15 Dwarf Lavender Varieties You Can Grow in Compact Spaces

Do you have a compact space in your garden that you feel is perfect for lavender? Dwarf lavender varieties are smaller, more compact versions of the plant. In this article, gardening expert and former organic lavender farmer Logan Hailey walks through her favorite dwarf lavender varieties.

dwarf lavender

Lavender bushes are known for their big mounded shapes and aromatic purple flowers. But you don’t need several square feet of space for each plant. With the right variety and proper pruning, you can grow a smaller cultivar that has all the fragrance you crave without space-hogging growth.

Dwarf lavenders have been bred to still produce flowers while staying small in size. Most compact varieties stay just under 10-18” tall and about 12” wide. Despite their smaller stature, they maintain many of the same growth needs of regular sized lavender.

Whether you’re growing lavender in a container or in a small space garden, these varieties can be squeezed into a tiny space without stressing them out. Let’s dig into some of the most popular dwarf lavenders for compact areas.

Smaller Lavender Varieties

There are dozens of varieties of petite lavender that stay under 18” tall and can fit in compact spaces. The most popular dwarf lavenders include ‘Wee One’, ‘Dwarf Munstead’, ‘Thumbelina Leigh’, and ‘Compacta’. Proper pruning helps mini lavender grow in a tidy mound shape perfectly suited to outdoor containers, indoor pots, or small garden edging.

Keeping Lavender Small

A female gardener pruning lavender in the garden. She is using pruning sheers with a green plastic base that are sharp. She is wearing a blue shirt, and holding some of the plant in her hand as she's getting ready to make the pruning cut.
Dwarf lavenders are recommended to be pruned twice a year – in spring and autumn.

While dwarf lavenders are naturally bred to grow smaller than full-size varieties, they don’t always stay compact on their own. Regular pruning is the secret to keeping the plant at a petite size. This will also ensure that the plant grows in a desirable shape and repeatedly sends up new flushes of flowers throughout the season.

More compact varieties should be pruned twice per year— once in the spring and again in the fall. Spring pruning is a “soft” pruning because you only cut back about ½ of the plant’s growth. You can do this after the first flush of flowers begins to fade. Always leave behind 2-4” of soft, green stems near the base of the plant.

Fall pruning is considered “hard” pruning because you can cut back up to ⅔ of the lavender’s stem length. This ensures that the plant channels its energy into its roots to prepare for winter.

You can cut down to just 1-3” of soft growth after the final flush of flowers begins to fade in the autumn. The amount of soft stems leftover may vary around the plant as you shape it into a mound, gumdrop, or cone shape. Be sure not to cut into the woody part of the plant.

Native to the Mediterranean, lavender is a perennial herb that can grow tremendously large with vibrant sunshine and warmth. But not all types of lavender are created equal!

The Lavandula genus includes 45 different species and over 450 varieties, including a range of dwarf and miniature cultivars Here are some of our favorite choics for keeping in containers or compact spaces:

‘Dwarf Munstead’

An image of ‘dwarf munstead’ lavender up close. There is no blooms visible in this picture, only the foliage of the plant itself.
This variety is bred for containers and has fragrant violet-blue flowers.
  • Type: English
  • Growing Zone: 5-9
  • Mature Height: 15”
  • Mature Width: 12-15”

A more compact plant, this early flowering selection is extremely aromatic and bred for containers or small raised beds. ‘Dwarf Munstead’ has all the delicate perfume like properties of its full-sized cousin, but it stays compact at maturity.

This variety is especially coveted for the masses of beautiful plump violet-blue flowers. The cut stems are perfect for drying and bouquets. It has an open habit, which makes it naturally more disease-resistant but more reliant on twice-seasonal prunings to maintain its tidy shape.

‘Wee One’

An image of English Lavender ‘Wee One’ in the garden. It's focused on several of the purple blooms with some of the foliage in the background. There is a butterfly with tan wings resting on one of the blooms.
‘Wee One’ is a remarkably small variety that produces an abundance of pastel purple flowers.
  • Type: English
  • Growing Zone: 5-9
  • Mature Height: 8-10”
  • Mature Width: 12-16”

Some say that this is the most compact lavender in the world. ‘Wee One’ stays remarkably small at maturity, yet still yields an abundance of classic pastel purple and violet-hued blossoms.

