Lavender is a perennial herb that captures our eyes and nose because of its striking appearance and sweet smell. Its medium purple or light pinkish-purple in color is a connotation of a sunny and relaxing summer. The distinct fragrant aroma soothes the body and soul, making it an ideal plant to have a tranquil afternoon in the backyard. While it can be planted through cuttings or fully grown plants, starting from seeds is a perfect cheap alternative. If you are unsure how to grow lavender from seed, this blog is for you!
Varieties of Lavender Seeds
You could never go wrong when choosing the suitable lavender variety. At least 45 known species and 450 registered varieties exist for various culinary and industrial usage. Some versatile cultivars are the pick of the bunch for the home backyard:
- English. Also known as the common lavender, English lavender is known for its bright purple flowers that bloom in June-August. This is a drought-resistant variety that flatters any landscaping project.
- Spanish. This short variety resists higher humidity than the common lavender. Its striking velvety leaves have a rich, relaxing scent suited for oil extraction. Its catchy flowers bloom earliest from mid-April-August.
- Portuguese. This tall variety, reaching about 12-35 inches (30-90 cm), is prized for its pale lilac inflorescence from May-September.
- Notable hybrids. These are crossbreeds of several species or varieties above that deserve distinction:
- Hidcote dwarf. Known for its dark purple flowers, and medium-sized bush, great for landscaping.
- Munstead. A medium-sized variety that can bloom twice in a season.
- Provence blue. A tall variety that blooms pale blue-tinged and savory-smelling flowers, an excellent choice for landscape and culinary purposes.
How to Plant Lavender Seeds Step-by-Step
Planting lavender seeds is fun and easy. It will just take a few steps below:
Take the proper seedbed. You can opt for individual plastic cups of any size or a big plastic container for mass planting.
- Prepare the soil. Any type of soil will do as long as it retains moderate moisture. Fill the seedling tray slightly below the brim.
- Plant the seed. Seeds exist in two forms, individual or coated pellets which need to be moistened first. Unless you use pellets, plant the seeds equidistantly to the soil bed and cover it with a thin layer of soil.
- Water the seedbed. Using a water sprayer, gently mist the top layer to not uncover the buried seeds. A splash of water can displace them from their spot.
- Cover the tray. Wrap the seedbed with plastic to conserve humidity. Poke some holes to allow air circulation.
- Expose to light. Lavender seeds only sprout in the presence of light. Place it 2-3 inches (5-8 cm) under a grow light or a sunny window.
Tips on how to grow lavender seeds indoors
Growing lavender indoors is the practical alternative if the weather doesn't permit you to tend the garden outside, and it takes some tricks to guarantee successful germination.
- Cold shock the seeds. Refrigerating them for about 4-6 weeks is optional but ensures a higher lavender seed germination rate needed to awaken the embryo.
- Use heat packs. Placing heating packs under the growing tray help maintain a warm seedbed if the temperature plummets less than 65˚F (18˚C).
- Monitor the germination temperature. This is optional, but lavender saplings will have a higher germination percentage if kept at 65-70˚F (18-21˚C).
Methods of Starting Lavender from Seed
There are two ways of growing this plant. You may start growing lavender indoors from seed by first sowing them in a seedling tray or directly planting them in the garden beds.
- Indoor sowing. Starting lavender from seed indoors is the top choice for spring planting.
- Outdoor sowing. Dispersing the seeds directly in the ground is best done in late fall, and they will undergo a cold shock that will germinate in spring.
How to germinate lavender seeds
Lavender seeds may take a month before germinating, depending on their dormancy. You can lower the days of germination by following these instructions:
- Soak paper towels. Take a dish plate and place a sheet of paper towel. Pour a clean distilled water to wet the paper but not oversaturate it.
- Plant the seeds. Place the seeds equidistantly over the wet surface.
- Store the seeds in the fridge. Place it in resealable plastic bags for 4-6 weeks to recreate winter conditions that awaken the embryo.
