English lavender varieties such as ‘Munstead, Hidcote and Vera’ are the best varieties for planting lavender hedges as they are cold hardy, drought and heat resistant and live for much longer then other lavender species therefore you do not have to replace plants in the hedge as frequently.
English lavenders are also very easy to propagate so you can replace individual plants at a low cost and not to mention exude a sweeter fragrance then other lavender species.
Best Lavenders for Small Decorative Hedging
The best lavender varities for growing a smaller decorative hedge are:
- Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote‘
- Lavandula angustifolia ‘Munstead‘
Both lavenders are English lavenders with a fairly compact at a height of 15 to 20 inches (40 to 50 cm) and a width of 20 to 24 inches (50-60 cm) at the height of Summer (assuming the growing conditions are right).
Why ‘Hidcote’ and ‘Munstead’ are the Best Lavender for Hedges:
Munstead and Hidcote are the two most commonly cultivated lavenders and are a favourite of both gardeners and commercial growers due to their low maintenance and sweet smell (the aroma is more pronounced then French and Spanish lavenders).
Read my article for more on the key differences between English and French lavenders.
English lavenders such as Hidcote and Munstead are better for hedging then other lavender species because…
- Hidcote and Munstead lavender have a life expectancy of up to 15 years. This is far greater then French and Spanish lavender varieties which tend to only live around 4 or 5 years. Therefore Hidcote and Munstead are far more cost efficient over time as you do not have to replace plants in the hedge as frequently.
- Hidcote and Munstead are also very cold tolerant and will survive cold Winters, with snow, cold temperatures and frequent frosts. Other lavender species (such as French lavenders will die in climates with frosts and cold temperatures in Winter so avoid planting French lavenders as hedges in cool temperate climates.
- Hidcote and Munstead hedges also thrive in hot and dry climates as this mimics their native environment (all lavenders are originally from the Mediterranean region of Europe) so they are versatile in terms of living in both hot and dry but also cool temperate climates with high rainfall which ensures they are suitable for hedge growing in many different gardens.
English lavenders are also able to tolerate acidic soil slightly better then French lavenders although all lavender species prefer soil that is between pH 6.5 and 8.
Hidcote and Munstead require very little maintenance throughout the year and once establish they often do not require any additional watering due to their drought resistance and tolerance of heat.
Not only do they look good and exude a highly regarded fragrance amongst commercial growers but they are popular with bees and pollinating insects.
Lavenders for Larger Hedges
Other varities that are suitible for creating hedges that I would recommend are:
- Lavandula angustifolia ‘Vera’
- Lavandula x intermedia ‘Grosso‘
Lavender ‘Vera’ is another English lavender so it retains all the characteristics that make it favourable for hedges such as cold hardiness and longer life span etc. but it is significantly bigger then Munstead and Hidcote.
This make it effective as not just a decorative hedge but also as a windbreak to protect smaller more delicate bedding plants or even vegetable gardens from strong damaging winds.
All lavenders are adapted to the coastal regions of the Mediterranean so they are well suited to windy conditions.
‘Vera’ is thought to be the original lavender from which all lavenders are cultivated and is still grown commercially for its oil and fragrance as well as being popular with gardeners as a plant for pots, boarders and hedges.
With the considerable larger size (growing up to 30 inches wide) you can plant each lavender Vera 3 feet apart and still form a continuous hedge.
Another good option for a slightly larger, lavender hedge is lavender ‘Grosso’.
This is a hybrid lavender that combines the cold hardiness and increased life span of an English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) with the longer flowering season of a portugese lavender (Lavandula latifolia) so it can be grown in colder climates that experience frost in Winter.
Lavender Grosso scent is also well regarded and it is grown commercially for its oil.
This lavender can grow to as much as 36 inches wide and 36 inches high at the height of summer in the right location and should be space around three feet apart to form a continuous hedge.
Read my guide about how to care for lavender ‘Grosso’.
Can French or Spanish Lavender be used for Hedging?
French and Spanish lavenders do have a longer flowering season then English lavenders that starts in Spring and flowers can persist till Fall if they are regularly deadheaded and they can make spectacular hedges in the right climates.
Climates such as California or Southern Europe that experience mild Winters without frost are suitable for the more delicate French or Spanish lavender hedges.
However because of their relatively low life span of 4 or 5 years even with the right conditions, maintaining a hedge can be quite costly. One very effective solution to this is to propagate your lavender from cuttings so that you have some plants on standby to replace any lavenders that die that are part of the hedge.
Propagating lavenders is surprisingly easy and you can produce many plants that would cost hundreds of dollars, with just some pots and the appropriate well draining potting mix (rooting powder is not necessary).
Here is a YouTube video which shows you the exact steps. Note that the process is the same regardless of the species or variety of lavender.
Lavender Hedge Maintenance
- In order to ensure that your lavenders produce a continuous hedge without any obvious gaps, plant larger lavenders around 3 feet apart and smaller lavenders 2 feet apart from each other. This ensures that each plants root system has enough space to establish and access nutrients and water without having to compete with each other.
- Plant the hedge in a sunny location with at least 6 hours of sun per day. Lavender do not grow very well in the shade and will produce far fewer flowers.
- Plant the lavender hedge in well draining sandy soil. I recommend amending the soil with horticultural sand or grit before planting to ensure that the soil drains quickly enough as lavender prefers dry soil.
- If possible plant the hedge in location that experiences some airflow as this will help to reduce the risk of fungal disease, as lavender do not like high humidity.
- Prune the hedge every year in the Fall as this will increase the longevity of the hedge, maintain the lavenders appearance and prepare the lavender for Winter.