It is known for its exceptional heat tolerance. ‘Wee One’ is fairly slow growing and takes about 3 years to reach maturity, but it’s perfect for petite pots and small gardens. It even won High Country Gardens’ Plant Selection Petite award.

‘Compacta’

An image of Lavender angustifolia Compacta, which shows this variety blooming in rows on the ground. You can see in between the rows with dirt on the ground. The Plants are in full bloom and there are many purple flowers all around each shrub. You can see about 4 shrubs up close with others in a lower focus in the background.
‘Compacta’ blooms with incredibly fragrant flowers.
  • Type: English
  • Growing Zone: 5-9
  • Mature Height: 18”
  • Mature Width: 24”

This silver-leaved variety is ideal for low hedges. The plant can be pruned to grow in a gumdrop, mound, or squared-off shape.

‘Compacta’ bears linear, upright stems that are great for cutting and drying. The highly fragrant flowers have medium purple calyxes and violet-colored corollas, making for an intriguing floral display.

‘SuperBlue’

An image of SuperBlue lavender growing in a field. The focus is up close of the actual blooms in this picture and you can see many different lengths of plant blooming all around. The blooms are deep purple, and the sunlight is reflecting off two of the blooms in the image.
This variety blooms with deep purplish-blue flowers and is great for growing in containers.
  • Type: English
  • Growing Zone: 5-8
  • Mature Height: 12”
  • Mature Width: 10-12”

The richly colored display of ‘SuperBlue’ in full bloom is a sight to see! The saturated purple-blue blossoms sit on the end of tightly-held stems with few gaps.

This cultivar is perfect for patio containers and indoor pots. It is extremely tough and reliably cold tolerant down to -10°F during its dormant phase.

‘Nana Alba’

An image of the 'nana alba' cultivar up close. You can see pale green foliage, and the base of the flowers up close. The plant is just starting to bloom and you can see several white flowers appearing out of several of the flower buds.
‘Nana Alba’ is a compact variety that produces creamy white flowers and is a great addition to your blooming garden.
  • Type: English
  • Growing Zone: 5-9
  • Mature Height: 12-16”
  • Mature Width: 18-24”

This petite white lavender is an heirloom variety from the UK. Bred by Charles Musgrave, ‘Nana Alba’ is ideal for container gardening and small garden borders. The creamy white flowers add a stark contrast to darker purple or blue lavender varieties.

The small perennial shrub naturally maintains a rounded, compact shape that doesn’t require as much pruning as other types. It loves direct sunshine and doesn’t mind long periods without water.

‘Lacy Frills’

An image of 'Lacy Frills' cultivar growing in the garden. You can see the white flowers blossoming off the plant. There are about thirty different plant stalks in this picture with big white blooms coming off each of them.
This long-lived variety has beautiful pale white or lilac flowers that exude a great fragrance.
  • Type: English
  • Growing Zone: 5-8
  • Mature Height:10-12”
  • Mature Width: 12-14”

The pale white-to-lilac-hued flowers of ‘Lacy Frills’ are delicate and pristine. They bloom continuously throughout the season (especially with regular deadheading).

This durable plant has a wonderful fragrance that compliments the more complex perfumes of purple types. Unlike most white lavenders, this disease-tolerant variety can be grown from seed.

‘Blue Cushion’

An image of 'blue cushion' lavender growing in the garden. You can see the shrubs growing lower to the ground, and the flowers are in full focus on many of the shrubs. The flowers are purple, but have a tinge of blue to them, and you can see many of the lengths of the plant are in full bloom.
‘Blue Cushion’ is a low-growing shrub that blooms with bright blue flowers against a backdrop of green-gray foliage.
  • Type: English
  • Growing Zone: 5-9
  • Mature Height: 12-14”
  • Mature Width: 16-18”

Named for its cushion-like growth, ‘Blue Cushion’ has a low-lying shrubby habit with minimal spread. The vibrant fuschia and blue flowers create a stark contrast against the backdrop of green-gray foliage.

