This step by step guide shows how to grow lavender from seed giving you enough plants to make a mass planting of this beautiful, aromatic and hardy flower.
Lavender has soft grey green foliage with stunning spikes of blue flowers. Varieties range from English lavender suited to cooler climates to the hardy Italian varieties which thrive in hotter drier climates.
Some varieties are produced purely for their oil while others are great for dried flower arrangements. It will depend on what climate you live in and what purpose you have in mind for the flowers as to the variety you choose.
Collecting Lavender Seeds
The cheapest way to propagate lavender is to find a friend who has lavender plants in their garden. Not only will this save you money but you can see how that variety is coping in your local environment.
Pick the dried lavender flower heads then place in a container. Leave them in a warm windowsill to completely dry then rub the flowers between your fingers to dislodge the seeds.
Discard the flowers then store the seeds in an airtight container labelled with the contents and date collected. They will be viable for at least two years. See this guide to Collecting and Storing Lavender Seeds.
Propagating Lavender from Seed
You will achieve a higher rate of germination when the seed is placed in the fridge for 3 weeks before planting. They will germinate without these cold hours but only half as many will come up.
Tools and Materials Needed
- Pot and Saucer or Punnets
- Seed Raising Mix – Make your own with this guide.
- Spray Bottle
- Plastic Wrap
- Aged Manure or Compost
- Water Crystals (Optional) (Paid link)
- Shovel – This quality top rated shovel from Amazon has a lifetime warranty. (Paid link)
How to Grow Lavender from Seed
- Cool the Seeds
First place your container of lavender seeds in the fridge for three weeks prior to planting.
- Prepare the Pot
Prepare your pot or punnet by filling with seed raising mix to a half inch from the top. Water well then place in a saucer to hold any excess water. This will help to keep the soil moist.
- Sow the Seeds
Sprinkle the seeds over the top of the soil then sprinkle more seed raising mix over the seeds so they are just covered. Spritz the top with water with a spray bottle on a mist setting to moisten the top.
- Create a Humid Atmosphere
Cover the top of the pot with either plastic wrap or a small pane of glass to create a humid atmosphere then place in a warm sunny position.
- Germinate the Seeds
Lavender seeds can take from two weeks to a month to germinate depending on the weather. Remove the plastic when they germinate then thin out so there is an inch between each one.
- Seedling Care
Keep the seedlings moist but not waterlogged until they reach two inches (5cm) in height. They can then be transplanted to the garden.
- Choose Location then Prepare the Soil
Prepare the soil by digging in aged manure or compost. If you are experiencing drought conditions and are planting the lavenders in a hot position in the garden, they will benefit from including a handful of water crystals to the soil. See your product application rate for how much is recommended.
- Plant Out the Lavender Seedlings
Plant the lavenders 1 foot (30cm) apart for a hedge of lavender or up to 3 feet (90cm) apart if you would like to give them more room to spread out. Carefully pull apart the seedlings as the roots are intertwined. Lavenders tend to have one main root going straight down so they are not too difficult to pull apart.
- Mulch and Water
Place a layer of mulch around the plants to keep down the weeds and retain water then water the plants in well.
- Plant Care
Water the plants regularly. Lavenders don’t need a lot of fertilizer but they will produce stronger plants with a dose of liquid seaweed fertiliser once a month.
Some varieties of lavender will not flower until the second year so don’t be discouraged if you don’t see any in the first season. It is best to prune spent flowers to encourage more.
Alternatively, you can cut the flower stems just before they start to dry off then bind the ends together with string. Hang near your front door for a wonderful aroma as your friends and family walk into your home.
When the lavender flowers dry, they will release their seeds onto the ground. You may find new plants emerging near your existing plants. The new plants can be dug out with a trowel then placed in a pot until you either find a new place for it or gift the lavender plant to a friend.
How to Grow Lavender from Cuttings
Lavender plants can also be propagated from cuttings. This is an especially good way if you want to duplicate a hybrid plant. Hybrids may have different coloured blooms from a traditional lavender such as shades of pink.
Taking Lavender Cuttings
Take lavender cuttings in the spring and summer. Prepare your pot by filling with potting mix then moisten the soil. Make a hole in the centre with your finger an inch deep. With sharp pruners cut a 2-inch stem then remove the leaves on the bottom half.
Dip the cut end into cutting powder (paid link) then place in the pot. Gently firm down the soil then keep moist. You will know the cutting has taken when you see roots growing out of the bottom of the pot.
Do you need new pruners? For ease of use try these ratchet pruners. (Paid link)
Consider creating mass plantings of hardy plants such as lavender and rosemary to reduce the amount of lawn in your garden which takes more water.
Lavenders are wonderful plants for gardens experiencing dry conditions. They are easy to grow from seed and from cuttings which means it will cost you next to nothing to create a mass planting of this beautiful plant.
Now that you know how to grow lavender, are you looking to add to your Mediterranean garden? Try these guides to growing Rosemary, taking Geranium cuttings, propagating Scabiosa (Pincushion Flower) or taking Purple Heart cuttings.
For more information on growing your own food, preserving and everything to do with the home, try this Homesteading guide.
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