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Lavandula angustifolia - Mill.

Common Name English Lavender, True Lavender
Family Lamiaceae or Labiatae
USDA hardiness 5-8
Known Hazards The volatile oil may rarely cause sensitization [301].
Habitats Dry grassy slopes amongst rocks[9], in exposed, usually parched, hot rocky situations often on calcareous soils[200].
Range Europe - Mediterranean.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (5 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Lavandula angustifolia English Lavender, True Lavender

Lavandula angustifolia English Lavender, True Lavender


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Bloom Color: Lavender, Purple. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Late summer, Mid summer. Form: Rounded.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Lavandula angustifolia is an evergreen Shrub growing to 1.2 m (4ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a slow rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 5. It is in leaf all year, in flower from July to September, and the seeds ripen from August to October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees, Lepidoptera (Moths & Butterflies).
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline and saline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


L. officinale. L. spica. pro parte. L. vera. (not of gardens)

Plant Habitats

 Hedge; Cultivated Beds; East Wall. In. South Wall. In. West Wall. In.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts:
Edible Uses: Condiment  Tea

Leaves, petals and flowering tips - raw. Used as a condiment in salads, soups, stews etc[2, 15, 183]. They provide a very aromatic flavour[7] and are too strong to be used in any quantity[K]. The fresh or dried flowers are used as a tea[183]. The fresh flowers are also crystallized or added to jams, ice-creams, vinegars etc as a flavouring[238]. An essential oil from the flowers is used as a food flavouring[183].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antianxiety  Antihalitosis  Antiseptic  Antispasmodic  Appetizer  Aromatherapy  Aromatic  Carminative  
Cholagogue  Diuretic  Nervine  Sedative  Stimulant  Stomachic  Tonic

Lavender is a commonly used household herb, though it is better known for its sweet-scented aroma than for its medicinal qualities[254]. However, it is an important relaxing herb, having a soothing and relaxing affect upon the nervous system[254]. The flowering spikes can be dried and used internally in a tincture, though the extracted essential oil is more commonly used. The essential oil is much more gentle in its action than most other essential oils and can be safely applied direct to the skin as an antiseptic to help heal wounds, burns etc[254]. An essential oil obtained from the flowers is antihalitosis, powerfully antiseptic, antispasmodic, aromatic, carminative, cholagogue, diuretic, nervine, sedative, stimulant, stomachic and tonic[4, 7, 9, 21, 165, 238]. It is not often used internally, though it is a useful carminative and nervine[4]. It is mainly used externally where it is an excellent restorative and tonic - when rubbed into the temples, for example, it can cure a nervous headache, and it is a delightful addition to the bath-water[4]. Its powerful antiseptic properties are able to kill many of the common bacteria such as typhoid, diphtheria, streptococcus and Pneumococcus, as well as being a powerful antidote to some snake venoms[244]. It is very useful in the treatment of burns, sunburn, scalds, bites, vaginal discharge, anal fissure etc, where it also soothes the affected part of the body and can prevent the formation of permanent scar tissue[4, 238]. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy. Its keyword is 'Immune system'[210]. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Lavandula angustifolia for loss of appetite, nervousness and insomnia, circulatory disorders, dyspeptic complaints (see [302] for critics of commission E).

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Companion  Essential  Hedge  Incense  Pot-pourri  Repellent

The essential oil that is obtained from the flowers is exquisitely scented and has a very wide range of applications, both in the home and commercially. It is commonly used in soap making, in making high quality perfumes (it is also used in 'Eau de Cologne'), it is also used as a detergent and cleaning agent, a food flavouring etc[21, 46, 57, 171, 238] and as an insect repellent[201]. When growing the plant for its essential oil content, it is best to harvest the flowering stems as soon as the flowers have faded[245]. Yields of 0.8 - 1% of the oil are obtained[7]. The aromatic leaves and flowers are used in pot-pourri[238] and as an insect repellent in the linen cupboard etc[14, 18, 20]. They have been used in the past as a strewing herb in order to impart a sweet smell to rooms and to deter insects[244]. The leaves are also added to bath water for their fragrance and therapeutic properties[244]. They are also said to repel mice[20]. The flowering stems, once the flowers have been removed for use in pot-pourri etc, can be tied in small bundles and burnt as incense sticks[245]. Lavender can be grown as a low hedge, responding well to trimming[29]. There are several varieties, such as 'Hidcote Variety', 'Loddon Pink' and 'Folgate Blue' that are suitable for using as dwarf hedges 30 - 50cm tall[245].

