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Lavender is a fragrant & versatile plant, & grows well in almost any climate. It’s also easy to grow from seed or cuttings, which makes it a perfect choice for both novice gardeners and experienced ones alike. 

There are over 45 different species of lavender, with more than 450 varieties, but the main types of lavender are English lavender, French lavender, Spanish lavender, Portuguese lavender, and Lavandin.

In this guide, we will look at some of the different types of lavender that are available and how they differ from each other so you can choose which one best suits your needs. Lavender makes a beautiful ornamental garden plant and it has many uses as an essential oil and dried flowers. 

Types of Lavender

There are many types of lavender, including English, Dwarf, French and Spanish varieties. Each type has its own unique characteristics. 

The following is a list of common lavender species:

English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) 

This is the most popular variety, with a sweet scent that’s often used in sachets and air fresheners. 

Its leaves are narrow and translucent with stems up to 24 inches tall.

Spanish Lavender (Lavandula stoechas)

This plant has white flowers but can also be found in shades of purple or blue-violet depending on where it was grown geographically. 

It can grow up to 36 inches high and wide when planted outdoors so make sure there’s enough room in your garden before planting this one!

French Lavender (Lavandula Dentata)

This variety is used for its sweet aromatic properties and has serrated leaves. It is a bigger plant that produces more lavender per plant and can grow up to 30 inches tall.

Lavandin (Lavandula x. Intermedia) 

Lavandin is a hybrid variety, a cross between English lavender and Portuguese lavender. They are tall plants that grow up to three feet and are commonly used in perfumes. 

Dwarf Lavender 

This variety grows just 6 to 12 inches tall. it produces small violet flowers with a fragrance that won’t overwhelm you if you’re sensitive to scents. 

It’s great for container gardening since it doesn’t need much space but still produces plenty of fragrant blooms!

Types of English Lavender

English lavender is the most common variety of lavender. It’s also known as Lavandula angustifolia, and it’s a hardy plant that can grow in many climates. Common types include Hidcote, Alba Nana, and Munstead.

English lavender doesn’t actually originate in England but was grown in Europe and used for English perfume. 

The flowers on this type of lavender are small and pale purple or white, but they have a strong scent that makes them ideal for cooking and essential oils. 

You can use English lavender to add flavor to food, make natural cleaning products with its oil, or even create crafts from its dried stems.

If you want to try growing English Lavender yourself, then you’re going to need a garden or planter box that gets at least eight hours of sunlight per day. 

You should also consider adding some manure or compost into your soil so that there is more nutrient-rich food available for your plant.

Dwarf Lavender Varieties

Dwarf lavenders are varieties of lavender that are less than two feet tall. Common types include Thumbelina Leigh (one of the smallest at just 12 inches tall) and Dwarf Munstead which averages about 20 inches in height.

Dwarf lavender varieties are good for containers and pots, but they can be planted in the garden as well. 

These little guys work well as borders or hedges because they’re small enough to fit into most places where you might want a hedge or border.

Can I Plant Different Types of Lavender Together?

Yes, you can plant different types of lavender together. Planting different varieties of lavender together will give a lovely, varied display with a range of heights and different colored leaves.

Lavender is also a very good companion plant for many plants and herbs.

Lavender works well with roses because it enjoys similar growing conditions and helps repel pests that attack the rose bushes.

It is also a good companion plant for vegetables like tomatoes and potatoes because its scent makes insects avoid those plants as well.

For more information, check out my article: Companion Planting

See how to harvest lavender.

Identifying Different Types of Lavender

If you’re looking to grow your own lavender, it’s important that you know the different varieties of this fragrant herb. The easiest way to identify them is by their scent—the smell of one variety might be stronger than another, or even sweeter or more citrusy.

English lavender has a sweet smell and a bloom that begins in early summer.

French lavender has bright green leaves and lavender-blue flowers. It is less fragrant than other species but more colorful.

