How To Grow Lavender From Seed
Lavender is one of the most popular herbs and it has been a garden favorite for many centuries. A hedge of lavender in full bloom is delightful to see and you can grow your own lavender hedge for remarkably cheap if you grow the lavender from seed.
Lavender seed has been available for several years, but until recently, the lavender plants that came from one packet were variable in height and vigor. Growing lavender from newer seeds has overcome this problem and you can now expect a consistent number of plants that look the same which is ideal for a lavender hedge.
Types of Lavender
Lavender Lady was one of the first lavenders that came from seed easily, and it blooms well the first year. Traditional Provence and Lacy Frill, a pretty white lavender, also come from seed and unless you only want one or two plants. Growing lavender from seed is a great way to fill your perennial bed with refreshing fragrance and beautiful color.
Learn About Growing Lavender
Start the seed early and place the seed tray on a heat mat or in a warm location so that your lavender seeds germinate well. Rather than a traditional potting mix, use a very light mix or fine vermiculite that drains very quickly. The seedlings will germinate in about two weeks and will take a while to look like lavender. Make sure that the lavender seedlings get sufficient water, but do not let them stay damp, and place them in full sunlight for maximum health.
When your little lavenders have several sets of leaves on them, put them into their final location, but check them regularly to make sure they have not been knocked over by animals, or dislodged by rain. Once the lavenders are settled in the ground they will grow slowly the first year, but most of them will bloom, and by next year you will have a splendid supply of lavender to plant into a hedge or use as a colorful border for your perennial bed.
Lavender Seed Propagation – How To Plant Lavender Seeds
Growing lavender plants from seed can be a rewarding and fun way to add this fragrant herb to your garden. Lavender seeds are slow to germinate and plants grown from them may not flower in the first year, but if you’re patient and willing to put in the work, you can generate beautiful plants from seeds. Read on to learn about starting lavender from seed.
Germinating Lavender Seeds
The first step in lavender seed propagation is choosing a variety and germinating the seeds. Be aware that not all cultivars will come true when you propagate by seed. If you are determined to grow a particular cultivar, you’re better off using cuttings or divisions to get new plants. Some good varieties for starting by seed are Lavender Lady and Munstead.
It can take one to three months for lavender seeds to germinate, so start early and be patient. Also, be prepared to germinate them indoors. Lavender seeds will need warm temperatures, between 65 and 70 degrees F. (18-21 C.). If you don’t have a warm spot or a greenhouse, use a heat mat to keep your seeds warm enough.
How to Plant Lavender Seeds
Use shallow seed trays and just barely cover the seeds with soil. Use a light soil or a vermiculite blend. Keep the seeds moist but not overly wet. A sunny spot is a great location to keep the soil from getting too wet and to add warmth.
Your lavender seedlings will be ready to transplant once they have several leaves per plant. Your first year of growth will not be impressive, but by year two, expect to have large, blooming lavender. Starting lavender plants from seed is not difficult, but does require time, some patience, and a little extra space for your seed trays.
How to Grow Lavender
Lavender is a genus of the mint family, Lamacieae, that includes 47 species and a great many cultivars. The species name Lavandula is thought to derive from the Latin word lavare – “to wash,” and probably speaks to the plant’s use in soaps and perfumes. It is native to the temperate regions from Cape Verde to the Mediterranean and the Levant, and from north Africa to southeast India. It has been used for centuries as a medicinal and culinary plant, and also in cosmetics. Lavender’s leaves and flower buds are rich in fragrant oils, very similar to rosemary. The plant can be grown as a perennial in Zones 5-8, and as an annual in cooler climates. Continue reading below for some tips and tricks on how to grow lavender from seed.
Season & Zone
Season: Warm season
Exposure: Full sun
Lavender germinates most evenly if seeds can be collected in the autumn and sown on the surface of a seed tray with bottom heat maintaining 4-10°C (40-50°F). The seedlings are then overwintered in a cool greenhouse or cold frame with good ventilation. Seedlings can then be potted on as needed.
Another method is to start the seeds indoors in winter, planting a few seeds in a few pots with sterilized seed starting mix. Dampen the mix, press the seeds into the surface, insert the pots into plastic bags, and put them in the freezer for about a week. Let them come to room temperature on their own, and then use bottom heat as indicated above.
Avoid using a plastic lid or covering, as this will keep the soil more moist than needed. Barely cover the seed, as they germinates in 14-21 days in warm soil. Do not use a plastic lid or covering because this will make the surface of the soil too moist. If watering is necessary, water from below. If germination is low after 3-4 weeks, lower the temperature to 5-10°C (40-50°F) for 2 weeks, then raise it again. Pot up the tiny seedlings and grow them on in a protected greenhouse or windowsill to set into the garden in the spring.
Lavender prefers full sun and well drained, fertile soil. Trim plants back hard in spring, just as new growth starts – but never prune back into the woody part of the stems. This will give a rush of even growth for the first leaves and bloom. Cut back again in early autumn, but again – never into old wood.
Gather the flowers just as they open. Dry on open trays, or by hanging in small bunches. Pick the leaves anytime to use fresh, or if dehydrating lavender leaves, gather before flowering starts.