Updated/Fact-Chacked on March 30, 2022 by John
White lavender isn’t as well-known as its purple and pink counterparts, but it should be.
There are many reasons to love white lavender: it smells great, looks beautiful, and creates a nice contrast when paired with flowers of different colours. Plus, it does very well in the English weather, and that’s why it has been a staple in the English garden for centuries.
However, since there is so much to know about white lavender, the information can get a bit mixed up, which is why we’re here to help.
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Alba’
White lavender is a variety of English lavender or Lavandula angustifolia, which is actually of Mediterranean origin, not English. As the botanical name suggests, these are white English lavenders.
They are characterised by upright stems that carry narrow, silver-grey leaves and long spikes that carry white flowers – great for adding height to a border.
One of the best qualities of this plant is that both its flowers and foliage are strongly fragrant. It also has a very sweet and clean scent.
If you grow white lavenders together, the leaves end up knitting together to form an evergreen line.
How to Care for White Lavender
Like any other English lavender, Lavandula angustifolia ‘Alba’ needs a sunny, open position. The sunnier the position, the stronger the fragrance will be.
It also needs to be in an alkaline-to-neutral, well-drained soil; it can tolerate droughts, so never subject it to waterlogging or water it in winter. To put it simply, you should water it deeply, but not frequently.
Plus, the soil needs to be chalky and poor, so don’t add any compost or plant food. Only use potash-based fertilisers when needed, like when the plant isn’t established yet.
Moreover, lavenders need annual pruning immediately after flowering to prolong their lives and maintain their shape. Keep in mind that lavender attracts bees, butterflies, and hoverflies.
How to Use White Lavender
Lavender’s quick ability to dry makes it one of the most useful plants in your garden. You can also do a lot with it when it’s fresh.
If you’re into crafts, you can use dried lavender to make wreaths, centrepieces, place cards, potpourris, and more. Also, our self-care kings and queens will appreciate how you can turn it into bath tea or salt, soap, shower bundles, sachets, linen sprays, oils, and tinctures.
In addition, there are hundreds of recipes that help you incorporate your homegrown lavender into your diet.
- Botanical name: Lavandula angustifolia ‘Alba’
- Common name: white English lavender
- Flower colour: white
- Flowering time: summer (June to August)
- Height: 50-60 cm
- Spread: 50 cm
- Foliage: evergreen/hedges
- Fragrance: strong
- Plant type: perennial
- Soil: chalky/dry/sandy
- Drainage: well-drained
- Light: full sun
- Hardiness: fully hardy
As you can see, there is a lot to love about white lavender: it looks gorgeous, has fragrant flowers and foliage, is low-maintenance, and has many uses.
Like any other plant, you have to learn about its needs and how to care for it. Keep it warm and dry, and it will be happy.
Mary shares a passion for gardening with her husband John, though she is more focused on growing veg on their allotment at St. Margaret’s Allotments, Durham. Mary also works in the lawn care industry and manages the lawns for the Durham University campus.