These popular, mostly hardy, evergreen shrubs are loved for their scented purple, white or green flowers. They are useful as low growing hedges, edging and can be pruned into topiary shapes in time.

Suitable site and soil. Plant in an open and sunny position in a sandy soil with good drainage and lime.

Cultivation and care. Remove flowering stalks and prune lightly in autumn, but never cut back into old wood.

Propagation. Take 10-20cm – 4-8in ripe stem cuttings in autumn and root them in sand and peat in trays. Overwinter in a 114 cold frame and plant out in spring. Sow seed in autumn to plant out in spring, but may not come true from seed.

Recommended varieties. For a hedge L. angustifolia (English lavender) responds to hard pruning. L. stoechas (French lavender) needs a sheltered site. Its flowers have several purple tassels and resemble tiny woven baskets. Similar, but with green flowers, is L. stoechas ‘Viridis’. For low-growing hedges choose L. angustifolia ‘Hidcote’, Twickle’ and ‘Fol-gate’ with grey-green leaves. ‘Munstead’ has green leaves and flowers early. For pinkish flowers try ‘Loddon Pink’ and for a white flower, ‘Nana Alba’. L. lanata (woolly lavender) with silvery leaves needs shelter.

Pests and diseases. Grey mould affects if very wet. Young shoots may die back after severe frost damage.


Pick flowers just as they begin to open. Cut long stems. Suspend the bunches upside down from a bamboo cane in a dry, dark and airy room. Crumble the flowers into sachets.

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