Growing lavender from seed

Lavender: Growing Tips and Planting Instructions

Lavender is such a joy in garden and home that every gardener should grow at least a containerful, and the lucky among us will be able to blanket driveways, sunny borders, and meadows with this fabulous herb. Popular since ancient times (it was used in the mummification process by the ancient Egyptians, and scented the Greek and Roman baths), it is used as a seasoning, fragrance, and home remedy, among many other things.

Lavender is not the easiest herb to grow. It needs exceptionally good drainage and prefers light, dry soils in low-humidity climates. But with the range of available varieties on the market today, you can find a Lavender that suits your climate, your soil, and your gardening style!

Choosing a Variety

With nearly 40 species and countless exciting varieties within those species, Lavandula is treasure-trove of possibilities for the gardener. Here are just two of the most popular species for American gardens:

Lavandula angustifolia, the beloved English Lavender, is renowned both for its flowers and foliage fragrance. It is used in cuisine and potpourri, besides as a spectacular fresh or dried cutflower. Among the classic cultivars are Munstead and Hidcote Blue.

Lavandula stoechas, Spanish (formerly French) Lavender, blooms earlier than its English cousin and sports a different bloom form as well as fragrance type. The flowerstalks are topped with several large, wing-like bracts known as “rabbit ears,” very showy in garden or vase. The scent is more pine-like than sweet. To try a superb L. stoechas for containers or small spaces, give Sancho Panza a whirl.

When to Start Lavender Seeds

Lavender can be sown indoors in late winter or outdoors in early spring or late fall. Wherever it is sown, it will germinate in about 15 to 20 days.

How to Start Lavender Seeds

Indoors, place one seed in each bio sponge of your Bio Dome or, if you are using a seed flat, on top of the starting medium (the seeds need light to germinate). Best results are when temperatures alternate between about 55 and 72 degrees F.

Outdoors, scatter the seeds onto the soil and then cover with a row protector or very light sprinkling of soil.

Lavender can also be started from cuttings. Dip the cut end of the stem into a rooting hormone and pot it up in a sterile soil-less medium. Keep the cutting away from full sun until it has rooted.

Transplanting Lavender Plants

Lavender seedlings are ready to transplant when they have at least two sets of true leaves. Space the plants 12 inches apart in full sun in a neutral to alkaline, light, rich, sandy, well-drained soil. Drainage is critical for Lavender’s success.

Special Considerations

To dry Lavender, just stand your cut stems in a dry vase, or harvest the flower spikes when the buds just begin to open and hang them upside down by their stems in a shady, cool, dry location.

Growing Tips for Lavender Plants

  • Growing Lavender in a lean soil will encourage a higher concentration of oils. An alkaline and especially chalky soil will enhance Lavender’s fragrance.
  • Prune your Lavender plants in early spring to keep them from looking ragged. This will also improve their branching ability.
  • Keep in mind that although Lavender has a large, spreading root system, it prefers growing in a tight spot. If you are growing your plants in containers, select those that are just a few inches larger in diameter than the rootball. Too large a pot will only encourage excessive dampness.

Pests and Problems to Watch For

The enemies of Lavender in the garden are moisture and heavy soils. Humid, damp summer weather can cause the plants to rot.

View All Know Before You Grow Topics

There’s something totally charming about lavender. The vibrant purple flowers, the calming scent, and the DIY crafting and cooking potential. But you don’t have to have a huge amount of space to grow this fragrant herb. Sure, while many gardeners use it as a living border for their garden or a decorative shrub, you can also grow it in a pot — and it’s insanely simple. Here’s how:

Growing Lavender From Cuttings or Seeds

First, decide if you’re going to grow your lavender from seeds or cuttings. Both have their advantages. If you already have lavender plants, or know someone who does, growing from cuttings is a fast way to get lavender that looks just like the parent plant. Here’s a basic guide to planting lavender from cuttings.

