Hi, I’m Eric Allen at EdenBrothers.com, and today we will be talking about how to grow lavender from seed.
Everybody loves lavender. When you see the plants in garden centers, they’re quite expensive, so why not save some money and start your lavender plants from seed. They’re perennial and winter-hardy in zones five through nine. There are several kinds of lavender, usually called English lavender or French lavender, based on where those beautiful fields of the aromatic flower are grown commercially in France and England.
The two varieties Eden Brothers recommends are both English lavender. Both are highly fragrant, and both are among the most popular planted in North America. The biggest difference is their size. One grows to 30 inches, and the other one is shorter, at only 16. The taller one is called Lavender vera, but it usually is called by its botanical name, Lavender Augustifolia. The shorter one is Lavender Munstead, a hybrid of the same species. You plant them the same time, so simply take your choice.
Growing lavender from seed requires some special things, though, but it is easy. The big thing to know about lavender is that it is the reverse of what we’ve talked about with most plants. They need dry, sandy, gritty soil, not the rich garden soil that we use for most of a perennial garden. They need to be planted and grown in almost desert conditions, direct hot sun and gritty, sandy soil. But if you don’t have a really rapidly draining spot in your garden, you can create one and plant your seeds there.
One expert advises to make sure that the area you choose never has standing water and drains quickly after a rain, and it must have full sun. Then an easy way to be sure that your dry spot stays dry for seeding is to add about half an inch of builder’s sand to the top, as we’ve done here, with potting soil below, and plant your seeds there. Wait until the spring weather warms up, and then, if you don’t have a dry, sunny spot, you can also put a layer of gravel about five inches under the soil to be sure that it drains quickly.
Once you’re ready, simply scatter the seeds across the sandy surface and then press them in. Don’t cover them. And be patient. It usually takes about two to four weeks for the seeds to germinate, and once they do, water them only when they wilt, and then, sparingly. Remember, desert conditions. You’ll be amazed how much they’ll grow without much water. They thrive on hot, direct sun.
After good growth of the silvery gray foliage, you’ll see the flower stalks begin to rise. Bloom for established plants usually happens in June and July. If you trim off the dying flower spikes, you may be able to enjoy a second flush of bloom in the fall.
To harvest the flowers for sachets or scented bundles, cut them when they are still mostly buds, and hang them upside down until they’re open and dry. A well-done lavender bunch can scent a room for months, or even years.
I’m Eric Allen for EdenBrothers.com, The Seediest Place on Earth.