White Lavender: Unveiling the Unique Beauty

Have you ever encountered white lavender? When we think of lavender, hues of blue and purple often come to mind. However, white lavender is a captivating novelty worth exploring. Let’s dive into the distinctive characteristics and requirements of this extraordinary species.

Purple and white lavender blooming
White lavender is an unusual sight [Photo: Edita Medeina/ Shutterstock.com]

Unveiling Lavandula angustifolia ‘Nana Alba’

Lavandula angustifolia ‘Nana Alba’ is an exceptional white-flowering cultivar that deviates from its purple counterparts. With its fresh and bright appearance, this variety adds versatility to window boxes and perennial beds. Initially, the color change occurred serendipitously among purple lavender types. However, selected white-flowered varieties are now readily available in the market. Let us focus on the ‘Nana Alba’ variety.

‘Nana Alba’ is one of the pioneering, consistently white-flowering cultivars of Lavandula angustifolia. It grows exceptionally compact and remains low, reaching a height of approximately 35 cm. Due to its compact nature, this lavender variety thrives in pots, balcony boxes, and as an undergrowth in perennial beds. However, it’s important to note that ‘Nana Alba’ has slow growth, requiring ample time to reach its full potential. Notably, it withstands frost down to -28°C and coexists harmoniously with other plants.

The flower coloration of lavender, determined by pigments known as anthocyanins, plays a vital role. Higher pigment content results in deep purple shades, while lower levels create pinkish variants. In the case of white lavender, a genetic defect prevents pigment production, resulting in the striking white appearance. Importantly, the aroma and fragrance of the lavender remain unaffected, making it perfect for drying, ointments, and teas. Moreover, a white filled lavender bag offers a unique sensory experience. By cutting off faded flower stems in August, white lavender produces a second bloom in early fall, delighting us with graceful flower stalks well into autumn.

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Summary: White Lavender Characteristics

  • Compact growth with a low profile
  • Ideal as undergrowth
  • Extremely hardy
  • White flowers accompanied by the typical lavender scent

Dried purple and white lavender
White lavender can also be dried and processed [Photo: images72/ Shutterstock.com]

Ideal Location and Special Requirements

Similar to conventional lavender varieties, ‘Nana Alba’ thrives in dry locations with well-drained soil, moderate nutrient supply, and abundant sunlight. It’s crucial to avoid waterlogging, necessitating sparing water application.

For planting companions, opt for species that flourish in Mediterranean regions while ensuring they don’t overcrowd ‘Nana Alba.’ Low thyme varieties (Thymus sp.), oregano (Origanum vulgare), and the slow-growing rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) make excellent choices.

Buying White Lavender

When purchasing white lavender, pay close attention to the botanical name Lavandula angustifolia. Many white “lavender varieties” present in the market are hybrids of lavandin (Lavandula x intermedia), which are not frost-hardy and exhibit vigorous growth.

Bee pollinating white lavender flowers
Cross-pollination threatens the occurrence of white lavender [Photo: Poopee/ Shutterstock.com]

Propagation through cuttings is possible in home gardens to preserve the unique white flowers. Natural crossbreeding of purple lavender varieties by insects can cause seedlings to lose their distinct color and compact growth.

While white lavender stands out for its exceptional beauty, numerous other species and varieties of lavender possess equally enchanting appearances and captivating scents. Differentiating between the most common types of lavender requires careful consideration.

Experience the allure of white lavender, enjoy its delightful fragrance, and savor the beauty it brings to your garden.

For more information and a wide selection of lavender varieties, visit Ames Farm Center.