Skip to Content
Lavender and Bee

How To Choose Lavender

High Country Gardens' exclusive and waterwise Lavender varieties are the perfect solution for your sustainable yard.

It’s waterwise, it’s flowers are nectar rich for pollinators, and it’s wonderfully fragrant: Lavender is a must-have perennial! This Mediterranean native is well adapted to the lean, rocky soils of the West – and at High Country Gardens, we specialize in cold-hardy cultivars that can tolerate Western winters, too. What’s more, the fragrant foliage also provides a natural defense against hungry deer and rabbits.

While many plant nurseries focus on French Lavender for its aromatic properties and essential oils, High Country Gardens is dedicated to curating a wide assortment of the most reliable Lavender varieties for gardeners in the West. Propagation and growth in the Southwest have also improved the durability and performance of our Lavender plants. Remember, all of our plants are backed by our Toughest Plants Guarantee.

Our broad selection of Lavender plants means that there are selections for every sustainable backyard and waterwise garden. They can be grown to create beautiful borders, and they also look beautiful in mass plantings – especially when the fragrance fills the air. Lavenders are excellent companion plants to native waterwise perennials and ornamental grasses. Lavenders also thrive in containers, where they can emphasize an entryway or accent a patio planting.

Read on to learn more about how to choose the best Lavender for your sustainable yard.

Types Of Lavender

There are so many varieties of Lavender that it can be confusing to gardeners as to which ones are the best for their area. There are three primary species of lavender that are most widely planted: English Lavender, French Hybrid Lavender, and Spanish Lavender. Within each species, there are numerous varieties, each with beautiful variations in the shape, color, and size. Read on for recommendations based on your growing conditions and gardening needs.

English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

Phenomenal Lavender in a garden border

The most cold-hardy species, and the most popular in the High Country Gardens selection. These typically bloom in late spring and early summer. There are some reblooming types that will flower in late spring and again in early fall with prompt deadheading after the first flush of flowers is done.

Here are some favorites:

  • 'Vera' - an heirloom variety that is also extremely cold hardy (to - 20° F, zone 5a)
  • 'Buena Vista' - a fragrant rebloomer with nice full bi-colored flower spikes.
  • 'Munstead Violet' - a selection discovered by David Salman as a seedling in a Santa Fe landscape with gorgeous violet-blue flowers some of the darkest flowers of any English Lavender
  • 'Sharon Roberts' - intensely fragrant and reblooming, with thin flower spikes
  • 'Wee One' - the smallest lavender in cultivation at only 10" tall
  • FlowerKisser® After Midnight - a David Salman introduction with vivid, deep violet blooms and high nectar content for pollinators 
  • 'Miss Katherine' - a standout selection with powder-pink blooms
  • 'Pastor's Pride' - a sweetly scented reblooming variety that has thrived in the Mid-West with excellent cold hardiness and moisture tolerance

English & French Lavender Flower Comparison

  • 'Gros Bleu' French Lavender
  • 'Sharon Roberts' English Lavender
  • 'Pastor's Pride' English Lavender
  • 'Thumbelina Leigh' Dwarf English Lavender
 'Gros Bleu' French Lavender, 'Sharon Roberts' English Lavender, 'Pastor's Pride' English Lavender, and 'Thumbelina Leigh' Dwarf English Lavender

French Hybrid Lavender (Lavandula intermedia)

Phenomenal Lavender in a garden border

These vigorous hybrids bloom in mid-summer and are typically larger plants than English Lavenders. In general, they are less cold hardy than English types, however, there are improved hybrids that offer great versatility. Choose French-hybrid lavenders to fill large spaces.

Here are some favorites:

  • 'Grosso' - the gold standard of the French hybrids known for its dark flowers, good zone 6 cold hardiness, and large mature size.
  • 'Gros Bleu' - an uncommon, outstanding newer French hybrid. Excellent sweet fragrance (not too much camphor) on a smaller growing plant. The dark flower spikes will rebloom with good rains.
  • 'Phenomenal' - notable for its outstanding cold hardiness and tolerance to heat and high humidity, and long-blooming flowers
  • 'Sensational!' - an offspring of 'Phenomenal,' with similar garden performance, and unusually large flower spikes on a compact form with thick stems and silver foliage
  • 'Edelweiss' - blooms with a profuse summer display of snowy white flowers and sweetly aromatic foliage.
Purple Ribbon Spanish Lavender

Spanish Lavender (Lavandula stoechas)

Always popular, Spanish Lavender's whimsical, rabbit-eared flowers are endearing. These are a great choice for container gardens, and mild winter climates (zones 7-10) with hotter, more humid summer weather. They bloom in early to mid-spring, bringing early color to flower beds and container gardens.

