Last summer I had a great idea to plant a wildflower and have beautiful rows of deep purple lavender. Little did I know, lavender is not the easiest plant to grow from seed. In the fall last year I wrote about my experiences with my first year growing a wildflower meadow, and what I would do differently this year. Last year I had trouble growing lavender from seed. This year I wanted to do a bit of research and make sure I had a plan that would ensure my success growing lavender from seed. Here are the tips that will ensure you can successfully grow lavender from seed!
First of all, why lavender?
I want to grow lavender because it has such a pretty purple color, it smells amazing, and I want to be able to dry the flowers to bring indoors. One benefit of lavender is it’s relaxing properties… I can always use a little more relaxing. Lavender is a perennial that grows back year after year, and is a great addition to a wildflower meadow.
Will lavender survive in my area?
Each plant has it’s own hardiness zone of where it will thrive. Lavender has a hardiness zone of 5-9. Here is a map of the Hardiness zones for North America. With this, you can determine whether or not lavender is suitable for your area.
When should I start lavender from seed?
Lavender seeds should be planted indoors about 6-8 weeks before planting outside. Where I live, the last frost is usually mid-May. I like to plant flowers outside around the end of May. So that means I will plant my lavender seeds inside around the end of March or early April to give them enough time to germinate and develop strong roots.
How do I ensure successful germination?
Lavender is slow to germinate. Sow the seeds indoors in a seed tray with bottom heat (19 degrees celsius) using a heat mat. If you don’t have a heat mat, one trick I learned from my grandmother is to germinate seeds in the oven. Put your whole seed tray in the oven and leave only the light on. The seeds should germinate within a few days. Make sure the soil is always moist until the seedlings come up and are established.
How should I care for the seedlings?
Lavender likes full sun and lots of warmth. Place the seed trays near a window, but make sure they don’t encounter significant temperature swings. Water the seedlings when the soil is dry to the touch. Use a small amount of water soluble fertilizer every time you water. Rotate the seed trays every few days to make sure the plants grow evenly. And finally, removing a set of leaves from each seedling will encourage more flowers.
Are there tips for planting the seedlings outside?
In the spring, you can transplant the seedlings once the root system is well established and the risk of frost is over. Before planting outside, acclimate the plants to outdoor weather over a few weeks. The first day, put them outside in a shady sheltered area for a few hours. Gradually increase the time spent outside over a week or two until it is time to plant in the soil. Water frequently, and continue to fertilize all summer.
You can successfully grow lavender from seed!
With these tips I know you will be able to grow lavender from seed!