Lavender vs. Lavandin

Over the years I’ve come across all sorts of unjustified statements comparing these two species of lavender – Lavandula angustifolia (sometimes called “English” or “true” lavender) and Lavandula x intermedia (conveniently shortened to lavandin).

Curiously most English people have never heard of lavandin, whereas most French have – I will be interested to know what the situation is in the US, Australia, Canada. The purpose of this post is to clear up some of the differences.

Lavandin is simply another species of lavender – L. x intermedia is a sterile hybrid between L. Angustifolia and L. latifolia (Spike lavender). I think that a good analogy is a relationship between a horse (the Angustifolia) and a mule (the lavandin)!

As with L. Angustifolia, there are lots of varieties of lavandin, but a particularly common one for oil production is “Grosso”. Others for oil production are Super, Sussex, Soumian, Abrialis. Some of the differences between the two species are:

– As with our horse & mule, there are visual differences. The lavandin tends to be a larger plant with longer, larger, more pointed flower spikes. You often get lateral shoots up the stems with additional, smaller flower spikes. The lavandin generally flowers later than the Angustifolia.

– Being a different species it is no surprise that lavandin oil is different from L.angustifolia oil. There is much in common but one key difference is that lavandin typically contains about 7-ish % of camphor. Camphor has a strong, penetrating scent and gives the lavandin a bit more of a gutsy, medicinal scent, and is certainly less refined, less sweet-floral than the Angustifolia oil. Some people prefer it, but most don’t. I suppose that this fragrance difference is one reason why people “look down their nose” at lavandin – in some ways similar to our horse/mule analogy! I have recently read about lavandin oil causing burns to the skin because of the camphor. I have to say that I have never heard this before and an internet search of the properties of camphor did not reveal any particular risk of burns, though it does give a “cooling effect” that makes the skin tingle.

– Lavandin produces more oil than angustifolia. The same weight of lavandin flowers as L.angustifolia flowers (from roughly the same acreage and roughly the same amount of work) produces three times more lavandin oil. It is, therefore, no surprise that lavandin oil is much cheaper. In many people’s eyes cheaper = poorer quality. It isn’t. It’s just a different quality. Because it is cheaper, lavandin does tend to be used by perfumers in cheaper perfumes (soaps, detergents, air fresheners etc), because they can afford to use it in those sorts of perfumes. This again rather lowers the perceived “quality” of the oil.

In my opinion, it is much more sensible to consider lavandin as a different oil, rather than compared it to the oil from L.angustifolia. In the garden, lavandin has its own special look – it is great for the back of the border, standing above the Angustifolia, and extending the flowering display to later on in the summer.

It is true that L.angustifolia is the most commonly used type of oil in aromatherapy and most books on the subject devote considerable page space to its properties, whereas lavandin is lucky to get a mention. However, it does have its own properties. If you have a cold, I would suggest that the camphor in the lavandin would help clear your nose better. I would suggest that lavandin is a better insect repellent (moths, mozzies, carpet beetles, ants). I personally find lavandin better in a burner to freshen the atmosphere in a room. The point is that lavandin is not a substitute for Angustifolia. It has its own unique properties and is no less valid in the toolbox of a therapist than L.angustifolia.

As well as L.angustifolia, lavandin is also subject to the attention of the essential oil traders in blending in synthetics – see my previous blog Lavender oil: sometimes all is not quite what it seems for more info. Lavandin itself is quite cheap, so there is not much need to blend for the sake of a cheaper lavandin, but what does happen is that lavandin is taken as a base fragrance, and synthetics are blended in to make it smell more like an Angustifolia oil. Possibly this can be done well enough to pass the blend off as an L.angustifolia oil. As I’ve said before, this is fine when kept within the perfumery industry, for a perfumer’s needs but I have no doubt that sometimes these blends make their way, through crookery or ignorance, into small bottles labelled lavender oil, and pretending to be L.angustifolia oil. For the “person on the street” this creates an awkward situation – how do you know what you are buying? Well, there are some rules that reduce the risk. Read my Lavender oil: sometimes all is not quite what it seems blog for my top 5 tips for buying the right quality of lavender oil. These tips apply just as much to lavandin oil as to Angustifolia.

At the Jersey Lavender Farm, we grow both L.angustifolia (5 varieties) and lavandin (Grosso). During the summer the lavender flower crop is harvested and steam distilled to extract the oil. After maturing, the oil is used to make our own range of fragrant products. Pure lavender oils are available to purchase for you to use at home. We also have some excellent lavender books that detail creative and therapeutic ways of using lavender.

Jersey Lavender Farm Shop



Lavender oil is in the Nose of the Beholder.