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If you don’t already have a lavender plant, you can feel good about planting lavender seeds, which is a great way to grow a whole lot of lavender inexpensively. Not long ago, seeds from the same packet would often yield plants of variable height and strength, but now, you can expect a consistent number of plants that look very similar. You can find lavender seeds through a reputable online retailer like Burpee.

In a warm location (about 70 degrees), start your seeds in a seed tray with a very light soil mix or fine vermiculite that drains quickly. The seeds will sprout in about two weeks, at which point you should place seedlings in full sunlight. Water your seedlings, but don’t let them stay damp as this can lead to mildew growth. When your lavender plants have leaves, you can plant them in their final pots.

Planting Lavender in the Right Pot

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Before you transplant your lavender seedlings, or plant your lavender cuttings, make sure you have the right type of pot. Plant lavender in a container made from a material that breathes, such as terra cotta. Repot to a larger container every spring to allow the plant to reach its full blooming and growth potential.

Load your pot with a sterile potting mix, or try this one from V. J. Billings, owner of Mountain Valley Growers organic nursery: Mix approximately 60% peat moss with 40% perlite, with a couple of handfuls of homemade compost thrown in. If you don’t add compost when you pot, you’ll need to fertilize every three weeks or so with a diluted fish or seaweed emulsion.

Once your lavender is settled into its final location, it will likely grow slowly in the first year, but most plants will still bloom. Year two and beyond, expect greater growth and bigger blooms.

How to Dry Lavender

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Many uses for lavender call for the dried version of the herb. Here are the simple steps you need to follow to dry your own lavender.

  1. Harvest stems when you see the first couple of blossoms have opened.
  2. Avoid mildew by harvesting on a dry, sunny day after the dew has dried but before the sun is blazing.
  3. Cut each stem back to the first set of leaves.
  4. Make a bundle of about 50 stems and secure it with a rubber band.
  5. Hang them upside down in a dry, cool, place out of direct sun. They’ll be ready to use in about a month.

The English lavender varieties we offer are variants of the species L. angustifolia. Lavandula stoechas is commonly known as Spanish lavender, and L. dentata is often referred to as French lavender. These nationality-based categories are more confusing than helpful. It’s best to know the specific variety you are looking for and track it down that way. We love all of the varieties. Comforting, beautiful to look at. Plant some of each variety for fresh lavender all season long. Follow this handy How to Grow Lavender from seeds guide.

Latin
Lavandula sp.
Family: Lamiaceae

Difficulty
Moderately difficult

Season & Zone
Season: Warm season
Exposure: Full sun
Zone: Perennial in Zones 5-8. Grow as an annual north of Zone 5.

Timing
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 February 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 your freezer for 2-7 days. Let them come to room temperature on their own, and then use bottom heat as indicated above.

Starting
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.

Growing
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.

Harvest
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 you’re dehydrating lavender leaves, gather before flowering starts.

How to Grow Lavender from Seed

March 14, 2019 1:35 pm

By: Stephanie Rose

Harvest and tie lavender bundles for drying. They dry best if hung in a cool, dry place.

Lavender (Lavandula spp.) is a wonderful addition to any garden because it can be used as a culinary herb, a fragrant cut flower, a crafting material, or a natural-beauty ingredient. It even feeds bees! With lavender, the possibilities are endless. There are so many interesting species and varieties to try that it’s worth starting some of your lavenders by seed to get a large number of unique cultivars for the price of the seed packets, planting mix, pots, and a little time.

Lavenders are short-lived shrubby perennials, so be sure to propagate a selection of plants to replace those that have become too woody or that have succumbed to winter freeze. Then tuck the newer plants in between the older ones so they can eventually fill in space. Lavenders are such attractive, low maintenance landscaping plants when planted in swaths or hedges, and growing them from seeds makes this a much more economical endeavor.

