Propagating Lavender: Three Strategies To Use

Lavender is one of the most popular flowers in an ornamental or medicinal garden. If you grow it, you will be interested to know that propagating lavender is an easy task that is economical and fun at the same time.

This article will focus on how to propagate lavender from cuttings, air layers, and seeds. You can perform these methods with minimal tools and in a short amount of time. Then, with a little care and attention, you will have new lavender plants to add to your garden. We will not discuss propagation by division for the time being; It is a difficult method because the thick roots of the mature lavender plants cannot tolerate division.

Before propagating lavender, it is important to find out if the plant you own has a patent. It is against the law to distribute and sell patented plants. Most home gardeners root plants for their own use, so this is less of a problem for many. However, it is good to know and respect the laws governing plant reproduction as they protect whoever invented this particular plant variety.

First, let's examine the definition of plant reproduction and then go through these methods so you can decide which is right for you. Perhaps you will learn a new way of propagating lavender that you have never tried before and be inspired to try something new!

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What is plant propagation?

Propagating lavender from foliage as cuttings is easy. Source: l.i.l.l.i.a.n

The most basic definition of plant reproduction is the creation of a new plant, either by growing it from seeds, taking cuttings from a mature plant, air layers to develop a new plant, and / or dividing an existing plant. Each technique has its advantages and disadvantages, but we provide tips to help you get a feel for each technique. There are some plants that are easier to propagate than others, but luckily, lavender is one of the easiest to propagate by cuttings.

Propagating plants from your garden is a straightforward process, although some methods take longer than others, so it is a good idea to always plan ahead so that you are prepared. Always choose healthy plants with an established root system. It's also good to know that there are two forms of plant reproduction: sexual and asexual.

During sexual reproduction, a plant grows from seeds and provides light, water, soil and oxygen. This method requires more patience and time, as well as additional tools and consumables compared to the others.

In asexual reproduction, plants start from cuttings, layers or by dividing from a mature plant already in your garden. Many gardeners use the asexual method, but you can find out which one works best for you. Let's dig deeper into the methods we recommend for propagating lavender.

Methods of propagating lavender

Let's go through each method of propagation. We'll start with how to grow lavender from seeds, but then we'll go into how to propagate lavender from cuttings. Finally, we're going to discuss how to grow a new lavender plant by stratifying air.

How to propagate lavender from seeds

Late summer is the best time to start lavender from seeds. You should be ready to plant in the garden in the spring. This planting method takes the longest to develop a new plant, but one advantage is that you can start many at once.

Required materials:

  • Growing bowl with growing mixture or a small pot filled with soil and compost
  • Transparent lid for tray or pot
  • Lavender seeds
  • Water bottle with mist nozzle
  • Grow light (optional)
  • Seedling heating mat (optional)

Step 1: Moisten the soil in the seed tray (or in the pot, if used). Lavender seeds germinate best after a cold stratification (mimicking winter dormancy) of 4 to 6 weeks. Place 2-3 seeds per pot or every 5 cm on the tray, barely covering it with soil.

Step 2: Lightly sprinkle the soil with water and place the clear lid over the bowl to create a greenhouse effect. If you're starting out with pots, you can use a piece of plastic wrap or a bag instead of a rigid lid. All of this traps heat and moisture to create an ideal growing environment. Make sure you prop up flexible plastic with stakes or even a couple of chopsticks to keep it off the soil surface.

Step 3: For best results, place the tray under a grow light with a heating mat. If you don't have a light or heating mat, you can place the seedlings in a warm place with lots of sunlight.

Step 4: Lavender seeds must be at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit and kept moist to germinate. It's also not uncommon for them to take up to a month to germinate, so this requires patience. Once they are sprouted, you can remove the clear cover.

Step 5: If the seedlings have multiple leaves, transplant them into individual pots and keep watering them regularly. Wait one to three months for the new plants to be large enough to transplant outside in your yard.

Step 6: Make sure the danger of frost has passed before moving them outdoors and gradually cure the plants to the outdoor conditions. Once they're acclimatized, transplanting them to a garden bed or potting them in pots is fun and worthwhile.

Lavender flowers begin to set seedsLavender flowers begin to set seeds. Source: Thor Edvardsen

Start lavender cuttings in water

The best time to take cuttings is in spring, but you can do this procedure in the fall as long as you are ready to protect the plants indoors during the winter months. In any case, choose cuttings that do not have flowers. The cuttings should be at least 3-4 inches long and sturdy.

