The Allure and Uses of English Lavender Plant

The English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), commonly associated with peace and gentleness of nature, is one of the most popular and widely grown plants belonging to the mint family, Lamiaceae. Gardeners use it in their beautiful gardens; chefs use it in their delicious recipes, and artisans use it in their artistic creations. This article explains the background information about this plant; how it is grown, how it is utilized, and the advantages that are associated with it.

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Historical Significance

English Lavender has a recorded history that dates back several millennia. The ancient Egyptians employed lavender in the process of mummification – it possesses preservative qualities as well as an agreeable scent. The Romans then cultivated lavender and used it widely in everyday use as a bath, culinary, and medicinal plant. The word itself derives from the Latin verb ‘lavare’ meaning ‘to wash’. Throughout the Middle Ages, the plant was used more frequently as a means of washing linen as well as a way of warding off many insects. It was also used in medieval medicine, which was expected to treat all sorts of issues including headaches and irregular heartbeat.

Botanical Characteristics

Common lavender is a hardy perennial shrub that grows 2 to 3 feet high and about as wide. It is distinguished by its slim and silvery-green foliage and inflorescence of violet-blue color. The blossoms emerge during the later part of spring up to early summer and besides the visual appeal, the flowers exude a powerful sweet fragrance that has associated lavender with fragrance and therapeutic use.


Growing English Lavender is very simple and this makes it good for amateur gardening and professional gardening. It prefers a soil type that is sandy loam or loamy, with neutral to slightly alkaline pH, and loves to be in full sun. Despite having a moderate to low water requirement, young plants need some water to bootstrap themselves through their developmental phase.

That is the way to plant lavender: It is recommended that lavender be planted in a spot with full sun and well-drained soil with plenty of air movement. Plant them in the right spacing of 45 to 60 cm apart to accommodate the plants. I always buy my lavender from cuttings or as young plants but if I am growing lavender from seeds then it takes a little longer. The plants require active grooming to shape them and this is usually done after flowering where the person cuts the plant to a quarter or less.

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Varieties of English Lavender

As a fact, Lavandula angustifolia is the species, that is usually called English Lavender, however, there exist numerous cultivars of this species that may differ in the color of flowers, size, and winter-hardiness.

Some popular cultivars include:


One of the most common types of violas with dark blue-hued flowers and bushy habit, used in borders and edges.


This type of rose is named after Gertrude Jekyll, a famous British horticulturist, and is early to bloom with a pronounced fragrance.


Although some distinguish between Lavenders, this specific type is commonly considered to be the classic, True English Lavender for its rich oil yield and quality for consumption and fragrance.

Culinary Uses

English Lavender can practically be used in any kind of cuisine since it has a very enticing and remarkable taste in terms of both sweet and savory dishes. It can be applied fresh or dried, however, the latter is preferred because not only does it add a pleasant scent to dishes but also does not overpower the taste buds because of its strong aromas and tastes like lavender.

One way people use lavender in cooking is by including it in baking and making sugar from the herb so that baked goods such as cookies, cakes, scones, etc., have a light lavender flavor. Another facet of Lavender is its use as seasoning on food items especially those with poultry, lamb, or seafood preparation. They blend well with other herbs such as rosemary and thyme hence making the blend have a very strong flavor profile. Also, it is flavored for syrups, jams, and even beverages like lavender lemons or alcoholic beverages such as concoctions of lavender cocktails.

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Aromatherapy and Medicinal Uses

Lavender is known to have a very relaxing and soothing component which is why it became synonymous with aromatherapy. As for the essential oil, it is derived from English Lavender which is known for its calming properties which enhance mood and help people to fall asleep peacefully. Lavender oil can easily be used by merely blowing it into the air or with the help of a diffuser and this will make the surrounding environment to be more calming.

Locally, Lavender oil is applied due to its ability to control infection as well as inflammation. It can be used for minor surgeries such as minor burns, insect stings, and skin rashes with a view of easing pain and reaching healing. It also can be used as a massage oil or lotion, and found in bath products because of the moisturizing properties that it has on the skin and the smell.

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Ornamental and Practical Uses

Apart from being used in the preparation of food and medication purposes, it serves also as an ornamental plant, English Lavender. It is perhaps best known for its ornamental characteristics such as its vivid green and yellow colors, its impressive height, and its fragrant qualities which make it suitable for use in garden borders, rock gardens, and for growing in containers. Lavender also has various uses and benefits such as pollinators like bees and butterflies are attracted to it which is a bonus when planting because our plants will benefit from these pollinators hence adding to its functionality.

It is also used frequently in crafting, and in home decoration, dried lavender flowers are popular among people. The sachets can be hung inside the drawers or closets, thus, releasing the smell of lavender to the linens or clothes. Fresh gatherings of flowers and locally made wreaths enhance the homely look of the house and they can dry for years.

Economic and Environmental Impact

Today, lavender cultivation is an essential and profitable crop on many estates in many countries among the sustainable agriculture practices. Drought, which prevents most plants from growing near water sources, does not affect sugarcane, and the plant is therefore considered an environmentally friendly crop, requiring less water than most crops. Such farm also encourages ecotourism as many people go to lavender farms to be part of the beauty, and aromas of the flowers during a specified season.

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English Lavender, being a culturally, historically rich, and purposefully versatile plant with utmost charm has made it out to become the global favorite among all the lavenders. Even today some people derive different uses out of lavender: some use it as seasoning for culinary dishes, others use it as medicine and those who have gardens just cultivate the plant for its beauty. This is why it is still so popular till present as a marvelous herb that always keeps a nice scent in the lives of people who value it.