Discover the Magic of Lavender: Small Plants with Big Impact

Lavender bushes are renowned for their aromatic purple flowers and grand mounded shapes. However, you don’t need vast expanses of space to enjoy these lovely plants. By selecting the right variety and employing proper pruning techniques, you can cultivate smaller cultivars that retain the fragrance you adore without dominating your garden.

Embracing the Charm of Dwarf Lavender

Dwarf lavenders have been specifically bred to maintain their floral beauty while staying small in size. Most compact varieties reach a height of only 10-18 inches and have a width of about 12 inches. Despite their compact stature, these smaller lavenders still possess similar growth requirements to their larger counterparts.

Whether you plan on growing lavender in containers or in a petite garden space, these compact varieties can be easily accommodated without causing any undue stress. Let’s explore some of the most popular dwarf lavenders that are perfect for compact areas.

Unveiling the Secrets to Keeping Lavender Small

Pruning Lavender
Image source: All About Gardening

While dwarf lavenders are naturally inclined to be smaller in size, they don’t always stay compact on their own. Regular pruning is the key to ensuring these plants remain petite and well-shaped, with abundant blooms throughout the season.

More compact varieties should be pruned twice a year: once in spring and again in fall. Spring pruning serves as a “soft” pruning, where you remove approximately half of the plant’s growth after the initial flush of flowers begins to fade. Leave behind 2-4 inches of soft green stems near the base of the plant.

Fall pruning, on the other hand, is considered “hard” pruning. You can cut back up to two-thirds of the lavender’s stem length, encouraging the plant to channel its energy into its roots for winter preparation. Trim down to 1-3 inches of soft growth after the final flush of flowers fades in autumn. As you shape the lavender into a mound, gumdrop, or cone shape, be careful not to cut into the woody part of the plant.

Exploring Exquisite Dwarf Cultivars

Native to the Mediterranean, lavender is a perennial herb that can grow remarkably large with ample sunshine and warmth. However, not all lavender types are equal. The Lavandula genus comprises 45 different species and over 450 varieties, including a range of dwarf and miniature cultivars. Here are some of our favorite choices perfectly suited for containers or compact spaces:

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‘Dwarf Munstead’

Dwarf Munstead Lavender
Image source: All About Gardening

  • Type: English
  • Growing Zone: 5-9
  • Mature Height: 15 inches
  • Mature Width: 12-15 inches

A more compact plant, ‘Dwarf Munstead’ blooms early and emits an enchanting fragrance. This delightful selection is specifically bred for containers or small raised beds. It possesses all the delicate perfume-like properties of its full-sized cousin while remaining compact in size. ‘Dwarf Munstead’ is especially cherished for its abundance of beautiful violet-blue flowers, ideal for drying and creating bouquets. While it has an open habit, making it more disease-resistant, it still benefits from regular pruning to maintain its tidy shape.

‘Wee One’

Wee One English Lavender
Image source: All About Gardening

  • Type: English
  • Growing Zone: 5-9
  • Mature Height: 8-10 inches
  • Mature Width: 12-16 inches

Regarded as the most compact lavender in the world, ‘Wee One’ remains strikingly small at maturity while producing an abundance of pastel purple flowers. This variety exhibits exceptional heat tolerance and is perfect for petite pots and small gardens. ‘Wee One’ may take about three years to reach maturity but is well worth the wait. In fact, it was honored with the Plant Selection Petite award by High Country Gardens.

‘Compacta’

Lavender angustifolia Compacta
Image source: All About Gardening

  • Type: English
  • Growing Zone: 5-9
  • Mature Height: 18 inches
  • Mature Width: 24 inches

Ideal for low hedges, ‘Compacta’ boasts silver-leaved foliage that can be pruned to take on a gumdrop, mound, or squared-off shape. Its linear, upright stems are perfect for cutting and drying, while the highly fragrant flowers showcase medium purple calyxes and violet-colored corollas, creating a captivating floral display.

‘SuperBlue’

SuperBlue Lavender
Image source: All About Gardening

  • Type: English
  • Growing Zone: 5-8
  • Mature Height: 12 inches
  • Mature Width: 10-12 inches

The richly colored ‘SuperBlue’ boasts deep purplish-blue flowers that will leave you in awe. Its tightly-held stems support clusters of stunning blooms, ensuring a spectacular visual display. This cultivar thrives in containers, making it suitable for patio spaces and indoor pots. ‘SuperBlue’ is extraordinarily tough and can withstand temperatures as low as -10°F during its dormant phase.

‘Nana Alba’

Nana Alba Lavender
Image source: All About Gardening

  • Type: English
  • Growing Zone: 5-9
  • Mature Height: 12-16 inches
  • Mature Width: 18-24 inches

This petite white lavender, an heirloom variety from the UK, is a splendid addition to any blooming garden. ‘Nana Alba’ naturally maintains a rounded and compact shape that requires minimal pruning. Its creamy white flowers provide a striking contrast when paired with darker purple or blue lavender varieties. Thriving in direct sunshine, ‘Nana Alba’ can withstand extended periods without water.

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‘Lacy Frills’

Lacy Frills Lavender
Image source: All About Gardening

  • Type: English
  • Growing Zone: 5-8
  • Mature Height: 10-12 inches
  • Mature Width: 12-14 inches

The delicate pale white or lilac flowers of ‘Lacy Frills’ bloom continuously throughout the season, offering a delightful display. This enduring variety possesses a captivating fragrance that complements the more complex perfumes of its purple counterparts. Unlike most white lavenders, ‘Lacy Frills’ is disease-tolerant and can be grown from seed.

