Difference Between Lavender and Rosemary
By Marc Gordon - November 29, 2022

Some of the most popular herbs to cultivate in the garden are lavender and Rosemary. At first sight, Rosemary and lavender (technically called Lavandula) look quite similar, particularly before blossoming. They even survive in similar soil conditions. They are both perennial plants with evergreen foliage and thin, woody stems. Both plants have a strong fragrance, attract many pollinators, and may be used in aesthetic and food gardens. However, there are several distinctions between them.

Table Summary

Light green needle-like leaves and flowers bloom in the full summer on spikes.Deep green leaves start blooming starts in spring
Mild floral flavor for sweetnessStrong flavor for savoriness


Although some lavender varieties, like Rosemary, have needle-like leave, some have a hairy and oily surface. Lavender leaves are light green with blue or grey undertones. Rosemary leaves are needle-like and green. They can grow to be many inches tall and have a dark green top and a slightly lighter tint below. When touched, the smooth surface of such leaves exudes a pleasant perfume (their oil).

Rosemary plants produce tiny, delicate flowers that are often purple or deep blue when the two plants bloom in the summer. These are hidden among the foliage. Lavender flowers bloom on spikes with no leaves and stand above the foliage. These blooms are then clustered in these areas.

Lavender complements sweet dishes well, whereas Rosemary complements savory dishes better. There is also a culinary difference. Rosemary has a strong piney flavor that is sweet and aromatic compared to lavender. It also has a slightly bitter taste, particularly when eaten raw. Lavender leaves have a mild floral flavor with hints of wood and mint. The flowers are consumed for their delicate flavor. But while the Rosemary leaves are edible for seasoning meat dishes, only dried Lavender flower buds are used as an infusion for sweet drinks.

Lavender VS Rosemary

Rosemary is a fragrant, evergreen Mediterranean herb. It is used in cooking, as a perfume ingredient, and for its potential health benefits. Rosemary is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae. Lavender is a plant in the genus Lavandula, specifically Lavandula vera, grown for its mauve or blue flowers and as a source of fragrant essential oil.