French Lavender vs English Lavender

I was recently fortunate enough to receive this gorgeous French lavender plant from my sister-in-law. It smells so great and looks so pretty. As a tender perennial, hardy only to zone 8, I’ll need to keep it as a houseplant, though I’ll probably move it outside for the summer.

French Lavender vs English Lavender

French Lavender Foliage ~

French lavender has the scientific name Lavandula dentata where dentata translates to “toothed” referring to  the scallops on the leaves as shown above and is sometimes confused with Spanish lavender or Lavandula stoechas.

Spanish Lavender ~

Spanish lavender has similar flowers but are more showy than French lavender and their leaves are not scalloped but straight like English lavender. Neither French or Spanish lavender are used much today in cosmetics but are valued more for their ornamental use.

Difference between English and French Lavender


If you live in the north, you may want to plant English lavender or Lavandula angustifolia. I have grown several plants over the years and it is one of the toughest plants in the garden. There are lots of different varieties but my two favorites are Lavandula angustifolia ‘Munstead’ and Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote.’

Munstead Lavender ~

Munstead, named after Munstead Woods in England, the home of  famous gardener Gertrude Jeckyl, is hardy to zone 5, has a great mounding shape and gets about roughly 1.5 feet tall and wide. This lovely plant is also drought tolerant and deer resistant. In addition, bees love it, it works great as a cut flower, can be dried for use in many crafts, and is even used in cooking. Did you know lavender can help you sleep? Check out an article I wrote last year about ways to use lavender in the home here.

English Lavender Hidcote~ French vs English Lavender ~

Munstead’s cousin, Hidcote is pretty much the same except that it is slightly smaller and much deeper in color.

Dried Lavender ~

Here is some that I dried from last year. Note: if you want to dry your lavender make sure you pick it in bud. If you wait too long it will flower like the pic below and will not keep well.

lavender in bloom ~

The important thing to remember about English lavender is that they like well-drained soil. Most can take cool temps  but not soggy feet so make sure you plant the accordingly. Also, at the beginning of the season prune them a little and thin out the middle. This will allow for plenty of airflow.

French lavender flowers.

Bottom line, whether it’s English or French, lavender  is a wonderful plant, and everyone should be growing it.


Learn a little about the differences between English and French lavender and how to grow them.

About Patti Estep

Patti is the creator of Hearth and Vine, a home and garden blog filled with projects to inspire your creative side. She loves crafting, gardening, decorating and entertaining at her home in Pennsylvania. When she is not working on a project at home or searching for treasures at nurseries and thrift stores with her girlfriends, you’ll probably find her with family and friends, at a restaurant, or home party enjoying new and different food adventures.

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  1. Interesting post! Recently I wrote a post about English lavender so it is exciting to read more about other species. The French lavender has gorgeous foliage. The Spanish lavender is only grown as an annual in Sweden but it is pretty.

  2. So great to learn about the different lavenders. I so love it!!! Thank you!

  3. Interesting piece! I grew some of each this year to see the differences.

  4. Debra Howell says:

    Montana is considered to be in zone 3 and we have many species of lavendar! I live in west central Montana and have enjoyed all the joy of have lavendar for over 40 years.

  5. I love lavender and finally have started it successfully from seeds last year! It took several attempts before I was successful, however. I still have them in pots, but will be moving them into the garden soon. I’m fortunate to live in zone 8b, so I’m excited to be able to leave it outdoors all year. I experimented over the winter, bringing in two pots and leaving the third outside. We had a very mild winter, and the outside pot fared just fine.
    My plants are still small, but I look forward to beautiful, fragrant blooms this year and all of the
    projects I can do with it!
    Thank you for sharing. I’m going to check out your other lavender post too.

    • Hi Karen,
      Lucky you to live in a warm climate. You have a looooong growing season. I bet you are able to grow delicious tomatoes. Here in PA we have to wait until late summer for ours. I’m sure your lavender will do well. You know what they say, “First year sleep, Second year creep and Third year leap.”
      Thanks for stopping by and have a great week!

  6. Thanks Patti. Your article was very timely for me. I haven’t had much luck with lavender here in CT, but I keep trying. I saw what looked like Spanish lavender in Walmart the other day and thought about giving it a try. I bought a 4″ pot of Hidcote from a local greenhouse a few weeks ago. It already threw a few blooms, which I cut off, trying to ‘hold it back’ till the plant gets a bit bigger.
    I’ve been planting them in sunniest part of my property, which gets a lot of wind in the winter. Perhaps this is what keeps doing them in. I may wrap them in burlap this winter and see if this helps.

    • Hi Ellen,

      Hidcote and Munstead grow best for me in Southwest PA which is similar to CT. Not sure if the wind is the problem. A couple of other things to consider. Make sure they are in well draining, even poor soil, and consider pruning out some of the middle if they are too bushy. The Spanish lavender will probably need to be brought indoors during the winter.
      Thanks for stopping by and good luck with your lavender!

  7. I’m getting ready to purchase some lavender for the top of my herb spiral this season. Last year my rosemary grew really well up there, so I’m going to try lavender this year. I think I’ll try Hidcote or Munstead like you suggested. I’m a fellow member of the Garden Foxes and I’m going to share this post on my FB page this week!

    • Thanks Megan. If you had success there with the rosemary, I believe there’s a good chance that lavender will do well too. You’re a little colder in Madison but not so much. Hidcote and/or Munstead should be fine unless we have one of those arctic freezes like we did a year or so ago. That was the only time I lost some of my lavender but not all of it?
      Thanks for stopping by,

  8. Lori Heath says:

    Thank you so much for the information! I am very new to herb gardening! I live in central Florida, zone 9 and literally 6 months ago, I would have told you that I have a black thumb. I am successfully growing oregano, basil, mint, thyme, lemon verbena, and a few others. I couldn’t find lavender plants so I bought burpee seeds. I have planted them one week ago inside and am very hopeful. Can I leave them outside year round or should I bring them in? I will have to check out your other articles! I appreciate all the help I can get!

    • Hi Lori,

      Since you live in such a warm climate you shouldn’t have to bring you lavender in for the winter. Make sure that there is plenty of air flow since you could have a mildew issue with the high humidity. You can accomplish this by keeping the lavender pruned as needed to allow air between the branches.
      Thanks for stopping by,

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