Favourite lavenders for a low maintenance garden
Lavender is a very versatile, low maintenance plant to grow and is suitable for gardens of all sizes. Here is a list of favourite lavender cultivars, along with tips on how best to grow and maintain them
Lavender is a wonderful plant to grow in the garden. Not only does it have a stunning fragrance, reminiscent of warm summer evenings, but its flower spikes in varying shades of purple are so versatile and will lift any border or container display. Lavenders are low maintenance plants and needing little watering, unless planted in containers. They cope well with both drought and frosts are will reliably come back, year after year. A great choice if you're time poor but still desire a spectacular display.
Bastin Nursery in the Netherlands has a renowned collection of Mediterranean plants, which includes well over a hundred different lavenders. if you're thinking of buying a lavender but need some inspiration for which lavender plant to buy, take a look at nursery owner, Roger Bastin's favourite types.
How to care for lavender
Pruning is essential. At the nursery, we regularly pinch out the new growth on cuttings and young plants to stimulate lateral branching. Keep this up when you’ve just planted young lavenders.
When to prune lavender
Prune in spring to stimulate growth and prune in autumn to retain shape. Make sure you’ve finished pruning by the beginning of October, preferably earlier. Once the flowering season is over, there is no need to wait. One big advantage is the plant will continue to grow and you’ll spend your winter looking at beautiful silvery grey balls rather than bare branches. Be a bit more careful with Lavandula x intermedia, though, as it is much less hardy.
There is hardly ever a need to fertilise lavender. And don’t water them, unless they are in pots.
When to plant lavender
Lavenders can be planted year-round, unless it’s freezing. The best time is October. Before planting, work lots of lime into the soil, about four times as much as the packaging says. Every two to three years add a maintenance dose, as prescribed. Note, however, that Lavandula stoechas cultivars and hybrids don’t want lime and are best pruned in summer.
The best lavender to grow
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Contrast’
The Nursery's own selection, with very pale violet, almost white flowers emerging from the deepest dark violet, almost black calyx.
Lavandula angustifolia Blue Ice (= ‘Dow3’)
The palest violet there is. Any paler and it would be white. Looks great when set off against darker colours. Hardiness rating USDA 6b-11.
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Blue Mountain White’
The best white I’ve ever seen. Well-shaped, compact, but no dwarf. Hardiness rating USDA 6b-11.
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Elizabeth’
Longest bloomer, as classically lavender-coloured as can be. Archetypal lavender at its best.
Lavandula angustifolia Melissa Lilac (= ‘Dow4’)
Fluffy flowers in a very special lilac. This plant is remarkable and in a colour category of its own. Hardiness rating USDA 6b-11.
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Miss Katherine’
The best pink flowers. Period. Hardiness rating RHS H4, USDA 6b-11.
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Peter Pan’
The best dwarf cultivar – compact with dark flowers. Hardiness rating USDA 6b-11.
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Royal Blue’
A new and very promising dark cultivar that keeps flowering.
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Siesta’
A very full growing, vigorous and healthy plant with dark flowers. Hardiness rating USDA 6a-10b.
Downderry, Pillar Box Ln, Hadlock,
Tel 01732 810081, www.downderry-nursery.co.uk
Open Thursday to Sunday, 10am-5pm.
Kwekerij Bastin, Nieuwenhuysstraat 29,
6336 XV Aalbeek, Limburg, The Netherlands.
Tel +31 (0)45 5231475, www.bastin.nl
Open Wednesday to Saturday, 10am-5pm.
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