Royal Crown – Long flowering with flowers held well above the foliage. Very popular type.
Others include: Silver wings, Green Form, Allwood and Pale Face