How to Grow Munstead Lavender

Munstead lavender plant with purple and white blooms on thin stems

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Munstead lavender is a popular cultivar of the most widely-grown lavender species, English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia).  

Munstead lavender is highly popular for many reasons. It is compact and grows slowly, so it fits even into small gardens and can be grown in containers. It blooms earlier than other English lavenders and, unlike French lavender, it is cold-hardy. This means it can also be grown in areas where the thermometer falls below 32 degrees F.

Its sweet scent makes it one of the best lavenders for both potpourris and sachets as well as for cooking.

In short, if you want a multi-purpose culinary lavender that is hardy, fragrant, and attractive, Munstead is the way to go.

Botanical Name Lavandua angustifolia ‘Munstead’
Common Name Munstead lavender
Plant Type Herbaceous perennial
Mature Size 1 to 1.5 feet height, 1 to 1.5 feet width
Sun Exposure Full sun
Soil Type Sandy, well-drained
Soil pH Neutral (6.7 to 7.3)
Bloom Time  Summer
Flower Color Blue, lavender, purple
Hardiness Zones 5-9
Native Area Mediterranean (France, Italy, Spain)
Toxicity Toxic for cats and dogs

Munstead Lavender Care

Other than weeding around the plant and regularly pruning it, there is not much maintenance to be done once Munstead lavender is established.

Like all lavenders, though, it is not a long-lived plant. You will need to replant it after a few years. Lavender’s popularity is growing and it is easy to find at nurseries.

Munstead lavender plant with small purple blooms on thin stems closeup

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Munstead lavender plant with long thin stems and small purple and light purple blooms in sunlight

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Munstead lavender with bright purple blooms on thin stems closeup

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Light

As a native of the Mediterranean, English lavender needs full sun. Insufficient sun makes it leggy and leads to reduced flowering. In warmer climates, some afternoon shade is acceptable.

Soil

Ideally, lavender must be grown in sandy soil, or one that is not too rich and provides excellent drainage, such as shallow rocky soil. Avoid any soil that is damp or, even worse, soggy.

Water

Munstead lavender is fairly drought-tolerant once established. After you plant it, keep the soil evenly moist during the first growing season by watering it regularly. After that, there is generally no need to water the plant. The only exception is if there is a drought during the time when the flower buds form. Water as needed so the buds won’t shrivel and the blooms can develop to their full beauty. 

Because lavender is so sensitive to excess water, when mulching around it, the goal, unlike with most other plants, is not to keep the soil moist but the opposite. It is best to use rocks or gravel instead of mulch that absorbs water, such as bark mulch.

Temperature and Humidity

Lavender likes it warm but not overly hot, and it does not do well in humid climates. While Munstead lavender is hardy to USDA zones 5, it does not always make it through a very cold winter when temperatures fall below minus ten degrees F.

As a precaution, it is recommended that you either grow it in a container so you can bring it in during the winter, or take some root cuttings in the fall and grow them indoors, then replant in the garden in the spring.

Fertilizer

Lavender does not need fertilization. In fact, overly rich soil and fertilizer can kill the plant. 

Is Munstead Lavender Toxic?

Lavender contains linalool and linalyl acetate, substances that are toxic to cats and dogs. While a pet must consume a large amount to get sick, the concentrated form in lavender products is especially dangerous. Therefore, keep your stash of dried lavender out of your pet’s reach. The same applies to an electronic aromatherapy diffuser with lavender in it.

Symptoms of lavender poisoning include vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.

Propagating Munstead Lavender

To propagate from an existing plant, cut healthy shoots of about six inches in length. Remove the lower leaves and dip the cut ends in rooting hormone powder.

Plant the cuttings in a pot filled with potting soil and keep them well-watered in a partially shady location until you see new growth.

Cutting a healthy shoot for propagation
Cutting a healthy shoot for propagation Lex20 / Getty Images

Harvesting Munstead Lavender

To harvest your lavender, cut the stalks when only about half or one-third of the florets (the tiny flowers that form the flower head) have opened, and hang the stalks upside down to dry in a well-ventilated room. 

Growing Munstead Lavender in Containers

Growing lavender in a container is a good option because it’s a compact plant and you will have the freedom to move it around during the day following the sun. In cooler climates, you can also bring it indoors for the winter. 

Common Pests/Diseases

Root rot is by far the most common disease affecting lavender. It is caused by oomycetes which are fungus-like microorganisms. The disease occurs especially in cold and wet soils. It leads to wilting and/or yellow leaves that eventually die and discoloring of the root tissue. The way to prevent root rot is to avoid over-watering and plant Munstead lavender in soil with excellent drainage.