The Complete Lavender Hedging and Shrub Guide
Lavender is a popular hedging plant renowned for its aromatic fragrance, striking flowers and not forgetting the diverse range of uses in the kitchen and the health benefits that also add to the attractiveness of this stunning shrub. Lavender makes a fantastic addition to any space; whether it’s a kitchen garden, herb border, patio container or cottage garden, this wonderful plant will add a burst of colour and fragrance that will be difficult to beat. Here’s our complete guide to Lavender with planting guides, reasons to plants, the benefits of Lavender and fun facts.
Facts you probably didn’t know about Lavandula hedging
- The etymological roots of Lavender are thought to stem from the Latin verb lavare which means ‘to wash’, however some people argue that it derives from the Latin word lividus, meaning ‘bluish’ in reference to the colour of the flowers.
- Blue tits love Lavender nearly as much as we do! They use it to line their nests which acts as a disinfectant, killing bacteria. This means that the nest is a more sterile environment for chicks, giving them a better survival rate as it helps them to grow quicker.
- Lavender plants are part of the Mint family, Lamiaceae.
- The essential oil that can be extracted from Lavender is stored in the tiny hairs covering the flower bud.
- Male Starlings use Lavender during courtship to attract females – perhaps the bird equivalent of giving a bunch of flowers?
- Lavender plants were used in Ancient Egypt, 2500 years ago during the mummification process.
Although the name seems to suggest otherwise, Lavandula Angustifolia is still a native to the Mediterranean with the name actually referring to the fact that it’s the most popular species grown in England. As the hardiest of all the Lavenders, this variety is the best equipped to handle our varied British weather and has a compact habit, making it the perfect choice for border hedging. English Lavender is a fantastic ornamental hedging plant with the colourful flowers and sweet scent adding an air of romance to your garden.
Lavender Hidcote (Lavandula Angustifolia Hidcote)
With slightly darker flowers, Lavandula Angustifolia Hidcote is not only hugely attractive to us, but bees and butterflies also adore the stunning stems that stand tall above a mound of grey-green foliage. This variety is great for adding a splash of colour to classic rockery gardens and can transform garden borders into a buzzing hive of activity.
This pure white flowering Lavender makes a gorgeous contrast against the darker backgrounds of other lavender varieties as well as it’s own grey/green leaves. It is an English variety of Lavender that is well suited to our climate (other than wet soils) and hardy in all but the coldest winters.
It is an evergreen with a compact mound of grey/green foliage. Trim after flowering in late August to keep the plant dense and bushy once established.
Lavandula Stoechas flowers slightly earlier than English varieties of Lavender with the decorative spikes appearing in late spring topped with intriguing violet ‘rabbit ears’ or, to use the more technical term, bracts. The bracts flutter in the breeze and give this already splendid shrub additional interest. A slightly more exotic option than its English counterparts, French Lavender will not only flood your garden with fragrance but the unique bunny ears will also add a fun twist.
Similar to Lavender Hidcote with piercing blue hued flowers, this Lavender variety pairs well with other larger Lavender varieties. Dwarf Lavender prefers a sunny, sheltered site. Lavender ‘Little Lady’ is ideal for normal, well-drained soils, so make sure not to over-water this bushy plant. Dwarf Lavender is low growing and best suited to a height of less than 50cm. Dwarf Lavender plants have an average growth rate and can be expected to achieve 20-40cm per year.
Whether you’re planting a Lavender hedge to line your pathways with fragrance and colour, or using the attractive purple spikes to add architectural height and texture to your rockery garden, you’ll need to prepare your site before planting to ensure your Lavender gets the best start possible.
1. A native to the Mediterranean, it’s no surprise that Lavender plants favour a dry position in full sun, so avoid planting in an area of your garden that is susceptible to flooding, because although Lavandula can handle some shade, it will not tolerate wet feet at all.
2. Similar to planting any other hedge, ensure your site is free from weeds and debris before planting your Lavender. However, do not fertilise your soil as you normally would; this is because, again due to its Mediterranean roots, Lavender prefers a sandy or chalky site as opposed to a rich soil.
3. As Lavender is such a hardy hedging plant, if your conditions are not exactly to suit, you don’t need to worry too much. There are plenty of ways to improve your soil depending on which type you are faced with (see our soil types blog for more information), and as long as your Lavender has the correct sun exposure, it should still reward you with an abundance of aromatic flower spikes throughout summer.
