The scent of lavender is incomparable. Good thing that lavenders tend to be profuse bloomers!
A handy growing summary chart is at the end of the article.
Spanish lavender is native to the Mediterranean Sea region, from the northern part of the African continent to the southern regions of Europe. This form is notable for its pineapple shaped blossoms and rabbit-ear looking petals, and is believed to be the type of lavender that the ancient Greeks and Romans would have used for perfumes and bathing. However, this would not be the type preferred for any kind of culinary purposes, as its flavor is not as good as the sweet lavender types.
Growing Spanish lavender is fairly easy, if you live in the right zone. They prefer the same kind of hot and arid conditions as their native habitat, and so do not do well in cold or high humidity areas. The best zones are USDA 7-9 in the southwestern United States, and the San Joaquin Valley of California, or other regions similar to them. They can be grown as annuals in other areas.
Spanish Lavender is also drought tolerant, and actually will revolt by dying on you if you try to baby it with too much water. This also means that heavy soils like clay will not do well for them, either, as they hold water too much. Amend heavy soils with organic matter to help loosen it up and allow the roots a chance to dry out a little between watering.
Spanish Lavender loves the sun, but can take some shade. However, shady areas will cause slower growth and less blooms, so try to aim for as much sun as possible. The plants will bloom very heavily in spring, then will bloom at a more low-key rate for the rest of the hot season. Pruning back the spent blooms will help to keep future blooms coming.
Spanish Lavender will benefit from the occasional big pruning. Emphasis on occasional. If the plants start to get a little floppy, cut the plant back to about 2 feet of overall height/width. This will prompt the growth of new stems and will keep the plant from getting too woody and scraggly looking.
Bees of all kinds will absolutely mob your blooms throughout the year, so this is a great plant for supporting your local pollinators! In addition to the typical lavender purple color, these can also come in lighter shades that range almost to pink. I have “Madrid Purple” that has the darker color, and “Blueberry Ruffles” in a more pink color. Both have the typical grey-green foliage that acts as a wonderful accent color even when the plants are not blooming.
- Evergreen, but protect in cold weather
- Zone: 7-9
- Flower Color: lavender to pink-purple
- Height: up to 2-3 feet
- Width: up to 3-4 feet
- Sun: full sun, will tolerate some shade
- Water: drought tolerant
- Soil pH: 6.5 – 7.5
- Soil type: prefers loose, well-draining soil
- Key nutrients: balanced
- Planting time: early spring