Special Uses

Attracts Wildlife  Food Forest  Hedge  Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Alpine garden, Border, Container, Ground cover, Massing, Rock garden, Seashore, Specimen. Succeeds in almost any soil so long as it is well-drained and not too acid[1, 200]. Prefers a sunny position in a neutral to alkaline soil[1, 4, 14]. Prefers a light warm dry soil[37]. When grown in rich soils the plants tend to produce more leaves but less essential oils[4]. Established plants are drought tolerant[190]. Plants are very tolerant of salt wind exposure[K]. When growing for maximum essential oil content, the plant must be given a very warm sunny position and will do best in a light sandy soil, the fragrance being especially pronounced in a chalky soil[245]. Plants are hardy to between -10 and -15°c[184]. Lavender is a very ornamental plant that is often grown in the herb garden and is also grown commercially for its essential oil[1, 4]. There are several named varieties[182, 183]. Not a very long-lived plant, it can be trimmed to keep it tidy but is probably best replaced every 10 years[200]. Any trimming is best done in spring and should not be done in the autumn since this can encourage new growth that will not be very cold-hardy[200]. A good bee plant, also attracting butterflies and moths[7, 24, 30]. Lavender makes a good companion for most plants[54], growing especially well with cabbages[14]. Special Features: Attractive foliage, Fragrant foliage, Not North American native, Attracts butterflies, Suitable for cut flowers, Suitable for dried flowers, Fragrant flowers, Attractive flowers or blooms.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed[4]. It usually germinates in 1 - 3 months at 15°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter, planting them out in late spring after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood 7 - 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Usually very east, a high percentage will root within a few weeks[78]. Grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter and plant them out in late spring after the last expected frosts. Cuttings 7cm with a heel succeed at almost any time of the year[1]. Layering.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Native Range

EUROPE: Italy (n.w. & s.), Andorra, Spain (northeast), France (south)

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Lavandula dentata Shrub1.0 8-11  LMHNDM013
Lavandula latifoliaSpike Lavender, Broadleaved lavenderShrub0.4 6-9  LMHNDM225
Lavandula stoechasFrench LavenderShrub0.8 7-10  LMHNDM024
Lavandula x intermediaLavender, LavandinShrub1.2 5-9 SLMHNDM225

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Readers comment

   Fri May 30 17:04:18 2003

I love Lavender. It is sooooo sexy......you cn just curl up with a good book and a lavender scented sachet and a nice cup of tea and just relax into an erotic type peaceful state.....i love Lavender. I love it i love it i love it. I also find in quit suthing on my bumps and bruises for extra excertion on my body.after a long day of working the street corners you can just come home and slip into a nice lavender bath and feel relaxed and calm. I owe many fun nights to lavender and its way of making me feel fantastic.

Thanks to Lavender and it's sexiness

*PS........I LOVE LAVENDER!!!!!

lavender lover   Tue Mar 30 09:55:21 2004

hi!! i relly like lavender (levendula),but because i need to do project,so if you know the life cycle of it , pls put it on your web!!

glenn richards   Sat Jul 29 2006

i went to my nears herb store for a 3rd degree burn on my foot in has been 1 day it feels great

Terri Aspery   Mon Nov 27 2006

I live in Cairns North Queensland Australia. I have purchased tube stock of Lavendula Angustifolia "Spica" from a southern part Australia. I can tell you these plants have been very tolerant straight away! Growing madly. I love it and soon I will start my own Lavender farm!

Margaret Delfeld   Mon Mar 17 2008

fyi: Hedrick compiled and edited notes left by Sturtevant before he died in 1894. An excellent reference, if you are aware the information is not recent. Uphof I believe was written 1850 or 1860; I don't have it here. Grieve 1931 Schery 2nd ed. 1972; 1st ed. was 1952, don't have it. Hill 1st ed. 1937, I don't know how much it was updated Dover & other republishers are wonderful, but I prefer to put the original date in my bibliographies. I have no objection to older material - a lot of recent researchers should read some of it and not reinvent the wheel - but I do want to know just how old. I'm trying to set up a website on economic plants. My philosophy is quite different from most peoples'. Different sources have a lot of contradictions and emphasize different aspects of the plants, and I include all of them.

   Sat Apr 18 2009

Very useful in deciding which variety to use in putting a lavender hedge. Actually I often find your site useful for all sorts of things. One thing I would say to all those you look here, is that lavender doesn't suit everyone. Though I do aleady grow lavender and want to put a hedge in, I do not respond well to the herb. I love the look, the biodiversity aspect and give it to my friends to use, I react very badly to it. I can be near the plant but contact with the oils can make me feel quite ill. I get a headache, my throat becomes very dry, I start to cough and sometimes can even have a bit of trouble breathing. Don't get me wrong, lavender is a wonderful and useful herb, I just want people to know that any plant can cause an allergic reaction in the right person. I get really sick of lavender being in almost every herbal product and people telling me to use lavender, even when I say it doesn't suit me! However it is such a wonderful plant that I still grow it. For those that can, enjoy!

English Lavender plants. Hidcote and Munstead are two of the best lavender varieties for the British climate.   Jan 21 2012 12:00AM

I agree with Elizabeth - Lavender is pretty darn hot! I love lying down next my plants in the sun and dozing off. A couple of things I want to share: Lavandula angustifolia is often called English Lavender, which is a bit misleading. It has indeed been bred in Britain for about 500 years, but it is not a native plant and a bit of special care will really help it thrive here. First off, a sunny, well drained location is essential. Lavender likes growing in clay, but it must be situated on a ridge or slope that sheds water and doesn't collect puddles in winter - "wet feet" in winter will kill lavender. Tip 1: Clean out all fallen leaves and other debris from underneath your plants on a regular basis, especially in autumn. This will stop soggy leaves from building up in winter and allow more air to flow over the soil & stems, keeping them dry. Tip 2: When snow is forecast, cover your lavender with a sheet for the night & then flick the snow off first thing in the morning. If heavy snow is predicted, support the sheet with stick to prevent your plants being squashed by the weight. Tip 3: Clip your plants every year. This will help to keep them young and flowering heavily. Don't cut back into old wood.

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