11 Reasons To Grow White Lavender in Your Garden
Looking to add some white lavender to your garden this season but aren't sure if you should? Well, there are actually many reasons why it's a great idea! In this article, gardening expert and former organic lavender farmer Logan Hailey walks through her top reasons why she loves white lavender in the garden!
White lavender may seem like an oxymoron. This classic purple-flowered herb is known for its decadent aroma, soothing properties, and versatility of uses. But its white-flowered cousins are equally useful and dazzling in the garden. Their albino colored spikes have all the same properties as standard lavender, but with a fun bleached twist.
If you are still on the fence about planting white lavender this season, there are many different reasons you shouldn’t be! These beautiful herbaceous perennials will add visual interest to your garden, and also help keep deer and other garden pests away.
Whether you want to add contrast to your perennial gardens or enjoy a unique addition to bouquets, white lavender is a show stopping rare plant that smells as lovely as it looks. Here are 11 reasons to plant white lavender in your garden this season.
- 1 What is White Lavender?
- 2 11 Reasons To Love White Lavender
- 2.1 It Adds Eye Catching Contrast
- 2.2 It’s Highly Perfumed
- 2.3 It Makes a Great Bouquet Compliment
- 2.4 It’s a Low Maintenance Plant
- 2.5 It’s Very Drought Tolerant
- 2.6 It Symbolizes Serenity & Luxury
- 2.7 It’s Also Quite Rare and Unique
- 2.8 It Has Many Versatile Uses
- 2.9 It Makes a Smelling Great Kitchen Herb
- 2.10 It’s Great For Crafts
- 2.11 There Are Many Cultivars
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions
- 4 Final Thoughts
White lavender refers to dozens of different varieties of lavender with partially or completely white flowers. The most popular varieties include ‘Arctic Snow’, ‘Nana Alba’, and ‘Crystal Lights’. These pale-hued lavender cultivars add a unique variation to the traditional purple types.
These rare varieties are created through natural plant breeding or hybridization to yield light-colored blooms. They typically have the same classic fragrance and low-maintenance attitude as their purple-colored counterparts.
11 Reasons To Love White Lavender
If you haven’t heard of white lavender, you’ve been missing out on a gorgeous addition to your garden. The creamy light flowers not only spice up your classic lavender plantings, but also offer an array of benefits to a flourishing garden or homestead.
It Adds Eye Catching Contrast
Interrupt a sea of purple with some gorgeous white-flowered diversity. White lavender adds a unique backdrop to vibrantly colored lavender and other perennial flowers. It makes other colors “pop” more and gives your herb garden a more diverse medley of textures.
Some gardeners prefer to alternate it in a patchwork with purple types. Others will grow long strips of white between full rows of bright colored varieties.
It’s Highly Perfumed
Although purple lavender varieties like ‘Provence’ and ‘Grosso’ get all the attention from perfume-makers, white lavender can be equally as fragrant.
Varieties like ‘Alba White‘ and ‘Dwarf White’ have flowers with the classic sweet lavender aroma, plus extra fragrant foliage. You can even use it in aromatherapy applications such as pillow candles or oil infusions.
It Makes a Great Bouquet Compliment
The elegant cream-colored blossoms of are displayed on graceful long stems that look incredible in bouquets.
When paired with varieties of purple and dark blue lavender, you can create stunning floral arrangements that perfectly compliment a pastel color scheme. White lavender adds a chic traditional accent to lilac-colored roses or white peonies.
It’s a Low Maintenance Plant
Like most lavenders, white lavender is incredibly low maintenance. After the initial site prep, transplanting, and early watering needs, it can fend for itself with only occasional water, no fertilizer, and a twice-yearly pruning.
Depending on your climate, you can find white-flowered cultivars of English and Spanish lavender, as well as Lavandin hybrids. Although it isn’t as cold-hardy as its purple counterparts, it holds up well in most climates.
It’s Very Drought Tolerant
All types of lavender are exceptionally drought tolerant. Due to their origins on the hot, rocky slopes of the Mediterranean, these plants have evolved to tolerate— and even enjoy!— long periods without water.
Once established, white lavender will still bloom profusely even during a summer drought. It prefers a well-drained gravelly soil that will never get waterlogged or soggy.
Before planting, you can mimic these conditions by incorporating peat moss, pea gravel, shredded bark, or even sand. Be sure to loosen the soil at least 1 foot deep and wide around the planting hole. If you live in a dry area, make sure you understand the nuances of growing lavender in dry climates.