For many years I was told that lavender was better propagated from cuttings, so I avoided seeding my own plants. When they started seeding themselves around my garden, I called hogwash on that theory and picked up some different seed varieties to try. As with all perennials, they can take a bit longer to germinate and be ready for transplant. Start them in late winter, under lights, and on heat, and you should get fair-sized transplants by the beginning of the summer. And in my experience, a neat and tidy lavender plant from seed is a great way to start. I love the way lavender plants grow delicate new stems from seed that set the tone and shape for the plant.

Another common complaint is that lavender seed doesn’t grow true-to-variety from collected seed and some purchased seed, resulting in plants with varying heights, sizes, and colors. Certainly, if you are looking for exact replicas of varieties this could be frustrating, but in most cases, it would be more of a landscape feature to have slight variations in a planting. In any case, seed companies work tirelessly to ensure that their seeds will grow uniformly, so when in doubt, be sure to check your seed source for any warnings about a variety.

Is Cold Stratification Necessary?

Lavender seeds can be purchased or collected in the garden.

Cold stratification is a process required for some seeds. After sowing, a cold period and then a warm period is required to break dormancy and allow germination. Some gardeners suggest cold-stratifying lavender seeds by placing them in moist soil in a cold greenhouse or refrigerator for two to seven weeks before moving them onto heat. If you are having difficulties in germination, you could consider this option, but I have had great success with germination by simply planting the seeds in trays and placing them on heat mats. The key seems to be to use the freshest seeds possible from a trusted seed supplier.

Now that is all out of the way, let’s start some lavender from seed, shall we?

Sowing Lavender Seeds Indoors

Always choose a sterile soil mix intended for seed starting. Black Gold®Seedling Mix is OMRI Listed® for organic gardening and is fine and easy to wet. Moisten the soil with a little water, and then fill a seed-starting tray with the damp soil mix. Sow lavender seeds on top of the soil and do not cover them. Add a clear dome greenhouse lid to the seed-starting tray to prevent drying out. Be sure that the lid has ventilation holes, and lift it once or twice a day to refresh the air.

Watering

If grown with good light, lavender plantlets will be full and robust.

Keep the soil lightly damp. Use a mister bottle to water as opposed to pouring water over the seeds. You can also bottom water pots and allow the soil to wick the moisture to the seeds. Mist often and check the soil regularly. Once your seeds have begun to sprout, continue bottom watering to keep the soil moderately damp, never wet.

Give Them Light

In order to germinate properly, lavender seeds will need a bit more than just natural light. There is much debate on whether or not expensive grow lights, with a high light spectrum, are needed for indoor seed starting, but I have always found that it’s not the cost of the bulbs that make the difference, but the distance away from the seedlings. Use adjustable chains to hang the grow light and position it as close to the seedlings as possible. As the seedlings grow, raise the light to be an inch above the tops of the seedlings. Light that is too far away doesn’t have the intensity to signal healthy growth and causes seedlings to become leggy.

Transplant the Seedlings

Upgrade lavender plants into larger pots as they grow, so they will be fair-sized at planting time.

After six to eight weeks of growth, transplant the seedlings into indoor pots and let them continue growing until they are ready to move out to the greenhouse or garden.

Harden Off

When you have passed the last day of frost in your gardening zone, it’s time to move the seedlings outdoors. To reduce shock and acclimate them to a sunny, outdoor environment, bring the lavender plants outside in their pots for a few hours a day, starting with one hour and increasing to a full day over the course of a week. This gradual introduction to the outdoor climate is called “hardening off.” After a week of hardening off, your lavender plants are ready to be transplanted into the garden. Choose an area that gets full sun and has porous, well-drained soil. Lavender can grow in poorer soils but appreciate organic matter. Amending the planting soil with OMRI Listed® Black Gold® Garden Compost Blend will increase organic matter and drainage.

Harvesting Lavender

Plant lavender when the starts are well-developed. Then let the harvest begin!

Once your plants have established themselves in the garden and start blooming, you will probably want to harvest some lavender to use in crafts, natural beauty recipes, and more.

