The terms cultivar and variety are both associated with the scientific names of plants and both terms refer to a hybrid plant. A cultivar is a hybrid created or cultivated in a lab or otherwise by humans and is not necessarily considered true to type. A variety is a naturally occurring hybrid or cross and most varieties are considered true to type, i.e. seedlings will have the same unique characteristics as parent plants.
In the context of this blog I’ll use the terms as follows:
- A cultivar was basically created in a lab
- A variety was basically created in nature
Updated October 23, 2017: changed use of the word “varietal” to “variety” after reading this article