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French Butterfly LavenderFrench Butterfly LavenderFrench Butterfly Lavender Plantspedunculata Papillon

French Butterfly Lavender Plants

Lavandula stoechas / pedunculata PapillonFeefo logo

The details

Lavandula stoechas / pedunculata Papillon

  • Colour: Purple
  • Height: 60cm
  • Scent: Strong, classic lavender
  • Flowering: Jun-Jul
  • Evergreen, grey-green aromatic foliage
  • Drought resistant
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Description

Lavandula stoechas / pedunculata: French Butterfly Lavender

3 MONTH ESTABLISHMENT GUARANTEE ONLY

Butterfly or Papillon lavender is a wonderful low hedging plant packed with highly perfumed mauve flowers in midsummer. The flowers, held on elegant, slender stems, are made up of fat little wine-coloured flowerheads topped with long mauve ‘wings’, which flutter in the breeze along with all the bees & butterflies they attract.
The grey-green evergreen foliage is strongly scented, and it's a smaller shrub than our other lavender varieties, up to just 60cm tall, ideal for tight spaces.

French lavender blooms earlier than its "English" angustifolia relatives, sometimes starting in May: if you deadhead it a little, you can extend its flowering into August, but June & July are its peak season.

Features

  • Colour: Purple-pink
  • Height: 60cm
  • Scent: Sweet, honeyed
  • Flowering: May/June to July/August
  • Evergreen, grey-green aromatic foliage
  • Drought resistant
  • Attractive to bees and butterflies

Growing French Lavender

It is classed as frost hardy, meaning it will withstand outdoor temperatures down to around -5C without damage, so it needs a sheltered spot, ideally against a south-facing wall. In colder regions, we recommend growing in pots that can be moved into shelter in winter, or preparing a system to cover them up in the depths of winter. Horticultural fleece is good for rows, and buckets with ventilation holes in them, or large pots, work for covering single plants. 

Plant in sharply drained soil and full sun. If your soil’s heavy, dig in lots of sharp sand & grit and make a ridge or raised bed, or save yourself the trouble and grow it in pots.
Prune immediately after flowering.

Planting Companions for Butterfly Lavender

All Lavender does well in pots, which have the free-draining soil it needs, and a group of them in terracotta pots of varying heights around a seated area has a simple and effective rhythm. It’s a classic path edging plant, where every time you brush past you’ll release a heavenly waft of perfume.

Combine it in sunny borders with other Mediterranean sun lovers such as thyme, rosemary, santolina, stachys and other later-flowering varieties of lavender, both purple and white, which will prolong the lavender season in your garden. It grey-green foliage will blend marvellously in a gravel garden.

Did you know?

To us Brits, this is French Lavender, probably because we have imported so much of it from the plantations of Provence down the years, and to an American it is Spanish Lavender, which is more accurate: its native range is Spain, North Africa and some other spots around the Mediterranean.

The wild species shows quite a bit of variation, leading to much scholarly squabbling over funding for naming it correctly in the eyes of other taxonomists (a taxonomist's only natural predators). One faction has it as Lavandula stoechas pedunculata, but the RHS seems to be siding with the distinct species faction and calling it Lavandula pedunculata pedunculata, in case you didn't hear them the first time (four other sub-species are recognised).

Popularly, it is called Butterfly or Papillon Lavender due to the ornamental "wings" topping the flowers. These are bracts (old books may refer to this species as Bract Lavender), and they’re edible as a colourful garnish on salads and desserts - use sparingly, as they are much more bitter than English lavender. 

Planting Instructions

How to plant French lavender

Choose a well drained spot with as much light as possible. Shelter from cold winds is better for this variety.

Improve the soil from the hole by removing roots, weeds, large stones and other rubbish and mixing in plenty of sharp sand or grit.

Position your lavender so its roots are spread out. 

Then backfill the hole with mixed soil and grit/sharp sand, firming it gently as you go. Water in thoroughly, and water well in the first year.

Deadhead. Prune in late summer, and again in early spring if necessary. Avoid cutting into woody stems.

Read more about growing lavender.