  • 'Purple Ribbon' - excellent vigor, dark purple flowers, and a strong sweet scent to the flowers and foliage

High Country Gardens Exclusive Lavender

Buena Vista English Lavender. Photo by Emmis Oure

Our founder David Salman specialized in breeding English Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia). He appreciated that this species is naturally cold hardy, drought resistant, which makes it an excellent species for gardeners in the West and Southwest. David introduced 4 unique Lavender cultivars to the horticulture trade, which are exclusively available to order from High Country Gardens. 

Our exclusive Lavender cultivars showcase eye-catching flower variations, including dark purple, blue and white blooms, and they range in size from compact to luxuriously full. These are ideal for beginning gardeners and Lavender enthusiasts alike who are looking for a unique addition to your garden.

  • 'Wee One' Dwarf English Lavender is a special dwarf variety that blooms with a wonderful display of short blue flower spikes only 10" tall. It is the most compact Lavender cultivar in cultivation.
  • 'Munstead Violet' English Lavender is a faster growing than other dark-colored Lavender selections like 'Hidcote'. The foliage matures to a nice silver-gray and the fragrance is sweet but not strong.
  • 'FlowerKisser® Delft Blue & White' English Lavender is marvelously unusual with buds and flowers that change colors over the growing season. In late spring, the flower buds emerge pure white, followed by light blue flowers. 2022 Plant Of The Year.
  • 'FlowerKisser® After Midnight' English Lavender has stunning, dark-colored flower spikes with deep indigo-blue calyxes and large violet-purple flowers on a medium-sized plant with gray-green foliage. 2019 Plant Of The Year.

Lavender For Your Growing Conditions

Selecting Lavender For Your Climate & Humidity

In the cold, arid high desert of New Mexico, Lavender can be used in practically every planting. Thanks to the many cultivars of cold-hardy Lavenders available from High Country Gardens, you can enjoy the luxury of a wide selection. USDA Zone 6 climates and colder, reliable cold hardiness is required, so we recommend planting both English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and French Hybrids to extend the season of color to stretch from late spring into late summer. 

English and French hybrid Lavender tolerate heat and cold, but their enemy is high heat and high humidity. If you're living in a part of the country like Texas, Oklahoma, or the Southeastern US where the combination of extreme heat and humidity is common, stick with Spanish Lavender (Lavandula stoechas) as French hybrid and English Lavenders will not be long-lived. Look around and see what species are growing in your area, but don't be hesitant to experiment.

Selecting Lavender For Bloom Time

English Lavender blooms in late spring/early summer, while the French hybrids bloom mid-summer. Choose varieties from both these groups to have fragrant, bee-friendly flowers for most of the growing season.

If you chose twice-blooming English varieties, you'll enjoy an extra round of flowering in early fall. 'Gros Bleu', 'Sharon Roberts', and 'Buena Vista' are three reblooming varieties that we offer.

Selecting Lavender For Height, Color & Texture

When it comes to garden design, our Lavender selection offers a range of heights, colors, and textures to enhance any planting.

For rock gardens, container gardens, or small spaces, look for more compact varieties such as 'Wee One,' a dwarf cultivar exclusive to High Country Gardens, which grows to just 10" tall. It is the most compact Lavender cultivar in cultivation. 

For larger spaces where you want to embrace the full shrub-like form of larger lavenders, look for 'Royal Velvet' English Lavender, or the Lavandula intermedia varieties such as 'Phenomenal' and 'Grosso.'

There is also a delightful range of colors and textures within the Lavender family. For deep, rich purple, look for our 'FlowerKisser® After Midnight' with deep purple blooms. For cooler blue tones, look for 'Gros Bleu' or 'Hidcote Blue.' You can also add some variety to your Lavender collection with white blooms, thanks to 'FlowerKisser® Delft Blue and White' and 'Edelweiss'.

Lavender blooms can range from slender to bold - see photo above that compares the distinctive flower forms of four different Lavender cultivars. 

Lavender For Special Uses

Lavender flowers are also wonderful for culinary use and crafts. Lavender wands, sachets and dried flower spikes help us to preserve the harvest for indoor enjoyment of their fragrant essential oils.

Learn more in our guide: Best Lavenders for Drying, Cooking, and Creating Sachets

Shop All High Country Gardens Lavender