4. Once planted, water your Lavender hedge well but be careful not to over water once established. Lavender is a very low-maintenance hedging plant that can handle drought, so you don’t need to worry about constant watering.
5. When it comes to pruning your Lavender hedge, we recommend cutting back one third of the foliage after flowering, leaving some green growth. This should be carried out once a year, in late August-September to encourage maximum flowering on your hedge the following year.
10 Reasons To Plant Lavender
1. Lavender is the essence of a classic English garden and its fantastic fragrance can transform your outdoor space into a sensory haven.
2. There are plenty of different varieties to choose from depending on what you are looking for. Our range of Lavender hedging includes traditional English Lavender, French Lavender – known for its attractive flower heads, Dwarf Lavender for low hedges and Lavender Hidcote showcasing a darker colour than most other varities.
3. Lavandula is a hugely wildlife friendly plant as the flowers are loved by honey bees and bumblebees, providing an important source of nectar and pollen and the flower heads, if left after flowering, are a wonderful autumn treat for hungry birds.
4. Lavender can either be garden grown or pot planted which means you can use it to transform your beds and borders into a buzzing hive of activity, or decorate your patio with both vivid colour and fragrance.
5. This diverse hedging plant is native to the Mediterranean and so prefers a warm, dry position which is ideal if you struggle with dry soils – it is drought tolerant once established. However, you can also plant Lavender in other soils providing there is some form of drainage available. For container grown Lavender, you can place broken terracotta or stones in the bottom of the pot and this will aid drainage.
6. Lavender hedges are fairly low-maintenance and only require a trim after flowering. We advise cutting back about a third of the foliage, leaving some of the greenery.
7. Our Lavender plants will flower the first summer after planting which means you don’t have to wait long to enjoy the showy flowers or the wonderful floral perfume.
8. Lavender makes the perfect addition to a herb garden as this edible hedge has a myriad of uses in the kitchen – why not try one of our Lavender recipes or treat yourself to a refreshing Lavender lemonade.
9. The scent of Lavender repels flies and mosquitoes so is great to plant around a seating area in the garden to help prevent bites throughout the summer.
10. The foliage of Lavender hedge plants is evergreen, and as this is where the aroma comes from, Lavender not only provides you with year-round, attractive grey-green foliage but also the scent will stay with your garden through every season.
The Benefits Of Lavender
The majority of us will be aware of Lavender’s more obvious benefits. Its lilac flowers brighten up any corner of an outdoor space, its soothing scent helps calm the mind and its simplicity of care makes it a staple choice for any summer garden.
Did you know that Lavender can help with scalp conditions such as dandruff? Combining Lavender oil with warm water and olive oil makes a quick solution to the age-old problem.
The consumption of Lavender has been known to help with bloating and digestion due to its calming properties. Always make sure you buy culinary Lavender that’s safe to eat, to make sure it’s free from any garden pests and sprays.
Lavender has long been used as a relaxation remedy, due to that fact that its scent can lower heart rate and blood pressure. Try hanging a small bag of dried Lavender next to your bed, or adding Lavender oil to a diffuser for a good night’s sleep.
Cooking with flowers is becoming more and more popular in the culinary industry, with Lavender topping the list of popular choices. Adding dried, culinary Lavender to rubs for meat, vegetables and even rice can add a floral twist to a traditional meal. And, it’s good for you too.
If you like to experiment with cocktails, then Lavender can be a great addition to the classics. Lavender Lemonade is one of our personal favourites and is really easy to make. Keep your eyes tuned to the blog next week for the recipe.
Although humans tend to like the smell of Lavender, it repels bugs such as mosquitoes and moths that find it too potent. Adding Lavender oil to the skin will help keep pesky bugs at bay. And if you are unfortunate enough to have been bitten, add the oil to the bite to help reduce irritation and swelling.
Are you a nervous flyer? Lavender can help. As the scent is so calming, adding some Lavender oil to the wrists before a flight will help reduce stress and anxiety, along with side effects such as headaches and tension.
This is just a snapshot of the many wonders of Lavender, and some of the reasons as to why at Best4hedging we #LoveLavender. If you’re feeling inspired to add some to your own garden, have a look at our selection.
If you have any questions about Lavender hedge plants, or anything else relating to your garden, please tweet us @best4hedging and we’ll be happy to help.