The Ultimate Guide To Growing French Lavender

1. Introduction to French Lavender

French Lavender, scientifically known as Lavandula dentata, is a popular aromatic herb known for its beautiful purple flowers and delightful fragrance. It is native to the Mediterranean region and is widely cultivated for its ornamental and medicinal purposes. Here are the key points to consider when growing French Lavender:

  • Plant Description: French Lavender is a shrubby perennial plant that grows up to 2-3 feet tall and wide. It has gray-green leaves with toothed edges and produces long-lasting spikes of fragrant lavender flowers. The flowers attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies, making it an excellent addition to any garden.
  • Climate Requirements: French Lavender thrives in warm and sunny climates. It requires full sun exposure for at least 6-8 hours a day and well-drained soil. It is moderately drought-tolerant once established and can withstand high temperatures. However, it may need some protection during harsh winters in colder regions.
  • Growing Zones: French Lavender is typically grown in USDA hardiness zones 8 to 11. However, it can also be successfully cultivated in colder zones with proper winter protection, such as mulching and covering the plant during freezing temperatures.
  • Uses: French Lavender has various uses, including ornamental, culinary, and medicinal. It is commonly used in landscaping for its aesthetic appeal, as well as in potpourris, sachets, and essential oil production. The flowers and leaves of French Lavender can also be used in cooking to add a delicate floral flavor to dishes.

2. Planting French Lavender

Proper planting techniques are essential for the successful growth of French Lavender plants. Here are the key points to consider when planting French Lavender:

  • Site Selection: Choose a sunny location with well-drained soil for planting French Lavender. The soil should be slightly alkaline with a pH between 6.5 and 7.5. Avoid areas with heavy clay soil or poor drainage, as excessive moisture can lead to root rot.
  • Planting Time: French Lavender is best planted in spring after the last frost date. This allows the plants to establish their root system before the hot summer months. If planting in colder regions, it is advisable to start the seeds indoors or purchase young plants from a nursery to give them a head start.
  • Preparing the Soil: Before planting, prepare the soil by removing any weeds or grass and loosening it with a garden fork or tiller. Incorporate organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, to improve soil fertility and drainage.
  • Planting Technique: Dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball of the French Lavender plant. Place the plant in the hole, ensuring that the top of the root ball is level with the surrounding soil. Backfill the hole with soil, gently firming it around the plant. Water thoroughly to settle the soil.
  • Spacing: Space French Lavender plants approximately 2-3 feet apart to allow for proper air circulation and growth. This spacing ensures that the plants receive adequate sunlight and reduces the risk of diseases.


3. Care and Maintenance

Regular care and maintenance are crucial for the health and vitality of French Lavender plants. Here are the key points to consider when caring for French Lavender:

  • Watering: French Lavender is drought-tolerant once established and prefers slightly dry conditions. Water the plants deeply but infrequently, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other diseases, so it is important to strike a balance and avoid excessive moisture.
  • Fertilization: French Lavender does not require heavy fertilization. In fact, excessive nitrogen can promote excessive foliage growth at the expense of flower production. Apply a balanced organic fertilizer once or twice a year in early spring and early summer, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Pruning: Regular pruning helps maintain the shape and compactness of French Lavender plants. Prune the plants lightly after flowering to remove spent flower spikes and promote bushier growth. Avoid cutting into the woody stems, as they may not regrow. In early spring, prune back about one-third of the plant to encourage new growth.
  • Pest and Disease Control: French Lavender is generally resistant to pests and diseases. However, aphids, spider mites, and fungal diseases such as root rot can occasionally affect the plants. Monitor the plants regularly and take appropriate measures if any issues arise. Use organic pest control methods, such as insecticidal soaps or neem oil, to control pests. Ensure proper air circulation and avoid overwatering to prevent fungal diseases.
  • Winter Protection: In colder regions, French Lavender may need some protection during winter. Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the plants to insulate the roots and protect them from frost. You can also cover the plants with a frost cloth or burlap if temperatures drop significantly.

4. Harvesting and Using French Lavender

Harvesting French Lavender at the right time ensures the best quality and fragrance. Here are the key points to consider when harvesting and using French Lavender:

  • Harvesting Time: Harvest French Lavender when the flowers are fully open but before they start to fade. The best time to harvest is in the morning after the dew has dried but before the heat of the day. This is when the essential oils are most concentrated, resulting in the highest fragrance.
  • Harvesting Technique: Cut the flower spikes just above the leaves using sharp pruning shears or scissors. Avoid cutting into the woody stems, as they may not regrow. Bundle the harvested stems together and hang them upside down in a cool, well-ventilated area to dry. Once fully dried, remove the flowers from the stems and store them in airtight containers away from direct sunlight.
  • Uses: French Lavender has a wide range of uses. The dried flowers can be used to make potpourris, sachets, and scented candles. They can also be infused in oils or used to make lavender water and lavender tea. French Lavender flowers and leaves are edible and can be used in cooking to add a unique flavor to desserts, beverages, and savory dishes.


Growing French Lavender can be a rewarding experience, whether you are a gardening enthusiast or simply appreciate its beauty and fragrance. By following the guidelines outlined in this ultimate guide, you can successfully cultivate French Lavender and enjoy its numerous benefits. Remember to provide the plant with the appropriate growing conditions, care for it regularly, and harvest it at the right time for optimal results. With proper attention, your French Lavender plants will thrive and enhance your garden or home with their exquisite blooms and delightful aroma.


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