I personally like to harvest some lavender for myself and leave some for the bees to enjoy. The best time to harvest your lavender is when the buds have formed but have not yet opened. Buds harvested at this stage will retain their color and fragrance much better than open flowers, and once you have dried the lavender, buds will fall off the stem easily so that you can collect and store them. Using sharp bypass pruners, cut your lavender stems leaving at least two sets of leaves on the green stem of the plant. If you cut past the green growth into the woody stem, it will not regrow.

Collect your lavender stems into a bundle and tie it together with twine. Hang the bundles in a warm spot away from direct sunlight and let them dry out completely.

About Stephanie Rose

Stephanie Rose is an award-winning author and the creator of Garden Therapy (https://gardentherapy.ca). Garden Therapy started as a personal blog and has bloomed into a gardening and crafting community for those looking to live a better life through plants. Stephanie’s creative take on both crafting and gardening has been featured in many publications, such as Better Homes and Gardens, HGTV, Romantic Homes, Country Woman, All You, and Women’s Day. Stephanie has written several books including Make and Give: Home Apothecary (Leisure Arts, 2018), The Natural Beauty Recipe Book (Rose Garden Press, 2016), and Garden Made: A Year of Seasonal Projects to Beautify Your Garden and Your Life (Roost Books, 2015), which was a Gold Medal Winner at the 2016 Independent Publishers Book Awards (the “IPPYs”). In 2018, Stephanie launched the Garden Therapy Seed Collection with GardenTrends. This line of eight exclusive seed starting kits helps gardeners create their own DIY dream gardens. Stephanie spends her time as a gardener, writer, and artist in Vancouver, BC, Canada. She is passionate about organic gardening, natural healing, and art as part of life. Stephanie lives with her husband, son, and a motley crew of animals, which provide her with inspiration and delight both in and out of the garden.

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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 Fahrenheit (18 to 21 Celsius). 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 seeds 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 it does require time, some patience, and a little extra space for your seed trays.

Both lavender and roses can be grown successfully from seed. Like many perennials, they do take longer to germinate than annuals. Lavender seeds do produce some variation in plant growth habit and flower spike length. Unless you are planning a formal hedge or growing lavender commercially, this can actually work to your advantage, as gradations between slightly paler and deeper shades of blue or occasional differences in height or flower shape can add interest and movement to a lavender planting.

Because these plants look well with almost anything, it is convenient to have enough seedlings on hand to fill in holes in the landscape, or to decorate a patio or entryway. Insert lavender between older bushes that are past their prime as eventual replacements, expand an existing lavender planting, and grow them as edging along a path, around a birdbath, or under a window. Growing lavender and miniature roses from seed is well worth a little extra effort because you will have an abundance of plants to use and enjoy for years. Extra seedlings also make wonderful gifts!

Renee’s Garden Seed
shopping list

“Angel Wings” Rose

“Perfume” Lavender

“White Ice” Lavender

“Hidcote” Lavender

Spanish Lavender

“Munstead” Lavender

“Fernleaf” Multifida Lavender

Purchase Renee’s Garden Seeds

Choosing Varieties

Renee’s Garden offers different lavender cultivars for a variety of climate zones and landscaping needs, as well as our lovely and very hardy and low-maintenance miniature rose, Angel Wings.

Lavender angustifolia Hidcote: According to the website of Hidcote Manor in Gloucestershire, England, the original Hidcote lavender was brought there in the 1920’s by the proprietor and plant-hunter Lawrence Johnston. Since the seed stock contains more genetic diversity than a cutting of the original variety, some experts question whether its’ name is legitimate. However, it is now well established in the seed trade as a compact variety with dark purple, velvety flower spikes. With intense flower color and sweet scent, Hidcote is especially suited for wreaths and decorative bunches tied with white, pink or blue ribbons.
Lavender angustifolia Munstead: Named for the country estate of British garden designer Gertrude Jekyll, who was influential in popularizing herbs including lavender as ornamental plants, Munstead produces lush drifts of fragrant pale blue, more elongated flower spikes than Hidcote. Faster to grow and earlier to bloom than Hidcote, it grows 1 1/2 feet tall and is hardy to zone 5.

