English lavender bears lavender-blue to dark purple flowers and aromatic, gray-to-silver foliage. Plants that resemble English lavender possess some or all of these traits. Although English lavender thrives in moderately fertile soil, it does not do well in extremely cold climates or humid conditions. Hardier plants that resemble English lavender but withstand these conditions are ideal alternatives to grow in the garden to evoke the English lavender feel and create a showy display.
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Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) is a woody perennial flower that features aromatic gray-to-green foliage, similar to English lavender. The finely dissected gray-to-green leaves grow along stiff, upright square stems. Russian sage bears two-lipped, blue flowers that are tubular and present themselves along branched, terminal, 12- to 15-inch-long panicles. Long-lasting Russian sage blooms from July until October and is better at surviving cooler temperatures than English Lavender. Russian sage grows best in full sun and well-drained soil. Grow Russian sage in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 5 to 9.
Purple Giant Hyssop
Purple giant hyssop (Agastache rugosa) bears short spikes of lavender-blue flowers that resemble those of English lavender. They too feature scented foliage, emitting a mint and licorice scent. Purple giant hyssop has the ability to tolerate more moisture and humidity than English lavender, making it a hardy alternative. It grows 4 feet tall and 18 inches wide, and has a moderate growth rate. It grows best in full sun and well-drained, moist soil. Grow purple giant hyssop in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 5 to 9.
Meadow sage (Salvia nemorosa Ostfriesland, or "east Friesland") mimics the deep purple shades of English lavender. It grows in a clumping form and is noted for its purple stems and violet-purple flowers. Meadow sage grows up to 1½ feet tall and has maximum spread of 1 foot. The aromatic, lance-shaped foliage grows up to 4 inches long. Like English lavender, the flowers on meadow sage attract butterflies to the garden and appear in June. Meadow sage grows best in full sun and well-drained soil that is moist. Hardy meadow sage tolerates drought and prefers gravelly or sandy soil. Like English lavender, meadow sage appreciates regular deadheading to promote a continued bloom. Grow meadow sage in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 4 to 8.