It Symbolizes Serenity & Luxury
Traditionally, lavender flowers have a range of spiritual and symbolic meanings in different cultures. As an ode to its therapeutic benefits, lavender can represent serenity, silence, grace, calmness, and relaxation.
White lavender blossoms are also symbolic of purity and virtue. In England, it’s often displayed in royal gardens to represent elegance and wealth.
It’s Also Quite Rare and Unique
Of over 450 varieties of lavender, only about a dozen are truly white-flowered forms of the herb. This means that white lavender is particularly unique and can be displayed as a rare specimen in any garden or landscape.
Passersby often gawk at the seemingly “albino” flowers and wonder if they are a genetic mutation or a different plant entirely. Interestingly, it is simply a result of traditional selection where lavender breeders saved seeds from the lightest-flowered lavenders and crossed them together until they yielded plants like ‘Nana Alba’, ‘Ballerina’, and ‘Crystal Lights’.
It Has Many Versatile Uses
Like most lavender varieties, you can use white lavender in the kitchen, crafts, decorations, cleaning, herbal remedies, and bouquets. In the garden, it can be pruned as a hedge, mound, or low-growing garden edging.
They’re even deer-resistant and pest-repellent for some incredible companion planting benefits!
It Makes a Smelling Great Kitchen Herb
Because the smell is more pungent for most white lavender varieties, it can make a great cut flower to plant in a vase in your kitchen.
It will help your kitchen area smell spectacular, while adding a unique look to your kitchen space compared to other flowers. They can also be planted as cut flowers with many other flowers in your kitchen display.
It’s Great For Crafts
The long sturdy stems are perfect for crafting. Whether you want to create dried bouquets, sachets, wreaths, candles, or woven lavender “wands”, white lavender dries excellently. It maintains its gorgeous albino color and aroma while holding a nice shape.
When crafting with any lavender, the most important thing to remember is to construct bundles or wreaths while the stems are still green and pliable. Then, let the lavender dry in a room with low humidity and plenty of circulation.
There Are Many Cultivars
You may envision white lavender to look just like an albino version of traditional lavender bushes, but there are actually many different shapes and sizes of this white-flowered herb available today. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular White Lavender varieties you can grow in your garden.
Top Lavender Varieties
|‘Crystal Lights’||Bred in New Zealand, ‘Crystal Lights’ can be grown in zones 5-9 and reaches about 16” tall at maturity.|
|‘Celestial Star’||Hardy in zones 5-9 and grows about 30” tall, depending on your pruning methods.|
|‘Ellagance Snow’||Scent is particularly sweet. It blooms throughout summer and grows in zones 5-9|
|‘Nana Alba’||Most popular variety. The plants are very small and average a compact 12-16” tall.|
|‘Alba Lavandin’||At up to 32” in height, these plants can grow quite large and withstand temperatures down to below zero degrees Fahrenheit.|
|‘Ballerina’||This “butterfly” lavender has creamy white bracts that contrast against deep purple cone-like centers. This cultivar prefers zones 8-9 and grows about 24” tall.|
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there such a thing as white lavender?
White lavender varieties are unique pale-flowered types of standard Lavandula plants. They have been bred for pale, pastel, or creamy-white hues in their blossoms. Available as Spanish “butterfly lavender”, lavandin hybrids, English lavender, and dwarf cultivars are equally as drought-tolerant and low-maintenance as regular purple varieties.
Is it scented compared to normal lavender?
Though it lacks the signature purple color, white lavender is not lacking in fragrance. These gorgeous white spikes have the same soothing sweet scent as traditional lavender varieties. The foliage also has an aroma reminiscent of camphor or rosemary. ‘Alba Lavandin’ and ‘Nana Alba’ are among the most fragrant varieties.
Is it considered a perennial?
Most white lavender varieties remain perennial in zones 5-9. These beautiful hedges can be planted in the spring and only require pruning twice per year. With proper tending, they can survive for up to 10-15 years!
These unique plants go dormant in the winter just like other lavender varieties. It prefers very well-drained soil and full sun exposure. The most common reason for premature death is fungal disease due to excess humidity or a lack of pruning.
Does white lavender need sun?
Although its flowers are pale, white lavender plants are not vampires. They still need full sunshine like any other lavender plant. At least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day is ideal. This ensures that the plant has enough energy, heat, and airflow to flourish in your garden.
Now that you know why we love white lavender so much, there’s only one thing left to do! It’s time to go and pick your favorite cultivar and get planting! While there are plenty of reasons to add this beautiful and beneficial herb to your garden, perhaps the most important one is just how elegant it looks no matter where you plant it.