A very common questions I get is what kind should I buy, and my answer is always, English Lavender. "French" or professionally named X intermedia is that traditional smell that most people say remind them of France.
But do you know what France climate is? Mediterranean. Do you know what climate Ontario is? Crap. Our winters are harsh and some years we have seen a drop of -25 celsius after a rain storm. Why do we live in a place where the air hurts our face? The "French" Lavender have the same thought and would rather not participate.
But if you are stubborn like we are, there are some ways to attempt to prevent all that drama in the spring. We cover with biodegradable plastic bags. We cut a hole in the corner of the bags for airflow and tie the handles around the base. Most lavender farms use tarps that may or may not work better. Being in the windiest location in Southern Ontario (which is why we have the windmills behind us), we do not have the luxury to attempt tarps unless we want to spend our days chasing them.
With that said, English Lavender is beautiful and the colour of the flower is bluer and much prettier than the "French". It is a smaller plant and their are many kinds. Folgate is our favourite with a second to Royal Velvet. There are so many to choose from, but whatever you do, do not buy the Spanish Lavender. Nothing against the Spanish, that is for another post.
There are so many types of lavender, and with that different types of purning. If you know what kind of lavender plant you have it will make it easier.
However a general homeowner plant should be pruned twice. Start in the spring in late May or early June before any buds show on your plants. With a pair of sharp clippers, trim the tops of the plant that are soft leaves only. You do not want to cut into the woody part of the plant. Shape your lavender plant like a round soccer ball if you can.
The second time to trim your lavender and the most important time is in the late summer, end of August. Trim off all the flowering stems. This will protect your lavender plant over the winter and put energy into the roots for regrowth the following year.
Emily Rozema: Owner, Grower, Entrepreneur