best types of lavender

toad_ca(z7b Bellingham, WA)September 27, 2009

Now that the nursery sales have started, I'm hoping to get several lavender plants. What are the most fragrant varieties for our region? I haven't paid much attention to garden fragrance, but now I want to build in that experience for my ornamental beds.

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Visit favorite outlets and smell what they have, many will be in flower.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2009 at 3:00PM
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gardengal48

Varieties of x intermedia (lavandin) have the highest concentrations of essential oils - these are the plants most commonly used in the perfume industry. They also produce long stems which make them very suitable for various craft projects and they have a long bloom season as well. While maybe not quite as intensely (or as long lastingly) fragrant, English lavender, L. angustifolia, can also be used for culinary purposes (lavandin tends to be a bit too bitter) and offers some of the darkest flower coloring. Spanish lavender tends to be the least fragrant of the three most common types, at least to my nose :-)

In most cases, the foliage contains as much of the essential oils - what provides the fragrance - as do the flowers, so I'd pick what looks good based on flowering habit, color and foliage appearance. They're all gonna smell good :-)

    Bookmark   September 27, 2009 at 3:34PM
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dave_olympia(7B)

Several specific cultivars are discussed in this article from the Olympian published this summer. The story is about a grower in Roy, Wa - she has a stand at the Oly farmers market. Pretty nice article...

Here is a link that might be useful: Lavender article

    Bookmark   September 27, 2009 at 9:00PM
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rain2fall(8/Oregon)

Will the French lavendarscolor> live through our winters? I've heard varying reports.

Rain2Fall

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 1:20PM
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toad_ca(z7b Bellingham, WA)

Thanks folks. Great info.
rain2fall: All I have now is some English lavender and it did fine last winter (totally buried in snow for a couple of weeks).

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 4:06PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

"Our" winters can be 2F or 20F, depending on where you are. Varying conditions, varying reports. Type of soil and how it is managed also affects hardiness.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 4:15PM
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rain2fall(8/Oregon)

Sorry about the "our winters" reference -- I'm in zone 8, Willamette Valley. We get occasional freezes, some snow. I'm guessing 10F is about the coldest, with rare exception. Many years it doesn't get below 25F.

Rain2Fall

    Bookmark   September 29, 2009 at 2:15AM
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gardengal48

Depends on what you mean by "french lavender". This is often the common name given to Lavandula dentata and this does tend to be not as hardy in our climate as say the English, Spanish or lavandin choices. The exception is a French lavender hybrid, 'Goodwin Creek Gray', but even that suffers here in some winters.

If you mean the lavender that is typically associated with southern France and the huge lavender fields of the perfume industry there, that is is most often lavandin or Lavandula x intermedia, a hybrid bewteen L. angustifolia and L. latifolia. And it is very hardy in PNW winters, provided you supply proper drainage - it is excessively moist soils and less than ideal drainage that causes the loss of most lavender species here, not cold. 'Grosso', 'Provence' and 'Fred Boutin' are some very common selections of lavandin that grow and flourish in this area. 'Fred Boutin' has a reputation for providing some of the finest and best winter appearing foliage of any of the lavender cultivars.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2009 at 1:08PM
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