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Hidcote Lavender vs Munstead Lavender: 6 Key Differences

Both Hidcote and Munstead are types of English lavender known for their fragrant flowers and leaves.

The main difference is in their appearance. Hidcote lavender boasts darker, more densely packed flowers, giving it a rich look. On the other hand, Munstead lavender features lighter-colored flowers with a slightly more unkempt, shaggy appearance.

Hidcote Lavender vs Munstead Lavender

Hidcote Lavender and Munstead Lavender

Hidcote Lavender Munstead Lavender
Hardiness zone 5-9 5-9
Mature height 16-20” (40-50cm) 12” (30cm)
Mature width 20-24” (50-60cm) 18” (45cm)
Growth rate fast fast
Light exposure full sun full sun
Soil well-drained well-drained
Soil pH 6.5-8.0 6.5-8.0
Watering One time per 14 days in a drought One time per 14 days in a drought
Diseases fungus, root rot fungus, root rot
Pests insects insects

Flowers

The key difference between Hidcote and Munstead lavender lies in their flowering characteristics. Hidcote features tightly packed flower clusters, creating a more pronounced and dense floral display. In contrast, Munstead’s flower clusters are looser, leading to a more spread-out and voluminous appearance.

Color is another notable distinction. Hidcote lavender boasts a vibrant purple-blue hue, making it visually striking. Munstead, however, has a pinkish-blue color that is somewhat paler in comparison.

Due to its compact flower clusters and vivid color, Hidcote tends to stand out more when in bloom. Munstead, with its lighter color and looser clusters, doesn’t quite match the floral impact of Hidcote.

Size

Munstead lavender is the smaller of the two, typically reaching a height of 12 inches and a width of 18 inches. It’s known for its compact size, making it ideal for pot growth, which is why it’s also called Munstead Dwarf.

In contrast, Hidcote lavender is about 50% larger. Under ideal conditions, it can grow up to 20 inches tall, but in most U.S. gardens, it usually reaches about 18 inches in height and 20 inches in width.

Given its larger size, Hidcote is a preferred choice for creating low hedges, as it grows relatively quickly and achieves a suitable height for forming barriers.

Hidcote’s larger size also makes it more commonly used in commercial cultivation. Its ability to yield more and its profitability are key reasons for this preference.

Blooming

English lavenders, known for blooming earlier than French varieties, also differ in their flowering times among themselves. Hidcote typically blooms first, especially in a warm spring, flowering from mid-May to mid-July. However, if the weather is cooler, its bloom may start in early June.

Munstead, in contrast, usually starts blooming around early to mid-July, which is about ten days later than Hidcote.

One consideration with these earlier blooming times is the risk of late frosts, which can damage the plants. Such frosts can occur in some states as late as the second half of May. Therefore, if you live in the northern parts of the U.S., this is an important factor to consider when choosing your lavender variety.

Heat Tolerance

Both Hidcote and Munstead lavenders thrive in USDA zones 5 through 9. However, during particularly hot summers, even these sun-loving plants can experience stress. Hidcote is especially prone to this and may even show signs of burning in the extreme heat of zone 9.

Munstead, on the other hand, is often reported by gardeners to handle high temperatures and abundant sun without issues. Therefore, for those living in the hotter areas of zone 9, Munstead might be the better choice over Hidcote.

For those living in regions colder than zone 5, growing these lavenders outdoors year-round isn’t feasible. Instead, they can be cultivated in pots and brought indoors to protect them from the winter cold.

Origin

Hidcote and Munstead lavenders, although both belonging to the Lavandula angustifolia species, have distinct origins.

Hidcote was developed in Britain in the early 20th century by Lawrence Johnston. Initially a military man, Johnston later gained fame as a horticulturist. Hidcote has several forms, each with unique characteristics, which we can explore further.

Munstead also has its roots in the United Kingdom, thanks to Gertrude Jekyll. She introduced this cultivar in 1916. Renowned for its exceptional qualities, Munstead was honored with a royal award. It’s also known by another name, Munstead Blue.

Varieties

Hidcote lavender, also known as Hidcote Blue, is a medium-sized variety. Its creator successfully developed two additional types of this lavender.

The first one, Hidcote Superior, is more compact, reaching a height of about 13-14 inches. It’s similar in size to Munstead but features a more intense flower coloration, much like its “older brother” Hidcote.

The second type, Hidcote Giant, stands out due to its larger size. It can grow up to 35 inches in both height and width, making it significantly larger than both Munstead and the other Hidcote varieties. Its flowers are also notably more striking. This makes Hidcote Giant an ideal choice for a medium-height hedge.

In summary, Hidcote offers several different options in terms of size and appearance, while Munstead is available in only one form. Coupled with Hidcote’s more vibrant flowering, it often becomes the preferred choice for many gardeners.