- Place it in a sunny location. Poke some holes in the plastic and keep it dampened. It should germinate in 1-2 weeks under a natural or grow light.
- Replant in individual plastic cups. Using a tweezer, pick the delicate sprouts and plant them in well-draining soil.
Best lavender germination time
Sowing lavender seeds is best done in early spring or late fall. If you choose the former, it will take at least 1-2 months to germinate and will likely flower the next planting season. On the other hand, late autumn sowing is a trick to expose them to chilly temperatures, which breaks their dormancy, resulting in higher germination rates in spring.
How to Grow Lavender from Seed Step-by-step
Growing lavender is easy but tricky. After successfully germinating the seeds, they can now be planted in garden beds or pots:
- Harden the seeds. Letting the soil dry before transplanting, known as hardening, will make the planting more successful.
- Prepare the soil. Choose a potting mix containing less water, such as equal portions of universal plant medium, sand, and perlite.
- Plant the seedlings. Take it out of the nursery tray carefully to not inflict wounds on the roots.
- Water the plant. This is required to remove large air pockets in the soil and establish good contact with the ground.
Tips on how to grow lavender seeds indoors
Many problems might occur in germinated seedlings indoors. To avoid this, here are some tips:
- Requires plenty of sunlight. Lavenders will suffer in shady places. It is best to place it in the sunniest house, like on the balcony or under a grow light.
- Adding eggshells into the soil. Crushed eggshells are an excellent amendment to raise the lavender's preferred soil alkalinity.
Lavender sprouts care tips
Now that you have your sprouts, everything will go swiftly. You have passed the most crucial part of lavender seedling stages–its finicky germination. After that, everything is easy-breezy.
Lavenders prefer well-drained and dry soil. Irrigate it only on the first days of transplanting or during its sapling stage. The soil must feel dry to the touch before the next watering. Once established, reduce splashing water in a 15-days interval.
Originating in the sunny Mediterranean, lavender needs plenty of sunlight for at least 6-8 hours. In the long run, the shade kills it, marked by slight wilting and defoliation. Plant it in the yard or on your balcony, where it can enjoy the sun from morning till the afternoon. If this is not possible in your climate zone, grow lamps are a substitute indoors but will not thrive as well as natural light.
The lavender's hairy leaves adapt to tolerate extreme heat in the summer and cold drafts in the winter. Answering when to plant lavender seeds, you don't have to be very temperature-oriented if planting indoors, as seeds can be sown from February to July, but if outdoors, late fall is the best. During its growing season in spring and summer, 68-86˚F (20-30˚C) should be fine. In winter, no less than 41˚F (5˚C) at night but should not increase above 65˚F (18˚C) during the day. A wide temperature fluctuation in a short period could spell a disaster for the herb.
When wondering how to plant lavender seeds in a pot or garden bed, you should think about the soil first. Permeable and moderately fertile soils are preferred by this plant. Unlike many others, lavenders prefer slightly alkaline or chalky soil (high pH). Use equal portions of universal potting mix and perlite to achieve the recommended soil requirements. Crush or pulverized eggshells can be enriched with the soil media to slightly raise the pH level.
Lavenders are slow-feeders and would subsist on the nutrient-poor soil. However, a light dose of a liquid fertilizer would kick-start your plant’s growth. Halve the brand’s amount and drench it in the ground once it is on its actively growing stage, twice a month until it blooms. Overfertilization might disrupt its life cycle, delay its blooming, or kill your herb.
Is Lavender easy to grow from seed?
Yes, lavender is fairly easy to grow from seeds but it takes time and patience. For new gardeners, this might be tricky to grow, but once mastered, it will be a piece of cake.
How tall does lavender grow?
Lavenders can grow 20-24 inches (50-60 cm) on average. Some varieties are dwarf, while some are bred to be tall that could reach up to 35 inches (90 cm).
How long does it take lavender to sprout?
Growing lavenders from seed will take about 1-2 months, depending on the seed’s dormancy. When sown in late fall, it can sprout in spring.