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Is Lavender Drought-Tolerant And Which Types Are Best For Dry Environments?

Is Lavender Drought-Tolerant And Which Types Are Best For Dry Environments?

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The aromatic scent and captivating blossoms of lavender have ensured this herb a spot in gardens worldwide. 

Another reason why growers adore lavender are its low care requirements, but it’s still important for beginner gardeners to know about lavender watering needs.

In this article, I’ll answer the most common question: is lavender drought-tolerant? You’ll also see which varieties tolerate dry conditions best and how the two most popular lavender types respond to drought. 

Let’s get started!

Lavender Drought Tolerance

lavender field

If you decide on growing lavender, you should know that it shows excellent tolerance to drought. It’s actually the most tolerant shrub, which makes it perfect for those who live in dry climates. 

So, what’s the botanical background of this lavender feature? First, this shrub is native to the Mediterranean and Middle East, and the soil in these regions is rocky, i.e., free-draining and porous

These parts of the world receive less rainfall during the hot summer months. To survive, they developed defense mechanisms.

We refer to these plants as xerophytes, which is a term to describe that a specific plant species performs well without a lot of water. 

The foliage and blossoms of lavender contain oil that slows down the water evaporation rate. The plant needs water in the juvenile growth stage and, when it fully establishes, occasional irrigation will suffice. 

If you decide to add lavender to your garden, you must remember that you’ll need to water it more frequently after planting or transplanting. Once they form robust roots, you don’t have to pay much attention to irrigation unless there’s no rainfall for a very long time. 

It’s way more dangerous to overwater lavender than to leave it without water for some time. 

Container-grown lavender shows less tolerance to drought, so if you decide on this growing method, be prepared to water more frequently.

The Most Drought-Tolerant Variety

Various purple Spanish lavender plants.

All lavender varieties grow well in dry environments but there are some differences in their tolerance. 

Spanish lavender will grow best in dry conditions and is perfect for hedges, borders, and mass planting. However, there’s one essential thing to know about this species. 

This is not a hardy plant and it doesn’t respond well to cooler temperatures, so if you want to grow it in your garden, make sure to prepare some winter protection

It’s perfect for cultivating in USDA hardiness zones 8 and above. If you live in a cooler climate, I recommend growing a hardier species. 

Some of the best cultivars of Spanish lavender include Strawberry Ruffles, Kew Red, and Silver Anouk

Drought Tolerance Of English Lavender

english lavender

English and French lavender are the two most common types of this aromatic herb. English lavender can survive long periods of drought. Just for clarification, it’s native to the Mediterranean not England. 

If you decide on this species, you must know that some cultivars show better tolerance than others. 

For instance, Grosso and Provence are some of the most tolerant cultivars of English lavender and lavandin (the cross between English and Portuguese lavender species). 

Other drought-tolerant cultivars of these two species include Munstead and Hidcote Giant.

Drought Tolerance Of French Lavender

Contrary to popular belief, French lavender doesn’t come from France. Just like its cousins, it’s native to the Mediterranean. 

This is also a sun-loving plant but it doesn’t tolerate dry conditions as well as the previously mentioned species. 

Lavender is a perfect choice for water-scarce environments. If you live in a dry and hot climate, your lavender will still thrive and your garden will have a spectacular display of colorful blossoms.