Required materials:

  • Secateurs or sharp scissors
  • Ripe lavender plants
  • Glass or cup of water

Step 1: Examine the stems of your mature lavender plant. To propagate lavender from cuttings, choose a long stem and look for the point where old growth changes into new green material. Reclaimed wood (also called hardwood) is dark brown and new wood (softwood) is light green.

For softwood cuts, take your secateurs and cut where the old growth ends and the new soft growth meets. For hardwood cuttings, cut off just below a leaf knot. When taking lavender from cuttings, it is a good idea to start more than you need, just in case some fail to root.

Step 2: Fill the container with clean water and remove the bottom ⅓ of the leaves from your lavender cuttings. Leave the tip leaves intact so they can photosynthesize.

Step 3: Place the cutting in the water, keep the remaining leaves dry and above the surface of the water. Wet leaves can become soft and start to rot. Place the cuttings in a warm place that receives sunlight or indirect bright light, but where it doesn't get too hot.

Step 4: Replace the water with fresh water daily and look for signs of new roots growing out of the nodes. It takes approximately 2-4 weeks for softwood cuttings to take root and 4-6 weeks for hardwood cuttings.

Step 5: Once the lavender plants take root, they can be transferred to a larger container with a mixture of compost and potting soil. When the weather is warm and you've hardened them off, they can be planted right outside. Otherwise, put them in your greenhouse until the weather is best.

Rooting of lavender cuttings in potting soil

Take cuttings from healthy, straight stems and use clean tools to avoid the risk of contaminating your new plant. Improve your garden soil with compost before planting the new lavender outdoors.

Required materials:

  • Secateurs or a sharp knife
  • Ripe lavender plant
  • 4 inch pot filled with compost and potting soil
  • water
  • Rooting hormone powder (optional)
  • Plastic bag or clear plastic bottle (optional)

Step 1: Take cuttings the same way as described for lavender cuttings in water.

Step 2: Remove the lower leaves ⅓ from the stem upwards. This is the portion that you put in the bottom. Pre-moisten your potting medium and use a dibber or pencil to make holes. Moisten the ends of the cuttings, then dip the stem in the hormone powder (if used) and carefully place the stem in the prepared pot. Gently tamp the soil around the stem.

Step 3: Put the pots in a warm place that receives indirect sunlight during the day. Water when the soil is dry. You can also cover your cuttings with a plastic bag or clear bottle to keep them warm and moist, and to keep the soil moist.

Step 4: It takes about as long to form roots as it does when it is stuck in water. Test the root formation after new leaves appear by pulling the cuttings very carefully. When there is resistance, roots have formed. Once the lavender plants have roots, they can be moved to a larger pot or an outdoor plant.

Lavender propagation through air stratification

This method of propagation is the easiest, but you need to finish it before winter. Using rooting hormones will help speed up the process, but it is not necessary.

Materials you will need:

  • Ripe lavender plants
  • Disinfected razor blade or Exacto knife
  • Rooting hormone (optional)
  • Small stone or garden clamp

Choose a healthy lavender plant in your garden. Identify low-growing stems with no flowers that are at least 4 inches long and remove the leaves from the central section of the stems. Do not cut these off from the mother plant; they should stay connected.

Use the razor blade or knife to make a shallow cut on the underside of each of the stems that you will air layer. Be careful not to cut the stem all the way through. Apply rooting hormone to the cut (if used), then bury the wounded portion of the stems 1-2 inches deep in the soil.

To hold buried stems in place, place a rock on top or secure them with a garden clamp. Keep the stems watered, but be careful not to overwater while the roots are growing.

Wait 6-8 weeks for the roots to form, then prune each young plant from its mother plant. Transplant the new plants elsewhere in your garden.

frequently asked Questions

Lavender flower topAvoid using the lavender flower tip for propagation. Source: Margaret Bourne

Q: What month do you take lavender cuttings?

A: It depends on what type of lavender cuttings you will be using. If you're taking cuttings from green softwood, the best time is early spring, before your lavender plants bloom. If you are using old lavender cuttings, collect them in the fall before your plants go dormant for winter.

Q: Why do my lavender cuttings keep dying?

A: There could be a couple of things that are causing your lavender cuttings to die. The soil could be too dry or too wet; Cuttings in the soil need enough water to root, but the soil must also have good drainage to prevent the root from rotting.

Too much sun and heat can also kill your delicate cuttings. It is therefore best to place them in indirect light and moisten them with fresh water several times a day. Finally, if you are rooting cuttings in water, make sure you change the water frequently to keep it fresh and prevent root rot.

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