Lavenders come in a deceptively varied range of colours from the rich purple of Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’ to the dark lilac of Lavandula angustifolia Maillette and just about all shades in between. And, for even greater contrast, you can also choose white. Of the select few white varieties, Lavender Alba (Lavandula x intermedia ‘Alba’ ) has long been a favourite.
One of the oldest of the Lavandula Angustifolia cultivars, Lavender Alba has proven its reliability over many years. Like all Lavenders, Lavender Alba needs a sunny spot and well-drained soil and will tolerate drought (it prefers to find its own moisture), frost and the worst a coastal location can throw at it.
This is a strong, if slow-growing, Lavender and, with a full height (in flower) of around 1m, it needs its space. With just a little attention, it will grow into low-hugging domes up to 0.5m across, perfect for ground cover, low borders, hedging and edging. Lavender Alba can also be easily grown in a (larger) tub or as a specimen plant in a raised bed or border.
With Lavender Alba in your garden, you can extend the Lavender season until early autumn as it flowers from July right through to September. And what flowers they are – tall, erect and pure-white fragrant spikes that are a perfect foil for the elegant, grey-green foliage.
Lavender Alba is happiest in a neutral to alkaline soil but will tolerate acidic conditions. It’s more important to ensure good drainage as (like all Lavenders) it will not tolerate water-logging. Generally, Lavenders do not need fertilising but a sprinkling of potash will boost flowering. However, avoid feeds high in nitrogen (including manure) as this will go straight to the foliage and produce limp, droopy plants – a particular disadvantage for taller-growing varieties like Lavender Alba.
Fragrant, attractive and late-flowering, Lavender Alba brings brilliant white into the garden – just one of the many ways in which it justifies its inclusion.