Do you know the differences between English lavender vs French lavender? Are they similar in appearance? What about their flowers, do they resemble? And are the essential oils from these two lavender varieties any different? How about the ecological requirements and lifespan for the two?
Well, I have answered all these questions and more in this article. With the information I have provided here, differentiating English lavender from French lavender will be so easy.
This article contains the 13 differences between English and French lavender that will help you choose the correct lavender variety for landscaping beauty, fragrance, and culinary uses.
But before I begin, you need to understand that French lavender stands for two species (Lavandula stoechas (in Uk) or Lavandula dentate (in Australia, the US, Newzealand). English lavender is always known as Lavandula angustifolia
Let’s get into it!
13 Comparisons Between English Lavender vs French Lavender
Lavandula angustifolia (English lavender) is a cold-hardy variety (USDA zone 5) with the ability to withstand temperatures of -20°F or -30°C provided that the soil/ potting mix is well-draining.
French lavender specifically L. stoechas is frost - hardy and tolerates temperatures as low as 0°F or -15°C accompanied with good soil drainage. The other French lavender species (L.dentata) is half-hardy and can withstand temperatures between 23°F or -5°C and good draining soil.
The flowers on both the English and French lavenders are similar in size, but the bloom lasts much longer on the French lavender. This lavender variety has one of the longest bloom time (starts to bloom in spring and continues flower throughout the summer)
Fragrance, Oil production, and usage
Both English and French lavenders are oil-producing lavender varieties but they differ in the quantity and quality of oil produced. L. angustifolia (English lavender) is a high oil-producing variety and the oil is of high quality while French lavender has little oil in its flowers.
Moreover, the two are scented lavender varieties with French lavender being the strong scented and the English lavender with the softest but most appealing fragrance.
Also, French and English lavenders are both used in cosmetics and soaps, but English lavender has an advantage over French lavenders as it is also used in cooking.
English lavender is a large lavender variety that grows to a height of approximately 1 to 2 meters (3 to 6 feet tall).
French lavender, L. stoechas is a medium-sized lavender and grows to a height of about 1 to 3 feet (30 cm to 60 cm). L. dentata on the other hand is a small variety and is usually 8 to 24 inches (20 to 50 cm) tall.
Flower description and appearance
English lavender has no petals at the flower tip. French Lavender (Lavandula stoechas and Lavandula dentata) on the other hand, has petals at the flower tip with L. stoechas having very long petals at the tip and L. dentata having short but distinct petals at the flower tip.
Leaf description and appearance
Both English lavender and French lavender (L. stoechas) have very narrow smooth-edged leaves. The only difference is that English lavender leaves are covered in a silvery-white sheen (white dust – like wax) whereas L. stoechas has deeper green leaves with a less white coating.
The other species of French lavender (L. dentata) has pale – green, tooth- edged leaves.
English lavender is perfect for outdoor growing and it’s also great for large outdoor containers.
Just like the English lavender, L. stoechas also does great outdoors in small outdoor containers. French lavender species L. dentata is a perfect lavender for indoor growing in pots.
As mentioned earlier English lavender is cold hardy and has a longer lifespan of about 15 years as compared to the French lavender (not cold tolerant) that lives for only about 5 years.
Landscape and garden uses
All lavenders are perfect when used in herb gardens or when sheared as low hedges. They are also spectacular along walks, near stone walls and patio where their fragrance can be appreciated.
Soil type, drainage, and pH
Every lavender plant requires well-drained sandy or rocky soils. Lavenders also prefer a neutral soil pH (between 6.5 and 7.5) so if your soil is somewhat acidic, you’ll need to add agricultural lime to the soil to raise the pH.
First, carry out a soil test to check the acidity level and determine the amount of lime to add or add sulfur to lower a higher pH.
Light and water requirements
Lavender plants need full sun, and although they can tolerate drought once established, they need regular watering for them to bloom best.
Animal and pests deterrent
The fragrant, essential oils of both lavenders are very much appreciated by humans but not animals like rabbits and deer not forgetting the pests associated with lavender growing.
This makes it easier for you to grow your lavender without interference.
Disease and drought tolerance
Lavenders regardless of variety are known to be tolerant to diseases and drought hence it is easy to grow and care for both English and French lavenders.
There you go!
You now have 13 differences/similarities between English lavender and French lavender at your fingertips.
From foliage and flower appearance to plants’ hardiness and growing methods, not forgetting the fragrance, essential oils, and their uses, and much more.
You are now fully equipped with important knowledge of English and French lavender varieties for you to choose the one that meets your needs.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments.