Reaching New Heights: A Guide to Growing Tall, Flowering French Lavender

Fanciers of French lavender love it for a lot more than its pleasant scent and dainty purple blossoms. A lot of people are drawn to the plant’s unique leaves that look like they were cut with tiny pinking shears. Others like how long the flowers last—from early summer all the way through fall, they bloom nonstop for months on end. Some people also like how French lavender grows in a mounded shrub-like shape that lets it be used as a low-growing, fragrant hedge.

Even though French lavender has many good qualities, it needs very specific growing conditions and doesn’t do well in some climates, especially those with cold winters. Here’s advice on what it takes to keep your French lavender healthy and brimming with blooms.

Note: French lavender used to be thought of as a subtype of Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas), but now it is seen as a separate species. Even so, sometimes Spanish lavender is labeled as French lavender, so check the plant tag to make sure you’re getting L. dentata. Most commonly grown is gray French lavender (Lavandula dentata var. candicans) which is also a little tougher than the straight species.

Most French lavenders have narrow, grayish green, finely-toothed leaves, but there’s also a variety with white variegation. Foliage remains evergreen in warmer climates.

The ASPCA says that all types of lavender contain a small amount of linalool, a chemical that can be harmful to dogs and cats if they eat a lot of it.

In the spring after the soil has warmed up and the threat of frost has passed. May also be planted in the fall in areas with mild winters.

This Mediterranean native requires sunny, hot, dry conditions to flourish. A climate with high temperatures, infrequent rainfall during the growing season, and low humidity is ideal. As with all lavender species, plant in a site that receives full sun (at least 6 hours daily). If not given ample sunlight, plants will bloom poorly, lack vigor, and be less fragrant.

Grows best in sandy, nutrient-poor, alkaline soil that provides excellent drainage. Avoid planting in heavy clay or in low spots prone to standing water.

The seeds of French lavender are small and tend to sprout slowly and unevenly, so it is easier to grow plants from nursery starts. To ensure good air circulation, space plants 2 to 3 feet apart, depending on their width at maturity. Water right after planting and continue to water every few days until plants become established. Because good drainage is essential, consider growing your plants in mounds, raised beds, or on slopes.

Some types of French lavender, like “Linda Ligon,” are small enough to grow in pots. This is a good choice for places where the plant isn’t hardy because you can bring the pots inside for the winter. Plant your lavender in a container with lots of drainage holes and high-quality potting mix that drains quickly. That way, your plants won’t be sitting in water. Learn more about how to grow lavender in pots.

Established French lavender plants are extremely drought tolerant and only need to be watered during prolonged dry spells. Root rot and fungal diseases can be avoided by not watering too much and watering at ground level or with drip irrigation to keep the leaves dry. During the winter, when plants are dormant, no supplemental watering is needed.

Because French lavender comes from areas with sandy or rocky soils that aren’t very fertile, don’t add things to the soil that make it better, like compost or other organic matter. If you have dense clay soil, amend it with red lava rock or rice hulls to improve drainage. Also work some lime into the soil if it’s highly acidic (with a pH below 5. 5). French lavender grows best in alkaline soils and won’t survive in soil that is too acidic. (Learn how to test the pH of your soil. ).

French lavender doesn’t need to be fertilized very often, and if you do, it could cause the leaves to grow faster than the flowers. Plants will generally be more robust when grown in poor soil that is low in nutrients.

When to prune French lavender: early spring is best. This will encourage new growth and make more flowers. You can also prune the plant again in the fall, after the flowers have died off, to change its shape and encourage growth that is denser and thicker. Cutting French lavender down to its woody base can kill it because it won’t grow back from that. Instead, make sure your pruning cuts are just above new leaf growth. Throughout the flowering season, deadhead your plants regularly to encourage the development of new blooms. See more on pruning lavender.

In places where it gets below zero degrees Fahrenheit, use evergreen boughs, shredded leaves, or straw as winter mulch to keep your plants warm, especially if there isn’t any snow. Proper soil drainage is also essential to plant survival in areas with cold, damp winters.

From seed or by stem cuttings taken from new growth in spring, before flower buds form.

It doesn’t have many pest or disease problems, but root rot and powdery mildew can happen, especially in damp, humid places. Poor air circulation between plants and a lack of pruning can exacerbate the problem.

With its vibrant purple blooms and ruffled green foliage, French lavender brings elegance and fragrance to gardens While often thought of as a small subshrub, French lavender can reach impressive sizes given the right conditions

In this guide, we’ll explore how tall French lavender grows, tips to maximize its height, ideal growing conditions, and using large lavender plants in garden design. Discover how with a little care, you can grow French lavender into a dramatic focal point covered in flowers.

How Tall Does French Lavender Grow?

Under ideal circumstances French lavender can grow to substantial heights

  • Maximum height: 3 to 4 feet tall

  • Average height: 2 to 3 feet tall

  • Minimum height: 1 to 2 feet tall

There are a few factors that affect the ultimate size of French lavender:

  • Variety – There are dwarf cultivars that stay small and larger varieties that become quite imposing.

  • Age – Established plants grow bigger than young starts. Lavender gains size over successive years.

  • Conditions – Warm climates and loose, sandy soils allow plants to reach full potential height.

  • Pruning – Regular trimming creates compact, shapely plants. Less pruning results in larger plants.

So with the right variety chosen, plenty of room to grow, and minimal pruning, French lavender can achieve heights of 3 to 4 feet.

Growing Conditions for Maximizing Height

To really push your French lavender to maximize its size potential, provide these ideal growing conditions:

  • Sunlight: At least 6 to 8 hours of direct sun daily

  • Soil: Fast-draining, sandy or gravelly soil

  • Drainage: Avoid wet, dense, or clay soils that can lead to root rot

  • pH: Alkaline soil in the range of 6.5 to 8.5

  • Nutrients: Low-fertility soil encourages extensive roots and taller growth

  • Water: Deep weekly soakings during summer, allow soil to fully dry between waterings

  • Temperature: Hot conditions from 70 to 100°F, avoid frost or freezing

Meeting these requirements will ensure your French lavender reaches its full genetic height potential in your climate.

Best Uses for Large French Lavender Plants

What are some ideal ways to showcase towering French lavender in your landscape?

Striking Hedgerows

Use tall lavender hedges as living fences, property lines, or garden borders. The purple blossoms create colorful landscape accents.


Plant a long row of large lavender to obscure unattractive views or create privacy screens.

Showstopping Standalone Plants

Let a mature lavender steal the show as a dramatic solitary focal point.

Fragrant Walkways

Line a path, driveway, or garden gate with towering lavender to envelope guests with scent.

Cut Flower Bonanza

Grow big lavender for abundant blossoms to use in floral arrangements and bouquets.

Buzzing Pollinator Magnets

Lavender flowers attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, so plant generously!

Tips for Growing Large French Lavender

Here are some useful tips to help your French lavender reach its peak height:

  • Select larger, upright varieties like ‘Provence,’ ‘Grosso,’ or ‘Super.’ Avoid petite dwarf cultivars.

  • Plant in spring so the roots have time to establish before summer heat.

  • Space plants 2 to 3 feet apart to prevent crowding and competition for nutrients.

  • Avoid excess fertilizer which can make plants floppy and leggy.

  • Prune lightly in late winter to shape plants. Avoid heavy pruning which reduces size.

  • Water deeply and infrequently, allowing the soil to fully dry out between waterings.

  • Mulch around plants with gravel or small pebbles to improve drainage.

  • Move potted plants indoors before first frost if you live in a cold winter climate.

Troubleshooting Leggy, Spindly Growth

If your French lavender plants become thin and leggy instead of tall and bushy, a few factors could be to blame:

  • Insufficient sunlight – Lavender needs full sun. More shade results in lanky, weak growth.

  • Overwatering – Too much moisture or poorly draining soil causes root rot and poor growth.

  • High nitrogen fertilizer – This produces excessive leafy growth rather than woody stems and flower spikes.

  • Overcrowding – Space plants properly to avoid competition for light and root space.

  • Pests or diseases – Insect infestations, fungi, and viruses impair healthy growth.

  • Harsh pruning – Avoid cutting back into old, woody parts of the plant as regrowth will be minimal.

Achieving a Grand Flowering Hedge

Who doesn’t dream of a towering, fragrant hedge in full purple bloom? With smart variety selection, ideal growing conditions, proper planting techniques, and attentive care, you can turn your French lavender into a dramatic flowering hedge.

Some older varieties of French lavender like ‘Grosso’ and ‘Provence’ can take 3 to 5 years to achieve maximum mature size. But the beauty is worth the wait. Each year, your hedge gains size, branching, and blossoms.

Soon you’ll have a true focal point covered in fragrant lavender blooms that you, your family, and pollinators can enjoy all season long. A mature hedge in full flower makes an unforgettable landscape treat.

The Satisfaction of Growing French Lavender to New Heights

One of the great rewards of gardening is nurturing plants from young starts to their full maturity. With French lavender’s beauty, fragrance, and attraction to pollinators, growing these plants to their maximum size brings great satisfaction.

Follow the tips in this guide to take your French lavender to new heights. Soon you’ll have a true flowering showpiece gracing your garden.

Is French lavender edible?

French lavender flowers are not suitable for human consumption. You can, however, pick the flowers to use as cut flowers or to add to potpourris and dried flower bouquets.

Will French lavender survive winter?

As long as you plant your French lavender in well-drained soil and the temperature in your growing zone never drops below freezing, you won’t have to do anything special to keep it alive during the winter. If you live in a zone 7 or lower area of the country and want to grow French lavender, do so as an annual or in a pot that you can bring inside for the winter.

5 Tips to Grow Perfect Lavender

How big does French lavender grow?

While Spanish lavender only reaches 1 ½-foot tall by as many feet wide, and English lavender only grows 1 to 2 feet tall and wide, French lavender can reach an impressive size of 2 to 3 feet tall and wide. If you want your lavender to make a statement, French lavender is the best choice for you!

Is French lavender easy to grow?

French lavenders are appreciated around the world for their long flowering season and fine fragrance. Fortunately, growing French lavender is easy, although they do require some specific care and conditions so that they grow healthy and flower to their full potential.

What kind of soil does French lavender grow in?

French lavender is a low-maintenance shrub, but it can be picky about its soil. These plants grow best in sandy loams that contain roughly 30% decaying organic materials. The soil should be loose so the roots can get established and so excess water can run off quickly.

What zone does French lavender grow in?

In the United States, the ideal growing zone for French lavender can vary depending on the plant’s variety. However, most French lavenders grow best in zones 7 through 9. French lavender prefers warm, dry climates and grows best in regions with low humidity.

Leave a Comment