Lavandula angustifolia 'Munstead'
Common Name: English lavender
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: Lavender blue
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Herb
Flower: Showy, Fragrant, Good Cut, Good Dried
Leaf: Fragrant
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil, Air Pollution

Culture

Grow in average, dry to medium, well-drained, alkaline soils in full sun. English lavender can be difficult to grow in the St. Louis area, primarily because of winter stresses and high summer humidity. Well-drained soils are required, particularly in winter. Root rot commonly attacks plants grown in poorly drained soils. Plants prefer a light, sandy soil with somewhat low fertility. Remove faded flowers to promote continued bloom. Prune to shape in spring after new leaves appear. Prune back to 8” in spring every 3 years to control plant size and to promote robust, new growth. High summer humidity in the St. Louis area is not appreciated. To combat high humidity, consider using rock instead of organic mulch. English lavender has slightly better winter hardiness than lavandin for the St. Louis area, but still may appreciate a sheltered location and winter protection.

Noteworthy Characteristics

‘Munstead’ is a compact, early-flowering English lavender cultivar that was first introduced into commerce in 1916. It is a semi-woody perennial that typically grows to 12-18” tall and as wide. Lavender blue flowers appear in terminal spikes in late spring well into summer. Square stems are clad with very narrow, opposite or whorled, green-gray leaves (to 2” long) that are evergreen in warm winter climates. Both foliage and flowers are highly aromatic. English lavender species plants have been mainstays of herb gardens for many years. Despite its common name, English lavender is not in fact native to England, but comes primarily from the Mediterranean region. It was reportedly named English lavender because of its ability to grow well in the English climate. Species plants of this lavender are commercially planted for the harvesting of its oils for use in perfumes. Lavender flowers and foliage are also popular additions to sachets and potpourris. English lavender varieties are more often used for culinary purposes than other types of lavender. ‘Munstead’ was reportedly named for Munstead Woods in England where the plant was grown by garden designer Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932).

Problems

Susceptible to leaf spot and root rot. Plants may not survive in winter if soils are not well-drained and/or if temperatures dip below zero degrees without protective snow cover.

Garden Uses

This is a versatile garden perennial that should be considered for a wide variety of uses and not just relegated to a corner of the herb garden. Lavender flowers and green-gray leaves provide mid-summer color and contrast to the perennial border front, rock garden, herb garden or scented garden. Can be particularly effective when massed. Also effective as an edger or low hedge in some areas. Fragrant flowers may be dried and used in sachets and potpourris.