Spanish lavender is easy to identify thanks to its distinctive flower shape, which resembles rabbit ears. It has a woodier scent than most other varieties.

Portuguese has a very strong, pungent smell and long narrow leaves, which has led to it being nicknamed ‘spike’ lavender.

Dwarf lavenders are identifiable by their size, with some varieties less than 12 inches in height. 

Are All Varieties of Lavender Edible?

Technically, most varieties of lavender are edible, but that does not mean they should all be used in cooking. Some varieties are too aromatic and would not be palatable.

English lavender is the best choice for cooking, as it has a mild, sweet flavor that will enhance your dishes.

Find out if lavender spreads & how deep its roots grow.

Uses of Lavender

What Type of Lavender Is Best for Indoors?

Lavender is a versatile plant that does well in many different indoor spaces. For example, you could use a lavender plant in the kitchen—it will help keep away moths and other pests! 

Lavender also makes an excellent addition to your bedroom or bathroom, where its calming scent can help ease the stresses of the day. 

The best lavender to plant indoors is French lavender as it can comfortably cope with indoor temperatures.

Have a look at my article How To Grow Lavender Indoors for more information.

What Type of Lavender Is Best for Tea?

English lavender is the best type to use for making tea. It is known for its sweet scent, so you’ll get a tasty cup of tea from this kind of flower. 

The flowers are edible too, which means that your flowers can be eaten or used as a garnish in salads.

What Type of Lavender Is Best for Drying?

Varieties of English lavender, such as Hidcote and Munstead are the best option for drying as they contain a high concentration of oils.

What Type of Lavender Is Best for Essential Oil?

English lavender is the best option for essential oils as it contains a high concentration of oils.

What Type of Lavender Is Best for a Hedge?

English lavender is a great option for hedges as it is cold-hardy and drought resistant. 

Dwarf lavender makes a good hedge within the garden, to create a border around a flower bed, for example.

What Type of Lavender Is Best for Cooking?

Cooking with lavender is a great way to use the plant. 

Lavender is known to have a sweet, floral taste and smell, so it’s perfect for adding some extra flavor to your favorite recipes.

English lavender has the most appealing flavor, thanks to its high concentration of essential oils.

What Type of Lavender Is Best for Bees?

Lavender is a good choice for bees because it is drought tolerant, aromatic, and has a long bloom season.

Lavender plants are attractive to bees because they contain nectar and pollen. 

The flowers are held on long stems with large cultivars, making them easy to access by pollinators such as honeybees. 

Lavender also produces a lot of nectar thanks to its high sugar content.

English lavender is more attractive to bees thanks to its large clusters of flowers, which are easy for the bees to access.

If you love bees, check out my article: Bee Garden – The Complete Guide

What Type of Lavender Is Best for Pots?

A little lavender can go a long way in your garden. 

A great place to plant it is in pots on your porch or patio, where you can enjoy its fragrance and see it up close. 

While all lavender varieties can be grown in pots, if you are looking to keep them in pots long-term, English lavender would be the best variety as the larger varieties will likely need to be transplanted before they reach their full size. 


The most important thing to remember is that lavender is an amazing plant and there are so many different varieties. 

You can use it in many different ways, whether it’s for cooking, making tea or as a pollinator-friendly hedge. 

English lavender is the most versatile and is the best choice for a number of different uses, but why not grow a variety of lavender types in your garden and try them out for yourself. 

Greg Volente

Greg Volente holds a Naturalist Certificate from the Morton Arboretum, worked for The Nature Conservancy leading environmental education programs and doing natural areas restoration, and worked in the soil science research & testing lab at Michigan State University. Besides gardening, he's an avid wildflower enthusiast, and loves botanizing, hiking, and backpacking.

One Comment

  • Plants Lover says:

    This is a great post! I love learning about the different types of lavender and the various uses for them. It’s so interesting to see the different ways that this amazing plant can be used for everything from aromatherapy to cooking. Keep up the great work!