by David Salman

Lavender Phenomenal
Pollinators love the fragrant and showy Lavender Phenomenal.

Grown since ancient times, lavender has been a beneficial companion to mankind for thousands of years. This genus of perennial herbs is a source for healing, fragrant oil, culinary spices and beautiful, aromatic plants for our gardens.

We’ve expanded our Lavender selection for 2018, adding new varieties that tolerate humid summer heat, have exceptionally ornamental foliage or are twice-blooming Lavenders.

New Lavender Selections for Spring 2018

Phenomenal French Hybrid Lavender PP#24193 (Lavandula intermedia 'Phenomenal')

Introduced in 2012, 'Phenonmenal' is a "sport" (natural genetic mutation) of 'Grosso'. Testing across the country and in Europe has demonstrated that this cultivar has improved winter cold hardiness and exceptional tolerance to humid summer heat.

Lavender Phenomenal
'Phenomenal' Lavender is a zone more cold-hardy than most other French hybrid lavenders and is reliably hardy to zone 5.

It's a big grower and can reach a mature width of 3 feet. The silver-gray foliage is lovely and the dark blue flowers and calyxes are very beautiful. Gardeners in the eastern US are reporting that 'Phenonmenal' has thrived where other varieties have failed. But fast draining, non-clay soil and gravel mulch will still be needed to keep it healthy in colder, moister climates. Zones 5 - 9.

Fred Boutin French Hybrid Lavender (Lavandula intermedia 'Fred Boutin')

This variety is grown for both its very tall, long blooming light blue flower spikes and its exceptionally ornamental foliage. The leaves are quite large and noticeably more silver when compared to other French hybrids. Mix it in with darker colored varieties like 'Hidcote Superior', 'Munstead Violet' and 'Phenomenal' to provide a pleasing contrast of flower colors. Zones 6-9.

Fred Boutin French Hybrid Lavender
Gray foliage lavender hedge, Lavandula 'Fred Boutin' is great for edging or border planting.

Buena Vista English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia'Buena Vista')

Enjoy an extended show of flowers with this twice blooming English lavender. Chubby medium blue flowers cover the plant in late spring/early summer. When promptly deadheaded by mid-summer, 'Buena Vista' will re-bloom in early fall. When planted with French hybrid lavender, you'll enjoy having lavender blooms for the entire growing season! Zones 5-10.

Buena Vista English lavender
Buena Vista English lavender, a hard-to-find, twice blooming cultivar, flowers in late spring and again in September.

I have a very strong affection for this group of plants and have enjoyed growing the cold hardy English and French hybrid varieties in my New Mexico gardens for the last 30 years.

Native to the Old World, lavender species can be found across the Mediterranean region of Europe and North Africa and into southwestern Asia. Depending on the species, Lavender is also at home in North America with the English (L. angustifolia), Spanish (L. stoechas) and French hybrid (L. intermedia) varieties being the most familiar and widely grown.

Phenomenal Lavender
Phenomenal Lavender is a medium-sized grower with nice gray-green foliage and blooms with purple flowers on tall stems in mid-summer.

Cultivation Tips

The western US is arguably the best region for lavender cultivation, as these plants do best in more arid conditions and prefer "lean" (humus deficient, mineral-rich) soils, with fast drainage. Planting in spots with good air circulation and a full day of hot sun is also essential.

Regions that have too much precipitation, rich soil and summer heat combined with high humidity are not favorable to long-term growing success for lavender plants in the ground. But if this describes where you live, don't despair. Lavender makes a fine potted perennial and can be kept healthy and blooming for many years in containers.

But plants can surprise us, so I always suggest looking around to see what types and selections of lavender are successful in your hometown. Phenomenal French Hybrid Lavender is one such exception and does better in high humidity conditions than other Lavenders.

  1. Blue and Purple Lavandula angustifolia Royal Velvet, Lavandula angustifolia Royal Velvet, Royal Velvet English Lavender

    ‘Royal Velvet’ English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia Royal Velvet) is very showy in bloom. It is covered with long stemmed, dark navy blue and lavender flower spikes. The 3 to...

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    Royal Velvet English Lavender Royal Velvet English Lavender Lavandula angustifolia Royal Velvet
    Sale Price I Save 10%
    $11.99 Sale $10.79
    Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
    ‘Royal Velvet’ English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia Royal Velvet) is very showy in bloom. It is covered with long stemmed, dark navy blue and lavender flower spikes. The 3 to 4-inch long flower spikes, which are much longer than ‘Hidcote’, hold their dark color superbly as a dried flower.
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  2. Lavandula angustifolia Thumbelina Leigh

    Thumbelina Leigh is a robust dwarf growing English variety with plump, deep lavender-blue flower spikes, and a strong, sweet fragrance. Maturing to a height of about 15 inches, it is...

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    Thumbelina Leigh Dwarf English Lavender Thumbelina Leigh Dwarf English Lavender Lavandula angustifolia Thumbelina Leigh
    As low as $12.49
    Per Plant - 2.5" Pot
    Thumbelina Leigh is a robust dwarf growing English variety with plump, deep lavender-blue flower spikes, and a strong, sweet fragrance. Maturing to a height of about 15 inches, it is one of the most compact cultivars in cultivation.
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  3. Old Fashioned English Lavender With Sulphur Buckwheat (Eriogonum), Purple Lavandula angustifolia Vera,

    Lavandula angustifolia Vera is an outstanding heirloom English Lavender known for its sweetly fragrant oil, dark lavender-blue flower spikes, and compact growth habit. Our selection ...

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    Vera English Lavender Vera English Lavender Lavandula angustifolia Vera
    As low as $12.99 Sale $11.69
    Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
    Lavandula angustifolia Vera is an outstanding heirloom English Lavender known for its sweetly fragrant oil, dark lavender-blue flower spikes, and compact growth habit. Our selection of 'Vera' is also the most cold hardy variety of English Lavender.
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Extend the Bloom Season by Planting Both English and French hybrids

English lavender blooms in late spring/early summer while the French hybrids bloom mid-summer. Plant varieties from both these groups to have fragrant, bee-attracting flowers for most of the growing season. And if you chose twice blooming English varieties like 'Buena Vista', 'Sharon Roberts' and 'Pastors Pride', you'll enjoy an extra 4 weeks of flowers in early fall.

Blonde Ambition with Sedum and Lavender
Blonde Ambition, a popular new Blue Grama grass, is a great companion plant for Lavender, and Sedum.

Companion Plants

Diversity in the landscape is highly desirable. And the use of companion plants (plants with that have similar growing requirements, bloom at the same time with complimentary flower colors and have contrasting foliage colors and textures) will make your garden more aesthetically pleasing and more beneficial to pollinators.

Lavender makes a great companion plant for perennials and ornamental grasses like:

Text and Photos by Founder and Chief Horticulturist David Salman.

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