All about Lavender – French Country Cottage

It is all about that lovely lavender today on the blog. Answering some of your questions about our lavender, what types we have, how to grow them and how to keep those topiaries looking like topiaries.

All About Lavender

That beautiful lavender growing in the garden brings beauty and an abundance of charm. A favorite thing? Walking by lavender and brushing up against it sends all kinds of lovely scent through the air. I also love to clip the flowers for tucking into arrangements or adding to place settings- and since it is also an herb- those blooms are beautiful and a safe addition to garnish cakes, drinks and treats too.

Lavender Toparies

There are so many types and varieties of lavender out there-and in full disclosure- I am not an expert on all the varieties and types and details. But I am an enthusiast and I do love all the lavender varieties I found. If you are looking at adding some lavender to your garden – the best way to find what type grows well in your area is to go to your local garden center and see what they are carrying. They will stock the varieties that fit the growing zone and area you live in and so those will be your ideal varieties for plants. I am sharing a few of the types that we have in our garden here in California -along with a few tips for growing and keeping lavender looking beautiful.

Where to Plant

Lavender loves warm sunshine and can take the heat. Just think about all those lavender fields in France and how they are out in the sun all day long. It is a sun loving plant and it is also a water-wise plant so it doesn’t need a lot of water – but it does need good drainage. If they get water logged- they are not happy so amend your soil if needed to make sure that it drains well. Another thing -don’t overwater. As I mentioned- they are water wise plants and great for areas that have drier climates. When you water, give them a good soak, but you don’t need to water daily in most cases.

Spanish Lavender

lavender topiaries

Probably the most common we find at our local nurseries in California- Spanish lavender has a more bushy shape, large petals covered blooms and an abundance of showy charm. Spanish and French lavender can look very similar- Spanish lavender does not have the serrated leaves – aka leaves with ‘teeth’- which the traditional classic French Lavender has but their blooms can look much the same.

spanish lavender

The topiaries I shared recently are a variety of Spanish Lavender which obviously does well in topiary form too.

French Lavender

We have picked up several varieties of French Lavender over the years. From taller and skinnier blooms that ‘float’ very high to more compact plants that have a delicate shape and size with taller blooms for those varieties that look very similar to Spanish and are fuller. The variety we found recently is a lace leaf which is a French hybrid lavender. This one has very tall stems and dainty blooms at the top but not a whole lot of fullness on the bottom yet.

lace leaf French lavender

I love the flowers that float and dance above- you can see the darker purple almost blue blooms that are tall and elegant in the corner of the photo below. Side note- lavender comes in many shades of purples and pinks- so pretty to mix and mingle.

lavender on garden table

English Lavender

English lavender

Dainty and darling- this is such a sweet little lavender. This one has delicate blooms that are so cute and they are also beautiful for drying. We have a couple of varieties currently- one that is a dark purple/blue and one that is a lighter lavender color.

English lavender

When do they bloom? When to prune?

Depending on where you live and what variety you plant – they bloom at different times. Some are earlier spring- some later and they should bloom through summer.

You can deadhead the blooms as you need to – but as long as there are new baby blooms forming – you don’t want to prune it down or you will be missing a new flush of flowers. Generally, I think that late fall works well for pruning. If you don’t prune at all- they can get really ‘leggy’ with lots of wood and little leaves or blooms. I have made that mistake and actually have some leggy plants in the garden as we speak. I have been told they don’t do well just to cut them way back and to replace them. But I hate to cut them out and so, have left them and plant around. But if someone has had success cutting woody lavender back- I would love to hear your tips.

lavender in pots

How to keep them in topiary form

Basically, keeping on top of deadheading and clipping them back as needed is going to help keep that topiary form. I tend to like the wild and wooly personality a little out of control for the topiaries so I let them do their thing until it gets too crazy. If you want to keep that woody stem, clip any random blooms that start to grow on the stem off. And for a more wild hair look- just clip bit by bit as you go and trim back whatever you like to shape it without giving it a big cut.

For more on these lavender topiaries- you can find that HERE.

lavender topiary

I hope this helps answer a few of your questions about our lavender. If you have any other questions – let me know and I will chime in. Up next- how to dry lavender- a favorite thing to do with our lavender. Is there another plant in our garden that you would like more info on? Let me know and I would be happy to cover that in a future post.

Shop the Look

Happy Monday and May 1st everyone!