White lavender: characteristics & requirements at a glance


I studied horticultural sciences at university and in my free time you can find me in my own patch of land, growing anything with roots. I am particularly passionate about self-sufficiency and seasonal food.

Favourite fruit: quince, cornelian cherry and blueberries
Favourite vegetables: peas, tomatoes and garlic

When you think of lavender, the colours blue and purple immediately come to mind. But have you ever seen white lavender? Let us take a look at this novel species.

Purple and white lavender blooming
White lavender is an unusual sight [Photo: Edita Medeina/ Shutterstock.com]

Quite different from its brothers, white-flowering Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is fresh, brightening and versatile in window boxes and perennial beds. At first, the colour change occurred only by chance among the purple lavender varieties, but for some time now, finally, selected white-flowered varieties are available on the market. Below we present the variety ‘Nana Alba’.

White lavender: characteristics of Lavandula angustifolia ‘Nana Alba’

‘Nana Alba’ is one of the first stably white-flowering cultivars of Lavandula angustifolia and grows extremely compact and low to a height of about 35 cm. The variety is so excellent for planting in pots and balcony boxes or as undergrowth in perennial beds. However, due to its slow growth, ‘Nana Alba’ takes quite a long time to fully develop. The plant is frost hardy to -28 °C and is also compatible with other plants in association.

The amount of pigments, in the case of lavender the so-called anthocyanins, determines the colouration of the flowers. A high content results in a deep purple colour, a low content in pinkish variants. However, if no colourant is produced at all due to a genetic defect, the flower appears white, as in this case, while the scent and aroma remain completely unaffected. So you can also dry white lavender or use it in ointments and teas. And a white filled lavender bag is also something special. If the faded flower stems are cut off in August, the white lavender will form a second flower in early fall. It will thus delight us well into autumn with its graceful flower stalks.

Summary: White lavender characteristics

  • Very compact but low growth
  • Ideal as undergrowth
  • Extremely hardy
  • White flowers with typical lavender scent
Dried purple and white lavender
White lavender can also be dried and processed [Photo: images72/ Shutterstock.com]

Location and special requirements

Just like conventional lavender varieties, ‘Nana Alba’ requires rather drier sites with well-drained soil, only a moderate nutrient supply and a place in the sun. Waterlogging should be avoided at all costs so it should be watered only very sparingly.

Organic Herb & Seedling Compost, 20L
Organic Herb & Seedling Compost, 20L
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  • Perfect for herbs as well as sowing, propagating & transplanting
  • For aromatic herbs & healthy seedlings with strong roots
  • Peat-free & organic soil: CO2-saving composition

Ideal planting partners are those that are equally at home in Mediterranean areas, but do not crowd ‘Nana Alba’ too much. Low thyme varieties (Thymus sp.), oregano (Origanum vulgare), or the slow-growing rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) are excellent for this purpose.

Buying white lavender

When buying white lavender, be sure to pay attention to the botanical name Lavandula angustifolia, because many white “lavender varieties” in the trade are hybrids of lavandin (Lavandula x intermedia), which is not hardy in our country and grows much stronger.

Bee pollinating white lavender flowers
Cross-pollination threatens the occurrence of the white lavender [Photo: Poopee/ Shutterstock.com]

Propagation in the home garden is also possible via cuttings. This is essential to preserve the white flower because due to the natural crossbreeding of purple varieties by insects seedlings can lose their unique colour and compact growth.

There are several other species and varieties of lavender with an equally enchanting appearance and scent. We explain how to distinguish the most common types of lavender.