Summary of when different lavender species bloom and how long for:
|Lavender Species||When does it bloom?||How long does it bloom for?||Popular Varieties|
|English lavender||May/June||4 weeks||‘Hidcote, ‘Munstead’ ‘Vera’|
|French Lavender||May/June||Up to 3 months until Fall||‘Regal Splendour’ ‘Ballerina’ ‘Anouk’|
|Hybrid lavender||June/July||Up to 2 months until late Summer||‘Grosso’, ‘Provence’|
Keep reading for more information on when and how long each lavender species blooms and how you can encourage lavenders to bloom to their full potential…
When does English lavender bloom?
English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) usually blooms in mid June and will produce flowers for around 4 weeks. This is the hardiest species of lavender that can grow in colder climates that experience frost in winter (hardy in USDA zone 5-9) and lives up to 15 years with the right care.
The popular varieties ‘Munstead’, ‘Hidcote’ and ‘Vera’ are all grown ornamentally in gardens and commercially in many areas of Southern Europe and the USA for their oil and scent as English lavenders fragrance is regarded as the finest of all lavenders.
The lavender exudes fragrance all year round from is foliage and not just the flowers.
When does French lavender bloom?
French lavender (Lavandula stoechas) is highly valued for its long flowering season. In the right climate with optimal conditions this species can flower as early as May and keep producing flowers all through summer to the Fall.
The smell is more subtle then English lavenders and is somewhat reminiscent of the smell of rosemary, to which lavenders are related.
The flowers look distinct from English lavenders, with characteristic crown of petals. The French lavender is much less cold hardy then English lavenders and it will die in climates that experience winter frost and cold temperatures (hardy to USDA zone 7-9). It also only live 4 or 5 years even with good care.
(Read my article what is the difference between English and French lavender to learn more).
When do lavender hybrids bloom?
Hybrid lavenders (Lavandula x intermedia) such as lavender ‘Grosso’ and ‘Provence’ have been cultivated for the hardiness of English lavenders and the longer flowering season of French lavenders.
Varieties such as lavender ‘Grosso’ are commercially grown as it also has the fine fragrance of the English lavender.
Hybrid lavenders bloom in the mid summer, usually in July and will bloom for several weeks until the Fall.
Hybrid lavenders can tolerate cold temperatures and frost in winter and are often hardy in USDA zones 5-9.
Read my article to learn more about caring for Lavender ‘Grosso’.
How to ensure that lavenders bloom to their full potential
These guidelines for when and how long for lavender bloom depend on climate, weather and many other variables.
To make sure lavender bloom they need to be healthy, disease free and the proper care.
Here are the main factors that encourage lavenders to bloom.
- Lavenders need low to medium fertility soil to flower to their best. Overly fertile soil will result in lots of foliage growth at the expense of flowers. Avoid using fertilizer as this will have the same effect.
- All lavender species require full sun. The less sun they receive the less flowers will be produced and your lavender will not live as long.
- Make sure the lavenders soil has been amended with sand or grit as this will create the right porous structure that allows oxygen to reach the roots and water to drain away quickly. For more information read my guide to the optimal soil mix for lavenders.
- Regular deadheading throughout the summer will encourage more blooms and help keep the plant tidy.
- Lavenders benefit from a hard prune in either Fall or early Spring as this will encourage the new growth that supports the new seasons flowers and prevents the lavender from becoming leggy.
- Make sure to only water lavender once every two weeks in the growing season and only if there has been no rainfall. Lavender is a drought resistant plant that thrives in dry conditions. Over watering the plant will cause root rot which will prevent it from flowering and potentially kill the lavender. To learn more of the best practices read my article about how to water lavenders.
- Lavenders prefer to be in alkaline soils but will live in soils with a range of pH 6.5-8. Lavenders in overly acidic soils will not bloom as much and will be stressed. Read my article about measuring soil pH and lavenders in acidic soil.
- Avoid using organic mulch around lavender as this encourages the moist conditions which can cause root rot. Instead some commercial growers distribute white stone around the base of the plant as this reflects sunlight back onto the plant which will increase the number of blooms and fragrance.
If you follow theses steps and grow the appropriate lavender species that is suitable for your climate, then you can have lavenders with strong blooms for many years.