As the flowers fade, they turn pastel purple and will keep producing throughout the summer if they are regularly pruned.

‘Thumbelina Leigh’

An image of 'Thumbelina Leigh' up close. The flowers are in full bloom, and are a lighter shade of purple. There is an insect resting on one of the blooms, which appears to be a pollinator of some sort - perhaps a larger carpenter bee. The purple is lighter on the blooms and you can see about ten blooms in the picture with green background foliage that is out of focus.
This variety has small, plump and highly fragrant flowers.
  • Type: English
  • Growing Zone: 5-9
  • Mature Height: 12-15”
  • Mature Width: 18”

Another ideal container lavender, this dwarf variety has extra short, plump blooms that are highly aromatic. It willingly thrives in poor soils and still produces stems that are long enough for cutting.

‘Little Lady’

An image of 'Little Lady' cultivar growing in the garden. This image is focused on the whole plant. You can see the green foliage at the base of the plant, but equally see the blooms. The blooms are blossoming in a very light purple color, and the foliage is light green and almost silver in appearance.
This British-bred variety is the shortest you can grow.
  • Type: English
  • Growing Zone: 6-10
  • Mature Height: 6-12”
  • Mature Width: 12-18”

One of the shortest varieties you can find, this British-bred lavender comes from the original cultivar ‘Batlad’. It shares all the classic fragrant properties in a tidier, smaller package. The shiny, silvery, and evergreen foliage looks nice in the winter time and the plants don’t mind being grown close together.

‘Sarah’

An image of 'Sarah' cultivar as a small compact shrub growing next to another one of the same variety. The image focus is on the main shrub, where some of the light green foliage is on display at the base. The flowers are extremely vibrant and purple, and almost every stalk of the plant is in bloom.
It is an early flowering variety that tolerates heat well.
  • Type: English
  • Growing Zone: 5-11
  • Mature Height: 12”
  • Mature Width: 12”

‘Sarah’ is a great selection for container growing or gardeners in need of short hedges. It has duo-toned dark and light purple flowers that are petite just like the plant. It handles heat quite well and blooms early in the spring.

‘Pastor’s Pride’

An image of 'Pastor's Pride' cultivar blooming in the garden. This image shows the top half of the picture with lavender blooming boldly, and the bottom half with the green foliage at the base. The flowers of this cultivar are smaller and thinner.
‘Pastor’s Pride’ is a hardy variety with strong and fluffy flowers.
  • Type: English
  • Growing Zone: 5-10
  • Mature Height: 24”
  • Mature Width: 24-30”

This cold-hardy shrub isn’t the most compact variety on the list, but it makes up for its size with its cold-hardiness and fluffy, stout flowers. You can easily prune this variety to stay as petite as possible.

‘Pastor’s Pride’ reliably blooms in two large flushes in the early and late summer. The blooms are lilac-hued and have a moderate fragrance, but they magnetize loads of monarch butterflies.

‘Betty’s Blue’

An image of 'Betty's Blue' lavender growing in the garden. The plant is angled diagonally, with the plant stems shooting from right to left. On top of every single stem is a beautiful purple bloom, one of which has a honey bee resting on top as part of the pollination process.
‘Betty’s Blue’ produces large blue-violet flowers that bloom in mid-summer.
  • Type: English
  • Growing Zone: 5-9
  • Mature Height: 24”
  • Mature Width: 24-30”

If you want extra large blooms, ‘Betty’s Blue’ won’t disappoint. The big spikes of blue-violet and rose-tinted blooms grow atop erect stems that don’t splay or droop.

It naturally grows in a tidy dome shape, but blooms only once in midsummer (and maybe a smaller flush in the fall if you prune off withered flowers). This variety is great for humid, hot climates with poor soils.

‘Crystal Lights’

An image of 'Crystal Lights' cultivar up close. It's hard to tell if this image was taken in a garden or in an entire lavender field. There are hundreds of stems in focus, each of which has beautiful white blooms coming through the plant.
‘Crystal lights’ prefers to grow in mild coastal climates.
  • Type: Lavandin hybrid
  • Growing Zone: 5-9
  • Mature Height: 12-15”
  • Mature Width: 12”

For people who love white lavender, this creamy-hued hybrid is the perfect dwarf variety for containers. While it doesn’t have any color, it still has plenty of fragrance!

