There are many reasons to grow lavender. This garden classic is a source of craft materials, scent, a culinary ingredient, an essential oil, and a medicinal tea, plus it looks great in a garden. While lavender grows well in dry areas of zone 9 that are similar to its native Mediterranean habitat, it can be a challenge to grow this herb in wetter zone 9 climates.
In zone 9, lavender may have trouble with excessive summer heat, especially if it is also humid. Many varieties of lavender do well in regions of zone 9 with hot, dry summers and mild winters, like much of Southern California. But even in difficult areas like the American South, there are lavender varieties that do well.
Lavender Varieties for Zone 9
One great variety of lavender for zone 9 is “Phenomenal” lavender. This variety does especially well in humid zone 9 climates, including Florida. It is derived from Grosso (Lavandula x intermedia), a famously fragrant variety. Plants grow to 2-4 feet (0.6 to 1.2 meters) tall and bloom in late May to July. Despite this variety’s tolerance for humidity, well-drained soil is still a must.
Goodwin Creek Gray lavender is a zone 9 lavender with high heat tolerance. This variety, probably derived from a hybrid between two lavender species, is drought-tolerant and is a good choice for dry Zone 9 climates. Plants grow 3 feet tall (.91 m.) and have dark purple flowers.
Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas) is one of the best choices for locations with hot, humid summers. It is fragrant and has unusual, ornamental flower spikes but is less useful for cooking than more familiar lavender species.
Growing Lavender in Zone 9
To grow this multipurpose plant in zone 9, take measures to shield the plants from summer heat and moisture. Provide mulch around the plants to help the lavender cope with hot summer weather.
When you establish a new planting, plant in the fall to allow the lavender to become established in the milder conditions of winter.
Otherwise, growing lavender in zone 9 is similar to growing it in cooler climates. This plant requires full sun and well-drained soil, preferably with a good amount of sand. Growing lavender in pots is a great idea if the soil type in your garden is not right for lavender.