‘Blue Cushion’

Blue Cushion Lavender
Image source: All About Gardening

  • Type: English
  • Growing Zone: 5-9
  • Mature Height: 12-14 inches
  • Mature Width: 16-18 inches

Known for its cushion-like growth, ‘Blue Cushion’ is a low-growing shrub adorned with bright blue flowers against a backdrop of green-gray foliage. The vibrant fuchsia and blue blooms create a striking contrast that captivates the eye. Regular pruning ensures continuous blooming throughout the summer.

‘Thumbelina Leigh’

Thumbelina Leigh Lavender
Image source: All About Gardening

  • Type: English
  • Growing Zone: 5-9
  • Mature Height: 12-15 inches
  • Mature Width: 18 inches

This dwarf variety, aptly named ‘Thumbelina Leigh,’ features short, plump blooms bursting with a captivating fragrance. Despite its preference for poor soils, it thrives and produces long stems perfect for cutting. ‘Thumbelina Leigh’ is an ideal choice for container gardening.

‘Little Lady’

Little Lady Lavender
Image source: All About Gardening

  • Type: English
  • Growing Zone: 6-10
  • Mature Height: 6-12 inches
  • Mature Width: 12-18 inches

Among the shortest lavender varieties available, this British-bred beauty is derived from the original ‘Batlad’ cultivar. ‘Little Lady’ encapsulates all the classic fragrant properties in a tidier, smaller package. Its shiny, silvery, evergreen foliage adds elegance to any garden, and the plants tolerate close spacing without issue.

‘Sarah’

Sarah Lavender
Image source: All About Gardening

  • Type: English
  • Growing Zone: 5-11
  • Mature Height: 12 inches
  • Mature Width: 12 inches

‘Sarah’ is a fantastic choice for container gardening or short hedges. Its duo-toned dark and light purple flowers perfectly complement its petite size. Additionally, this variety handles heat exceptionally well and blooms early in the spring.

‘Pastor’s Pride’

Pastor's Pride Lavender
Image source: All About Gardening

  • Type: English
  • Growing Zone: 5-10
  • Mature Height: 24 inches
  • Mature Width: 24-30 inches

Although not the most compact lavender on our list, ‘Pastor’s Pride’ compensates with its hardiness and fluffy, stout flowers. Regular pruning helps maintain its desired size. This variety blooms twice during the summer, attracting numerous monarch butterflies with its lilac-hued blossoms and moderate fragrance.

‘Betty’s Blue’

Betty's Blue Lavender
Image source: All About Gardening

  • Type: English
  • Growing Zone: 5-9
  • Mature Height: 24 inches
  • Mature Width: 24-30 inches
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For those longing for larger blooms, ‘Betty’s Blue’ delivers an impressive floral display. Its blue-violet and rose-tinted blooms grow atop erect stems, creating a dramatic visual contrast. While it blooms once in midsummer, regular deadheading may prompt a smaller flush in the fall. ‘Betty’s Blue’ thrives in humid, hot climates with poor soils.

‘Crystal Lights’

Crystal Lights Lavender
Image source: All About Gardening

  • Type: Lavandin hybrid
  • Growing Zone: 5-9
  • Mature Height: 12-15 inches
  • Mature Width: 12 inches

For lovers of white lavender, ‘Crystal Lights’ is an excellent choice. While it lacks color, it compensates with an abundance of fragrance. Bred in New Zealand, this hybrid variety boasts a rounded and low-growth habit, blooming several times throughout the season. ‘Crystal Lights’ flourishes in mild coastal climates.

‘Hidcote Superior’

Hidcote Superior Lavender
Image source: All About Gardening

  • Type: English
  • Growing Zone: 5-10
  • Mature Height: 16 inches
  • Mature Width: 18 inches

‘Hidcote Superior’ is a uniformly compact variety that produces dark purple flowers in late spring. It is a smaller version of the Polish classic ‘Hidcote’ and exudes all the aesthetics and fragrance without consuming excessive space. Although it grows slower than other dwarf types, its allure is worth the wait.

‘Mitcham Gray’

Mitcham Gray Lavender
Image source: All About Gardening

  • Type: English
  • Growing Zone: 5-10
  • Mature Height: 24 inches
  • Mature Width: 24-28 inches

This rare cultivar showcases blue-gray foliage and dark blue flowers. ‘Mitcham Gray’ boasts faster growth compared to ‘Hidcote Superior,’ although it can grow slightly larger. Thriving in drought-like conditions, this variety reliably blooms multiple times after flower harvests.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please note that the subsequent questions are not provided; they are purely fictional and included for article completion.

  1. How often should I water my dwarf lavender?
  2. Can I grow dwarf lavenders in humid climates?
  3. Will dwarf lavenders attract pollinators?
  4. Do dwarf lavenders require special soil conditions?
  5. Can I propagate dwarf lavenders from cuttings?
  6. How can I prevent diseases in dwarf lavender plants?
  7. Are dwarf lavenders suitable for indoor cultivation?

Conclusion

Embrace the allure of dwarf lavender and transform your garden into a haven of fragrance and beauty. These small plants have a big impact, providing an abundance of delightful blooms while taking up minimal space. By selecting the right variety and employing proper pruning techniques, you can enjoy the charm and fragrance of lavender even in the smallest of gardens. Explore the enchanting world of compact lavender cultivars and create a captivating oasis of beauty. For more information and a wide selection of lavender varieties, visit the Ames Farm Center.