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By: Ilana Goldowitz Jimenez, Plant Scientist & Writer
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.
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 (0.5 to 1 m.) 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 a 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 (1 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.
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.
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Read more about Zone 9, 10 & 11
The first type is the hardiest, English Lavender, or Lavandula angustifolia. This is the true lavender, and generally produces flowers earlier, on shorter stems. The English lavender produces a slightly sweeter smelling flower with less camphor in its essential oils.
The second type of lavender that can grow in the zone 5 is a Lavandin X, a hybrid of Lavender angustifolia and the less hardy, more pungent, Lavandula spicata. This Lavandin X hybrid generally has taller flower stems and bigger plants and slightly later flowering plants. There is more camphor in the essential oil giving the oils and flowers a stronger, more pungent clean smell.
Both the above types have many varieties bred and selected for many qualities and uses. These are primarily dried sachet buds, dried stem flowers, culinary buds, essential oil extraction and some for simple beauty in the garden
Lavandula angustifolia 'Hidcote'