French Lavender originated in Spain (sometimes incorrectly referred to as Spanish) and is considered a tender perennial as it is hardy in US zones 8-10. If you do not live in these zones simply plant the Lavender in a pot and over-winter it indoors. Use a well drained sandy potting mix to keep the roots from rotting. Here is a potting mix recipe that works well for Lavender plants. The name merely refers to the geographical region where most commonly grown and not to an actual variety.
The bloom time for this type of Lavender is in mid summer and it has lovely lavender-purple flowers and is a tall growing shrubby plant. The flowers have a nice scent mixed with a little camphor odor and have a compressed flower head similar to the pineapple shape associated with the the Spanish stoechas type plants.
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French Lavender Plants
The clustered flower corollas (petals) of French Lavender plants are surrounded by longer bracts going up the flower head which eventually start showing some color as you reach the top.
Images by KENPEI
French Lavender dentata leaves are grayish green with a beautiful serrated edge which is why the name Lavandula dentata. Another fern leafed Lavender is Lavender pinnata with lovely lacy gray green foliage. A commonly grown Lavender in Australia is Lavandula dentata var. candicans which has heavier, grayer foliage and grows larger in size.
French Lavender plants put on a nice flower display and are in continuous bloom throughout the year in all of Australia except for the coldest parts. In warmer areas French Lavender usually bloom continually.
What can you do with French Lavender flowers? I like to bundle and dry them. The flowers look nice too in dried floral arrangements or in a Lavender potpourri.
Cross Lavandula dentata plants with Lavandula angustifolia and you will have the Lavender variety known as Mitcham ( the common name used throughout Australia.)
Cross L.dentata with L. latifolia (Spike Lavender) and you will get the hybrid Lavender allardii. The Latin name is Lavandula allardii and it is the most vigorous grower of all the stoechas types. This type grows well in the sub-tropic regions, as it is very tough, forming a well shaped silver gray mound. The flowers are produced on long stems with deep bright purple flowers almost endlessly.
A chance cross of L. dentata with L. lanata (Woolly Lavender) produced the wonderful Goodwin Creek Grey.
French Lavendula dentata is well worth growing if not for its lovely ferny foliage then for the lovely blooms and the plants growth habit. French lavender plants will grow to about 3 feet tall and wide when planted outside and will need to be pruned to maintain shape.
This plant is well worth the the trouble to grow in a pot even if its not hardy in your area and the plants can easily be grown indoors. This French variety is one of my favorites and I believe it will be yours too. Just look at those pretty Lavender leaves!
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