English lavender (Lavender angustifolia) is known as the "true" lavender. It was immensely popular in the 1700s, when it was used in England's lavender oil industry, according to LavenderEnchantment.com. It is the hardiest of all the lavenders, and it is fairly cold tolerant, with most varieties thriving in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 to 9. Lavender blooms in early summer, and some cultivars will repeat their bloom in the fall. Lavender's flowers come in shades of blue, a range of purple and white.
Purple and Blue
Traditionally, lavender flowers are violet, purple, lavender or blue. There are many cultivars, including 'Cedar Blue,' 'Tucker's Early Purple,' 'Lodden Blue,' 'Gray Lady,' 'Beechwood Blue,' 'Royal Purple,' 'Royal Velvet,' 'Mitcham Gray,' 'Imperial Gem,' 'Delicata' and 'Sachet.' 'Gray Lady' and its lavender blue flowers were named an All-American Selection in 1994. The purple-flowered 'Buena Vista' and 'Sharon Roberts' bloom twice each season (late spring/early summer and fall). Deadheading the flowers immediately after blooming will help promote a second flowering.
White lavender was grown in the garden of Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of England's King Charles I, according to Botanical.com. White-flowered cultivars of English lavender include 'Alba' and 'Nana Alba.' The creamy, bright flowers of the white lavenders are an excellent addition to a nighttime or moon garden. The unusual lavender 'Silver Frost' has purple flowers, but its foliage is powder white.
Pink cultivars of English lavender include 'Hidcote Pink,' 'Lodden Pink,' 'Rosea,' 'Jean Davis,' 'Miss Katherine' and 'Melissa,' a new variety that has pink flowers that fade to white. Some experts think 'Rosea,' 'Jean Davis' and 'Lodden Pink' are all the same cultivar, according to the University of Illinois Extension. Many of the pink varieties will bloom a second time in early summer if deadheaded after the first bloom.
Growing English Lavender
English lavender, which is a member of the aromatic mint family, is native to the dry, mountain regions of southern Europe. It received its "English" moniker by virtue of being the only lavender that would grow outdoors in English gardens, according to the University of Arkansas Extension. English lavender should be planted in sunny areas with a southern exposure. It needs gravely or sandy soil with a pH that is slightly alkaline. Do not over water, since constantly wet or moist soil will cause root rot and eventual death. If you mulch your lavender, use rock instead of bark to reduce humidity near the plant.