Like other varieties of lavender, fernleaf lavender is a fragrant, showy shrub with blue-purple flowers. Growing fernleaf lavender is similar to other types, requiring a warm climate and drier conditions. Grow this lavender for edging, as a low shrub, and to harvest the flowers and leaves for herbal uses.
About Fernleaf Lavender Plants
Fernleaf lavender (Lavendula multifida) is also commonly known as French lace lavender. The names refer to its fern-like leaves, which are grayish-green, deeply lobed, and can be described as lacy. You can grow fernleaf lavender in your herb garden and harvest both the flowers and leaves. Use them in cooking or in soaps and other care products, potpourri, and scented sachets.
This lavender need not be limited to herbal uses, though. It’s a woody shrub that can be used as a low hedge, border, or edge—fernleaf lavender grows up to about two feet (60 cm.) tall and wide. Grow it in clumps for visual interest and garden fragrance. In warm climates, it will produce pretty flowers year-round.
How to Grow Fernleaf Lavender
Good fernleaf lavender care begins with climate considerations. Native to the hot, dry Mediterranean, lavender in the U.S. grows best in zones 8 through 10. It prefers sun and dry conditions, but this particular variety can tolerate more moisture than others.
Where winter temperatures dip to 20 degrees (-7 Celsius) or lower, this plant won’t survive. You can still grow it, either as an annual or in a container that you bring indoors for the winter, if you live somewhere colder.
Make sure the soil has good drainage and some organic material. Only water the lavender in drought conditions or as it is getting established. Remove the spent flowers to encourage more blooming, and prune the shrubs in spring just as the new leaves start to grow.
Harvesting Fernleaf Lavender
You can harvest and use both the fragrant leaves and flowers of fernleaf lavender. Harvest them at any time, clipping the stems low on the shrub for leaves and blooms. With the interesting texture and shape of the leaves, you can use them along with the flower stalks in fresh arrangements.
Dry the leaves and flowers to use in baking or in making fragrant beauty and other products. You can also use them fresh, and in fact, the flowers of fernleaf lavender don’t dry as well as those of other varieties. The aroma and fragrance of the leaves is a little more piney than other lavenders.