What variety of lavender is the hardiest, lasts the longest and is more disease resistant?


One of our garden areas was planted with lavender plants. They have all died off and we want to replant more lavender. Can you tell us what variety of lavender is the hardiest, lasts the longest and is most disease resistant?
Also , is there such as thing as using too much peat moss? We put down a lot of peat moss almost every year in the gardens. So far the gardens are great.


Jonathan Foster, Home Horticulture Outreach Professional

1. Re: lavender. I reached out to UMaine Associate Professor of Horticulture, Dr. Stephanie Burnett, who has experience running test trials here for lavender varieties. Her reply: “The hardiest lavender was ‘Munstead,’ but [we] would probably say that ‘Hidicote’ was the prettiest and worth losing a few to grow for the nice flowers. There’s also a relatively new introduction, ‘Phenomenal,’ that is supposed to be even more hardy than ‘Munstead’. I haven’t seen any formal research on this cultivar, but the growers who introduce it think it might be hardy to zone 5.” The University of Illinois Extension also mentions ‘Phenomenal’ as being highly disease resistant in their resource on lavender.

2. Re: peat moss in garden soil. Yes, you can overdo the peat moss and I wouldn’t recommend continuing to add it every year, although you should add an inch or so of high quality compost seasonally, instead. Peat moss is a common amendment to garden soils (particularly poorly-draining ones) and has several benefits–notably, and perhaps somewhat counter-intuitively, it both maintains soil moisture and improves drainage at the same time. However, if it ever dries out completely during drought conditions, high quantities can make the soil difficult to properly water as part of its drainage-improving nature is that peat moss sheds any moisture it isn’t actively hanging onto. In very high quantities, you might find some lowering of your soil pH or a loss of nutrition if it is displacing soil/other organic matter in the garden bed. You say everything looks good, so you’re probably just fine, but again I wouldn’t make it a regular amendment. You could also always get your soil tested through the UMaine Soil Analytical Lab to see where you stand on pH and soil nutrition.

Happy gardening.