Bred in New Zealand, ‘Crystal Lights’ has a rounded, low-growth habit and blooms several times throughout the season. It especially loves mild coastal climates.

‘Hidcote Superior’

An image of 'Hidocote Superior' cultivar blooming from a planter. The green foliage is more noticeable on this image, even though the plant is in bloom. The sun is hitting the plant to make the foliage more noticeable. On top of most of the plant stalks are deep purple blooms that are smaller but very radiant.
‘Hidcote Superior’ produces dark purple flowers in late spring.
  • Type: English
  • Growing Zone: 5-10
  • Mature Height: 16”
  • Mature Width: 18”

This uniformly compact variety has dark-colored flower spikes that usually appear in late spring. It is a smaller version of the Polish classic ‘Hidcote’. If you want that traditional royal garden vibe, ‘Hidcote Superior’ delivers all the aesthetics and fragrance without taking up so much space. It’s only drawback is slower growth than other dwarf types.

‘Mitcham Gray’

'Mitcham Gray' cultivar growing in an enclosed greenhouse area. The plant stems are a gray to silver color and each one is covered in flowers that are a deeper purple to blue. They are all in bloom. The image is angled with the plants stems coming from the left to the right.
‘Mitcham Gray’ has blue-gray foliage and blooms with dark blue flowers.
  • Type: English
  • Growing Zone: 5-10
  • Mature Height: 24”
  • Mature Width: 24-28”

This rare cultivar has blue-gray foliage and dark blue flowers. It grows faster than ‘Hidcote Superior’, but can also get slightly larger. ‘Mitcham Gray’ thrives in drought-like conditions and will reliably bloom multiple times after flower harvests. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How tall does dwarf lavender get?

Dwarf lavender averages 12-18 inches (30 to 45 cm) in height, depending on the variety and pruning methods. Most compact cultivars are suitable for indoor pots, outdoor containers, or small garden borders.

How fast does dwarf lavender grow?

Dwarf varieties can start flowering in its first year, but may not fully mature until the second or third year. If you live in a cold climate, dwarf lavender may develop slower and remain more compact. In warmer climates, it tends to mature more quickly, growing taller and wider with time. Pruning is key to keeping the plant tidy and compact.

How far apart do you plant dwarf lavender?

Most dwarf lavender varieties can be planted as close as 12-24” apart. However, in extra humid climates, you may want to increase the spacing to ensure proper airflow and reduce competition between plants. Plants that are grown too close together may have reduced floral production, spindly growth, and less fragrance.

How do you keep lavender from getting too big?

To keep lavender compact, avoid adding fertilizer to the soil. If you’ve noticed your plants getting out-of-hand with leggy or untidy growth, it’s a sign that the plant has too much nitrogen. This Mediterranean herb evolved in poor, rocky soils with very little nutrients.

An excess of fertility will cause it to splay out and overgrow its green foliage, potentially at the expense of flower production. If you already fertilized, consider mixing in gravel or sand to dilute the fertilizer or transplanting it to a different location. Prune back heavily to keep the leggy growth in check and prevent it from becoming too woody.

Final Thoughts

Gardeners without much space don’t have to miss out on the beauty of lavender. This Mediterranean herb doesn’t mind growing in under 2 square feet of space. In fact, some dwarf varieties can stay as small as 12” tall and 12” wide. The tiniest variety of all is ‘Wee One’ English lavender, which is considered the most compact in cultivation.

But just because you choose a dwarf type doesn’t mean you can skimp on pruning. The key to maintaining a tidy, compact growing habit is to routinely prune your plants twice per year. Pruning also ensures more blooms and healthier plants.

Trim back in the spring before or after its first flush of flowers. Then, cut back half to one-third of the plant in the fall after the last round of flowers fade. Remember to shape the plant into a mound and regularly deadhead flowers for more blossoms.

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