Planting Guide - Lavender Seeds
Growing Lavender in Your Garden
Lavender is a popular perennial garden plant found around the world. Despite lavender being hardy perennial garden plants they need to be well-tended during their first few weeks. Propagating lavender plants from seed can be challenging as they are slow to germinate. Nevertheless, much personal satisfaction can be gained from growing your lavender plants from seed! With time and patience on your side, visions of sweet-smelling lavender is in your near future.
When & How to Plant Lavender Seeds
Prepare the lavender seeds for sowing three months before the last spring frost. Store them in a plastic bag filled with moistened sphagnum moss inside the refrigerator for five weeks. Remoisten the sphagnum whenever it feels dry. This process is called cold stratification, a technique used to simulate the real-world conditions a seed would receive outdoors after the winter gives way to a warm, wet spring.
Remove the lavender seeds from the refrigerator after the cold stratification period. Allow them to reach room temperature while preparing a sowing container for them.
Fill a 2” deep nursery tray with a mixture of equal parts washed medium-grit sand and seed-starting compost. Mist this sand mixture until it is saturated, then let the excess water drain off. Once established, lavender can tolerate a variety of growing conditions, but to get started this plant thrives best under warm, sunny conditions in well-drained soil.
Create shallow, 1/8” deep furrows across the surface of the sand mixture. Drop the lavender seeds into the furrows, aiming for one seed every inch. Sprinkle a very thin layer of sand over the lavender seeds so they are barely covered but still exposed to the light. Lavender seeds need light to germinate, so be sure not to bury them. Mist the sand heavily to settle it around the seeds.
Place your tray or pots where they will receive 8-10 hours of sun exposure daily. Use a cold frame outdoors or a sunny window indoors. Soil should remain 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and as low as 55F at night. Consider using a warming mat to provide these temperatures if your weather does not comply.
Use a sheet of plastic to hold in the warmth and moisture, ensuring that the plastic never touches the soil or seedlings. Leave one side open to allow some moisture to escape. Whenever the sand mixture feels dry on the surface, mist with a water bottle so as not to disturb the seeds.
If provided with constant light exposure and warm growing medium, your lavender seeds will germinate in two to three weeks and will be ready for transplant within one to two months.
One week after germination transplant your lavender seedlings into individual 4” pots filled with the sandy potting mix. If you started in a large tray, thin your seedlings to one every 2-3 inches.
Grow your newly transplanted seedlings in partial sun for one to two months, then transplant them into a sunny garden bed with fast-draining soil.
As lavender is native to arid regions, the plant will not tolerate moist or overly wet conditions. They should be located in areas with adequate drainage and spaced far enough apart to ensure good air circulation. This will help reduce the chance of developing root rot.
Possible Problems with Growing Lavender
Lavender is vulnerable to diseases and root rot and the best way to prevent this is to promote good drainage.
The best time to cut and harvest the flowers of lavender is the second flowering season. Start off on a dry, sunny day preferably between June to September. Pruning should be ideally done just before the growing season, which is early spring.