Here at Carshalton Lavender (Heritage Field) we grow and distill the original genus belived to have been originaly grown in the Mitcham / Carshalton areas. I believe and have been told by aromatherapists it is a superb quality oil. The old timers that grew these crops at the peak of the industry knew a thing or two. I always recomend oils that are distilled at source (so there is no possibility of adulteration with terpentine or other bulk oils).
I have never know Lavender oils to’Burn’ the skin. In fact I belive it is one of the few oils that can be used without a carrier ( I tend to pour it on to cure all ills). I found this year was excellent for yield due to the warm dry season. It now rests under a blanket of snow (along with the Rosemay Beetle).

Growing Vegetables

Thank you for this very informative post, I must admit as per your post that I had never heard of lavandin before today. I wonder if it would do better tahn my “English” lavender that seems not to want to grow


Both “English” lavender and the lavandin need similar conditions – free draining soil (they hate clay, and “wet feet”!), preferably slightly alkali, full sun. They don’t mind the cold too much. Lavandin grows taller than the “English” lavender, and flowers later. Check out the growing tips on our Looking after your lavenders page –

Rhonda Daniels

What a great post! I am in the USA and have a hard time keeping lavenders happy in our region. We alternate between frozen, or cold and wet to hot and incredibly humid with clay soils to boot. We’ve found over the years that they seem happiest here when grown in containers and tubs. I do envy you your fields 😉


Nice post, thanks. Personally, I love both lavender and lavandin essential oils, and I’ve found that using a combination of the two in some scent blends produces a fragrance that is more interesting than one using only lavender or lavandin. The floral/herbal sweetness of the lavender is retained yet enhanced and brightened with a pleasing “edge” provided by the lavandin. My customers agree: in a blind “sniff test,” four out of five preferred the combination of both to the same blend using only lavender.


Here in Ukraine we grow (what I am told is) a hybrid of lavender and rosemary. The plant appears to be more hardy than either species alone and can (sometimes!) tolerate our cold winters.

Do you know if this hybrid is common and does it have a name?


No such hybrid of rosemary and lavender exists. Whatever it is in the Ukraine is NOT a hybrid of any lavender and rosemary. So no… not common and no name!

Natasha Ryz

Interesting post! Nice, clear explanation about differences and benefits of both Lavender and Lavandin. I’ve often overlooked Lavandin, thinking it was just a cheaper version of Lavender. You have changed my mind! I will definitely try some- any ideas of what other essential oils it blends well with? I think it would work well in a pain blend, since it has the extra kick of the camphor. Thanks for info!


Thanks for this useful article! I live in Paris and I see all the time the “cheap” version ..
Now I know the differences which is actually.. No difference 🙂
Both are plants and natural

Jersey Lavender

True .. Both are plants and natural … but they are different. One sniff and you will know that. They therefore contain a different mixture of natural aroma-chemicals that leads to different uses.


Thank you for the fine article, explains a lot. Just one small correction, nothing to do with lavender, but, the equine cross you are are referring to is horse and jackass, which produces a hybrid-sterile mule. Just a a FYI.


Actually, jackass is American terminology. Here in the UK it’s called a donkey.


Thanks for sharing. It helps a lot when I’m confusing with different name relates to lavender product.

I’ve got one question: since lavender oil(actually I don’t know which it refers to) somehow helps scar removal (not those from surgery but scars of scratch, which only resulted in even colour but not damage to the tissue ), is there any difference between using lavender oil and lavendin?


Jersey Lavender

I don’t have personal experience of this but many have said to me the the Lavandula angustifolia helps wounds heal with out the formation of scar tissue, not just scratches. It deoas tend to be this type of lavender oil used topically and for health purposes.


I’ve been wondering whether to try blending lavender and lavandin essential oils to make a soap that might appeal to both male and female members of my family. Could this work well, and if so, what proportions would you suggest?

Jersey Lavender

I’m not sure that male/female preference is so clearly defined that a blend is required to appeal to both. Also bear in mind that pure lavender oils don’t seem (in my experience) to work that well in soap. The fragrance struggles to lift strongly. The Lavandin will have more “punch” though. Much depends on the type of soap and production process.


I’ve been told by a large producer in the south of France that true lavender only grows above a certain height
Altitude. Everything else is lavendin. They make a big thing of this difference. I suspect it is a marketing ploy.
What do you think?

Jersey Lavender

It is true that in France the lavande is at higher altitude and the lavandin is lower. Clearly, if you look at other lavender farms in the world, this difference in altitude is not a requirement for the lavande or lavandin to grow successfully. So in some sense it is a marketing ploy. The altitude may have subtle effects on the quality of oil. If so, I don’t believe that these effects are “celebrated” in the way that they used to, and now good quality lavender oil is seen as coming from all sorts of other countries in Europe, particularly Hungary.

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