Lavender stoecheas a.k.a. Spanish Lavender: With its butterfly-like reddishurple translucent flower bracts and grey-green foliage, Spanish lavender appears more exotic and less old-fashioned than English lavender. It blends well in the landscape with fiery colors, as well as with Mediterranean and tropical plants. Although it is hardy to zone 7, it can be grown as a container plant and brought indoors in colder areas. Tolerant of heat and drought, it often gives two flushes of bloom per season. The leaves possess a more medicinal, camphorous fragrance than English lavender so can be used in sachets to repel moths.

Lavender multifida a.k.a. Fernleaf Lavender: With its soft, lacy foliage and abundant blue-violet flowers, Fernleaf grows 2 feet tall and makes an unusual, elegant addition to a lavender collection or butterfly garden. In cold winter areas, grow it as a container plant and move it indoors under lights or to a protected area near a warm brick wall, since it is only hardy to zone 8.

Rosa chinensis, Angel Wings

Renee first saw this little beauty on a seed buying trip to the Netherlands about 15 years ago and immediately fell in love with it. A Dutch selection of Rosa chinensis, Angel Wings miniature rose behaves differently than other rose species you may already have in your garden. A small open bush covered with delicate shell pink, rose and white flowers, it grows fuller every season, reaching an eventual height of 24-36″. In Renee’s trial gardens, she grows Angel Wings both in containers and also in the borders around her house. It’s a wonderful luxury to have a whole big bed of these plants with their dainty soft pastel flowers in bloom all season every summer.

Amazingly, Angel Wings often produces flower buds when the plants are still tiny- I’ve seen it start to bloom at only 8-12 weeks. Plants are small the first year, reaching just 12 inches, but they really form lovely small bushes in their second blooming season and grow to maturity to bloom nonstop for years. Although a high percentage of plants have semi-double and double blossoms, there is always interesting variation in flower form. Some plants have the scent of wild roses, others have little or no fragrance at all. Angel Wings makes an excellent and reliable landscape filler, and goes well with all old-fashioned flowers. Hardy to Zone 4.

Growing Lavender Seeds

Start lavender seeds 6-8 weeks before the last frost in your area. Space them 1/2″ to 1″ apart in a flat of well-drained sterile seed starting mix, and cover them only about 1/8″, since light aids germination. Keep the flats in a warm place, about 70 degrees, and moist but not soggy-water in the morning so that the flats aren’t too wet in cooler nighttime temperatures, causing the seedlings to damp off. Be patient; seeds can sometimes take a month to germinate, but I have often been pleasantly surprised to have seedlings germinate within the first two weeks. Although I haven’t found it to be worth the trouble, some gardeners recommend cold-stratifying lavender seeds to improve the germination rate. The simplest way to do this is to place lavender seeds into a ziplock bag of moistened seed starting mix and leave it in the refrigerator for 3 weeks. Then sow as above. When seedlings emerge, provide strong lights so that they don’t grow weak and leggy.
When the seedlings have several sets of true leaves, gently loosen the soil around the plants and transfer them into a 2″ pot or 2″ apart in deeper flats of well-drained planting mix. Since nutrients quickly leach out of containers, add some granular slow-release fertilizer to the soil. Snip off the growing tip to encourage branching. When the plants have grown about 3 inches tall, the weather is warm, and all danger of frost is past, gradually expose the plants to outdoor conditions over the course of a week, being careful not to leave them in full sun right away. Finally, plant them outdoors 12-24″ apart into well-drained garden soil. In particularly moist, humid areas, plant them at the wider spacing recommendation, so that air circulates freely around the plants.
In poorly drained, damp soil, lavender roots are highly susceptible to rotting. If you have heavy, soggy clay, or live in a rainy climate as I do here in Western Oregon, loosen your soil as deeply as possible, pile on well-drained compost (preferably without too much peat moss, which retains moisture), and plant the lavender on raised mounds. Adding lime to acid soils also helps improve its chances, since lavender prefers a soil pH of 6.0-8. Lavender often does not require additional nitrogen fertilizer; in fact, too much nitrogen can result in less fragrant flowers and plants that are more sensitive to frost and fungal infections.
Lavender will probably produce several flowering stems in the first season, but cut these off either when they appear or, if you really can’t bring yourself to do that, just after the first buds start to open so that the plant can focus its energy on developing strong root and vegetative growth, rather than flowers and seeds. In subsequent years, cut back flowering stems after 1/3 of the buds have opened to about 1/3 of the new growth. Provide winter protection in cold areas. Mulch the plants with sand, gravel or bark, leaving 6″ around the stem of the plant so air circulates at the base.

