English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is grown for its very fragrant flowers. This is a very popular lavender in the United States and is found in cottage gardens and rock gardens. English lavender is considered by most to be the "true" lavender. It is widely cultivated for commercial use. English lavender did not come from England. It is a Mediterranean plant, as are other varieties of lavender; however, it can tolerate colder temperatures. It became associated with England because in the 1700s, this lavender was used commercially to produce lavender oil in England. It is also used for sachets, cooking and medicinal purposes.
Soil and Water
English lavender, like most lavenders, requires dry sandy soil with good drainage. It will not tolerate constant moisture. Clay soil areas need to be treated with sand and gypsum in order to allow sufficient drainage. English lavender does not need fertilizer; in fact, feeding promotes leaf growth and slows flower production. It is drought tolerant and will survive winter cold to come back in the spring with new green shoots that bloom early in the summer and again in the fall.
Sunlight and Temperature
English lavender grows in cooler climates than some of the other lavender varieties. Plants need at least 6 hours of sunlight, so they will not grow well in shady areas under trees. English lavender needs some heat to grow and bloom, but does not like full sun found in hot summer areas.
English lavender is a good choice for rock garden areas. Low varieties like 'Munstead' are easily grown in rocky gardens where they benefit from the well-drained soil and warmth provided by the sun heating the rocks surrounding them. The semidwarf varieties like 'Twickle Purple' are also good choices for a rock garden area.
The many varieties of English lavender grow well in the cottage garden, adding their flowers to the other colors common in these gardens. The garden area invites people to enjoy the fragrance and beauty of the plants.
Bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects like English lavender and will be present in any garden habitat where it grows. Aphids, ants and cockroaches do not like the lavender scent and will stay away. Gardeners put a lavender border around their vegetable plants as a pest repellent. Deer also stay away from lavender.