Learn what you need to know to grow 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.