Growing Roses From Seed

Although Angel Wings rose does not require stratification, germination can sometimes be erratic, extending over the course of one month. About 6 weeks before the last frost date, sow seeds 2″ apart and 1/4″ deep into well-drained seed starting mix. Keep the flats at 60-70 degrees and the soil moist, though not soggy. Provide strong lights as soon as seedlings emerge. When the plants are large enough to handle, transplant them into deeper flats or 4″ pots. Feed the soil around the seedlings every 2 weeks with half-strength fertilizer solution. Flower buds may appear early, but it is not necessary to remove them. Harden the plants off by gradually acclimating them to outdoor conditions and plant them 18″ apart into fertile, well-drained soil. If you are growing them in containers, use at least 2 gallon pots to make room for the roots to spread, and incorporate a balanced slow-release fertilizer into the planting soil. Unlike many roses, Angel Wings does not require being cut back in the winter; rather, it benefits only from an occasional light trimming and shaping after bloom to keep it productive, attractive and healthy.

Lavender Seeds

Considering growing lavender from seed? Learn a few tips and tricks for growing lavender seeds. Starting lavender seeds can appeal as an easy, affordable shortcut to getting your hands on several lavender plants, but the process isn’t as easy as sowing corn or sunflower seeds.
Most lavenders are started from cuttings taken from mother plants. That ensures that you obtain a plant that’s exactly like the mother plant in terms of plant size and flower color. Because cuttings are the primary means of producing lavender, supplies of pure lavender seed aren’t readily available for certain types of lavender.
You can purchase English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) seed, but lavenders cross readily, which means the resulting plants may not completely resemble the parents. The resulting variation can be delightful in a cottage garden setting, but if you’re trying to create a lavender hedge or raise lavender to sell for crafting, seed-grown crosses can prove less than ideal. Many of the lavandin English lavender hybrids (Lavandula x intermedia) are sterile hybrids and don’t yield useful seed.
‘Lavender Lady’ English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia ‘Lavender Lady’) is a seed-grown lavender that flowers the first year from seed. It’s a reliable, seed-grown lavender and reaches a modest height of 10 to 18 inches.
To start lavender from seed, sow seeds in a sterile seed starting mix. Barely cover seeds, because they need light to germinate. Lavender seeds can take as long as a month to germinate, although sometimes they’ll sprout in as little as 14 days. Help the germination process by placing seed trays in a warm spot—70 degrees F is an ideal temperature. Some gardeners refrigerate seeds in a sealed plastic bag for 21 days to prepare them for sprouting and help improve germination.
Transfer seedlings to 2-inch-wide pots when seedlings have sprouted several sets of leaves. Lavender is a slow grower and may take one to three months to reach transplanting size. The greatest threat to lavender seeds and seedlings is fungus. Keep soil mix moist, but provide good air circulation to help reduce disease outbreaks. Acclimate seedlings to outdoor growing conditions when lavender plants are 3 inches high.
In the garden, lavender will self-sow, especially when plants are surrounded with a gravel mulch. The gravel bedding provides an ideal seed sprouting environment. Allow plants to reach at least 3 inches tall before digging to transplant.
You can also harvest your own lavender seeds from plants. Wait until plants have bloomed, then snip flowering stems and gather them into bundles. Hang the bundles upside down inside paper bags. As seeds ripen and fall out of flowers, they’ll land in the bag. Once flowers are dry, rub or strike them against the paper bag to release all seeds.

