Lavender “Provence” (Lavandula x Intermedia) is an evergreen perennial sub-shrub. It is among the most durable and adaptable varieties of lavender that can thrive in both cold and hot climates. It can even tolerate humidity.
Lavender ‘Provence’ is an aroma as well as an oil which is widely valued and is grown commercially. It is a wonderful addition to gardens that receive the sun shining in and thrives on the absence of.
Continue reading to learn some growing tips and the best ways to cultivate lavender ‘Provence’ to ensure that it emits a strong scent from the foliage and has the best blooms…
Where do Lavender “Provence” grow?
Lavender “Provence” is a hybrid plant named in honor of the famed Provence region in France in which lavender is grown commercially on a an enormous scale.
While the lavender is named in honor of an area in France it isn’t actually an actual species of French lavender, but more of a hybrid between the English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and Portuguese lavender (Lavandula latifolia).
So ‘Provence’ is a good choice for those who want the characteristic cold-hardy qualities that are typical of English lavender (as as well as the highly appreciated scent) and the longer blooming season of the Portuguese lavender.
This implies that “Provence” is an extremely adaptable variety that can thrive in a variety of environments and still show flowers and emit a sweet scent.
The Lavender “Provence” can be found in warmer, colder climates like Washington, Oregon, as in the UK which experience freezing temperatures in winter, and snow as well as ice . They can live for a long time (hardy within USDA zone 5-9).
But due to their Portuguese heritage, they are also able to thrive in dry climates that have frequent rainfall, high temperatures and mild winters.
Lavender “Provence” can be tolerant of humidity, that is not typical for lavenders.
All lavenders require well-drained soil and frequent watering, however in colder climates that have more rainfall or more humidity the soil’s drainage is essential for the growth of “Provence”.
All lavenders require full sunlight because this boosts blooms as well as the intensity of scent. They are not able to thrive in shade.
When Does Lavender ‘Provence’ Bloom?
Lavender ‘Provence’ usually begins blooming in June , which has a similar appearance to the English lavenders. But ‘Provence’ blooms for longer than English lavenders (if you regularly deadhead them).
If you have the right climate and growing conditions the lavender ‘Provence’ plant can flower into the fall with a variety of blooms.
This variety was specifically cultivated to extract its fragrance and oil within the field of France which is why it has a distinct scent from the flowers and foliage that float through the garden on a hot summer day.
What Size Do Lavender “Provence” Grow To?
Lavender “Provence” is a bigger lavender variety that can reach an average height of 36 inches and an overall width of 32 inches.
It typically takes two or three years to reach its maximum size. The size of ‘Provence’ will depend on the conditions and the climate and those that are properly cared for growing bigger.
The Lavender “Provence” also expands in the climates are Mediterranean and colder climates, however it can still grow to the same size when taken care of and full sun.
How to Care for Lavender ‘Provence’
Lavender “Provence” is a robust, adaptable variety that is able to thrive in a variety of climates.
All lavender species are cultivated within the Mediterrean region of Europe and, while they don’t necessarily need the extreme temperatures of Southern Europe, ‘Provence’ requires the same conditions for soil and watering.
To grow “Provence” successfully in your garden , you’ll have to mimic some of the conditions found in the Mediterranean to ensure that the plant stays well-nourished and free of problems like root rot.
Lavenders in Provence require these soil requirements in order to flourish:
- Sand that drains well
- Low to medium-sized nutrients
- Porous, friable soil texture
- Soil pH between 6.5 to 8
The South of Europe lavender thrives in sandy, poor soils which are typically alkaline.
The lavenders are specially been adapted to these conditions and “Provence” will show the highest number of blooms and more intense aromas under these conditions.
When you plant ‘Provence’, amend the soil using approximately 1/3 of horticultural sand, or grit, and 2/3 compost.
This can help recreate the low-to-medium nutrient conditions that lavender likes and also increase the drainage.
Lavender are not tolerant of consistently moist soils, as it can cause fungal or root rot disease which is why it is important to have drainage of the soil.
Sand also provides greater oxygen levels in the soil to aid the root to breathe.
