Lavandula stoechas | French lavender

An attractive, low-maintenance option for the majority of gardens, Lavandula stoechas (French lavender) brings with it an abundance of benefits. Not only is it desirable for bees, butterflies and other wildlife but the evergreen shrub produces a beautiful wealth of flowers in purple and white colouration, contrasting with the silvery, grey-green foliage.

The scent of Lavender is perhaps one of the most evocative and best-loved floral fragrances. Traditionally used for medicinal purposes, French Lavender is now a staple component of many essential oils and perfumes.


Lavandula stoechas Varieties

Lavandula stoechas ‘Papillon’

This is an exquisite, aromatic, variety. The deep purple flowers that appear from late spring all the way into early autumn are topped with lilac bracts and seem to mimic the look of butterfly wings.

Flowering timeMay to September
Sun requirementsFull sun
SoilWell-drained soil
Hardiness Hardy to -10 °C
SizeGrows to approx. 60cm x 60cm spread

Lavandula stoechas ‘Tiara’

This unusual variety offers masses of fragrant, deep-blue flowers topped with contrasting cream bracts — giving rise to the name ‘Tiara’ — from late spring into early autumn.

Flowering timeMay to September
Sun requirementsFull sun
SoilWell-drained soil
Hardiness Hardy to -10 °C
SizeGrows to approx. 60cm x 60cm spread

Lavandula stoechas ‘Victory’

From late spring into early autumn, this French lavender will yield tiny, fragrant, dark purple flowers topped with conspicuous purple bracts.

Flowering timeMay to September
Sun requirementsFull sun
SoilWell-drained soil
Hardiness Hardy to -10 °C
SizeGrows to approx. 60cm x 60cm spread

Lavandula stoechas ‘Spring-break Princess’

This attractive variety offers tiny, fragrant, purple-pink flowers topped with conspicuous purple-pink bracts from late summer into early autumn.

Flowering timeMay to September
Sun requirementsFull sun
SoilWell-drained soil
Hardiness Hardy to -10 °C
SizeGrows to approx. 50cm x 50cm spread

Lavandula stoechas subsp. stoechas ‘Lilac Wings’

This striking, compact variety produces prolific deep violet-purple flowers topped with lilac butterfly wing like bracts from late spring through the summer. The greyish-green evergreen foliage is intensely aromatic.

Flowering timeMay to September
Sun requirementsFull sun
SoilWell-drained soil
Hardiness Hardy to -10 °C
SizeGrows to approx. 40cm x 40cm spread

Lavandula stoechas ‘Provençal’

A compact variety with dense spikes of dark purple flowers from late spring to late summer, topped with light purple bracts.

Flowering timeMay to August
Sun requirementsFull sun
SoilWell-drained soil
Hardiness Hardy to -10 °C
SizeGrows to approx. 50cm x 50cm spread

Lavandula stoechas Growing Guide

Planting

Lavandula stoechas is best planted in spring. Plant in free-draining soil – if you are growing on heavy soil, incorporate some good multi-purpose compost to improve drainage. If growing in a pot, add some coarse grit.

Pruning

It is important to prune back lavender after flowering. Cut it back to just below the flower stem, but not so far down as the bare wood.

Prune annually to maintain a compact shape.

Once lavender gets old and woody, it is hard to rejuvenate the plant. At this stage, it is best to replace it.


Lavandula stoechas Planting Ideas

Lavandula stoechas and cistus in a border. Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Tigerente. Shared under licence


Easy to grow and drought-tolerant, Lavandula stoechas is happy in a sunny border and will thrive in a gravel or rock garden. It is equally happy growing in a container. Position by a path near to a door so you can enjoy the fragrance.

In beds and borders, purple Lavandula stoechas varieties combine well with pink roses, offering complementary colour and fragrance.

Lavandula stoechas is also fantastic in a herb garden, particularly with other drought-tolerant woody herbs, such as rosemary.


Lavandula stoechas Fact

Lavandula stoechas grows natively in a number of Mediterranean countries. As a consequence, while in the UK we commonly call it French lavender, in America the common name is Spanish lavender.


Lavandula stoechas ‘Lilac Wings’ on our 2019 RHS Chelsea Flower Show Garden