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Table of Contents

If you want to grow lavender from seed it takes patience.

Like many perennial woody herbs, lavender can take a while to germinate and grow before you can plant it into the garden. This can be a deterrent for a home gardener, the seeds themselves can take a couple of weeks to germinate and then growth can be slow.

In this post I’ll cover

  • Pros and Cons to growing lavender from seed
  • How to grow lavender from seed
  • My personal experience and whether I think it’s worth it

Pros to growing lavender from seed

  • Lavender variety selection. I’ve been to garden centers that only have one variety. By growing lavender from seed, you can select more unique varieties.
  • If you want lots of lavender plants. If you’re planting a lavender hedge for example, you need many plants. Buying lavender in pots can be anywhere from $10-30 depending on the size. That adds up fast if you want to plant many lavender plants.
  • You’ll have enjoyed that simple joy of seed starting and seeing your lavender plants grow.

Cons of growing lavender from seed

  • Lavender can take a long time to germinate.
  • Plants need to be at least 6-8 weeks before transplanting, but honestly, 12+ weeks is better.
  • Time, space, seed starting equipment. If you plan on being a gardener, these things are worth while in time and investment. If you’re starting out and lavender is the only plant you want to grow from seed, then it’s not worth it.
  • Transplanting lavender requires care. Once your seedlings are in the ground, it will take a couple of seasons before they’re as large as the plants you could have purchased.

Below you can see lavender grown from seeds that were started early February.

Feb 15th

April 26th

How to grow lavender from seed

  • Choose a lavender variety and seeds from a great seed company
  • You can pre-germinate seeds or just plant them in seed starting soil
  • Set up some indoor grow lights like these LED ones.
  • Lavender seeds are small, just barely cover with soil. If you plant too deeply they might not germinate.
  • Because lavender takes a long time to grow, save space with 72 cell trays for the first few weeks
  • Water until soil is moist and don’t over water. Over watering leads to many seedling problems.
  • Once lavender plants are about 1 month old re-pot them into larger pots
  • Lavender plants need to be at least 8 weeks old before transplanting. You can grow them much larger than that though. Many people even grow lavender in pots indoors.
  • Plant after the risk of spring frost. Make sure you harden off your lavender seedlings first, they need to get used to being outdoors before shocking them.
  • If there’s a lot of rain forecasted, considering covering your lavender seedlings.
  • Lavender can grow in low to medium quality soil but it needs to have lots of drainage.

Lavender are perennial plants that are hardy to zone 5 outdoors.

If you live in a colder growing zone, you might have to grow lavender in a container and bring indoors or in a cool basement during the winter.

My personal experience from lavender seedlings

I grew English Dwarf Munstead lavender from seed two seasons in a row. The first year I failed, the second I successfully grew and planted lavender seedlings outdoors. All summer I watched the seedlings grow surprisingly slowly. This is common with woody perennial herbs, they grow slowly the first couple of seasons then the 3rd year they are lovely and large. After spending 3 months and a summer with not much growth I bought 2 lavender plants from a local garden center just so I could witness lavender flowers. At some point I’d love to plant a lavender hedge, and I’m still undecided if I’ll spend the money on plants or just buy large lavender plants. I might do the latter, as we have elk around here and the little plants will get trampled.

Have you grown lavender from seed?

How was your experience?

My name is Isis Loran, creator of the Family Food Garden. I’ve been gardening for over 10 years now and push the limits of our zone 5 climates. I love growing heirlooms & experimenting with hundreds of varieties, season extending, crunchy homesteading and permaculture.

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