Do not plant “Provence” in soil that is high in nutrients, or amended with manure (which is rich in Nitrogen) or apply a second fertilizer since this can stimulate growth of the foliage and will harm flowers, and the scent is not as strong.
The soils that are overly rich can cause the lavenders to drop and nitrogen levels that are too high could cause leaves to change color to yellow.
If the soil you are in is draining slowly and boggy, or excessively acidic then it’s a good idea to plant “Provence” in pots or containers since you will have more control over the soil’s profile.
(For more details, read my guide on how to create the perfect mixture of soil for the lavender).
The soil that is very acidic can be amended with horticultural lime purchased at the garden center, which increases the pH to the point that it becomes alkaline.
(For more details on measuring the pH of soil and how to grow lavender in soil that is acidic, check out my article about lavenders in soil that is acidic).
Since lavender ‘Provence’ is grown for commercial purposes throughout the South of France it is crucial to replicate the conditions for watering in the region.
- Established lavender needs very little irrigation. It is recommended to water once every two weeks in hot weather , or when you plant in pots. If planted in warmer regions with more rainfall “Provence” usually doesn’t require additional watering.
- After being planted for the first time”Provence” requires frequent watering to prevent transplant shock while the roots grow. After planting, water immediately and make sure to water every three or two days during one week. After a week you should water each day for the initial month. After one month, the roots have become more established, so reduce the frequency of watering to each two weeks.
- Don’t water during winter because this can create conditions that promote root decay.
Always give ‘Provence’ a good watering with a good amount of water because this helps the roots to grow and will make the plant drought-resistant.
Keep in mind that lavender is an Mediterranean plant, and there are many more issues due to over-watering than under watering.
The signs of an over-watered lavender include a drooping appearance, and leaves that are becoming brown. However, this could also be a consequence of soils that drain slowly, which is why you need to amend the soil by adding soil amendments or grit in order to aid in drainage.
If there’s been an excessive amount of rain or a lot of days with overcast skies, then you should not water for a further 2 weeks.
Pruning Lavender ‘Provence’
It is essential to trim “Provence” every year to improve the life span of the lavender and to prevent it from becoming into a woody.
The annual pruning encourages new stems to develop. Flowers are always displayed on fresh stems, therefore the more you can stimulate new growth, the more attractive the display of flowers.
Lavender ‘Provence’ is a good choice to be successfully pruned in the Springtime or in the fall.
I like to prune “Provence” in the spring (usually between March and April) because this encourages the growth of many new stems prior to the flowering season (which begins at the end of the month of June) as well as the lavender always has a lot of flowers.
But ‘Provence’ will show many flowers when it is pruned in the fall, so it’s up to you and what is best for your climate.
Always trim at minimum a third of the plant back, and aim to ensure that the lavender is in an oval shape, as this is able to withstand the effects of winter weather (such as ice and snow).
Do not cut the lavender to the woody base as the woody base of the plant isn’t very productive and doesn’t produce numerous new stems.
For a fantastic visual guide for pruning lavender, check out this YouTube video on pruning lavender:
How Far Apart to Plant
The distance to plant lavender Provence is crucial since “Provence” is a bigger lavender when it is fully grown.
Lavender “Provence” should be planted three feet away from each other. This gives the lavender room for airflow (to lower the chance of developing fungal diseases) and also ensures that the roots have sufficient space to grow in the soil, without needing to compete with each other for water and nutrients.
A distance of 3 feet assures that every plant gets enough light to ensure that they will bloom at their best , with a strong scent.
Lavender “Provence” is an excellent option for hedges as it is tolerant of some humidity that can occur in a more humid microclimate due to the higher number of plants.
Lavender ‘Provence’ has a long life of 15 years if it is given proper care. It is cold-hardy, so you will not need to replace frost or damaged plants as often are other less hardy lavenders.
Plant each lavender 2 feet apart, to create an unbroken hedge with no gaps. It could take as long as two years for ‘Provence to reach its full size to form an even hedge.
In colder climates that have shorter growing seasons, I suggest that you plant each lavender ‘Provence’ about 18 inches apart. The total size is usually dependent on the conditions of the garden as well as how warm the weather is during the summer.
(For more information read my article on spacing lavender for hedges).