Is It Impossible to Grow Lavender from Seed?
Nope! It is difficult, however not impossible. The reason why lavender is deemed difficult to grow from seed is because it is just “different” to grow from seed than “regular” seeds. People give up too easy. I have spent 4 years seed germinating lavender. My Credentials: I have successfully planted over 1000 Lavandula angustifolia plants from seed.
There is VERY little information out there in regards to growing lavender from seed. I have had to test, test, test, test and test some more. With a LOT of failures in between 4 years of tests!
4 Lavender Seed Germination MYTHS BUSTED in This Article
Consider the source when someone vomits one of these lavender seed germination myths. They are usually lavender PLUG growers who have expensive lavender plugs or plants to sell ya (wink, wink.)
I will BUST these myths throught this entire article!
- It’s impossible to grow by seed – NOPE
- You must cold stratify lavender seed to germinate – NOPE
- Lavender doesn’t like water – HALF TRUE
- Lavender seed will not grow true to type – NOPE
Cold Stratification for Lavender
Cold Stratification for Seed Germination
Cold stratification for seed germination is the process of “chilling” the seeds to mimic nature cycles such as fall, winter, spring.
Some people freeze, some people refrigerate, some people soak in water and refrigerate, some people add to a moist paper towel and freeze or refrigerate.
According to the web, since there is no real authority on growing lavender from seed, this cooling process will take 1-4 weeks.
Cold Stratification of Lavender Seeds
Many lavender growers will tell you that you need to cold stratify. Ask them how many lavender plants they have grown from seed. My bet is close to zero.
My years of testing and experimenting have had me come to the conclusion that you do NOT need to cold stratify lavender seeds. In fact, my germination rate percentage was more successful WITHOUT cold stratification than with cold stratification.
I personally skip this unnecessary step now and it saves me an abundance of time + I achieve a higher germination rate without cold stratification!
What Types of Lavender Germinate from Seed Easily?
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Munstead’
Munstead lavender germinates the quickest when using my three lavender germination hacks. Germination happens within 3-7 days. Container transplant in one month after germination. Harden and transplant outdoors in 3 months.
Lavandula angustifolia “Ellagance…” (series)
The Lavandula Angustifolia “Ellagance…” series is extremely easy to germinate from seed and transplant. This type of lavender was bread for seed germination and the series has so many beautiful colors, including whites! About the same as Munstead. Seed Germination 3-7 days. Container transplant one month after germination. Harden and transplant outdoors in 3 months.
Lavandula angustifolia “Vera”
Vera is considered the “True English Lavender.” Vera is a little bit more difficult to germinate than Ellagance and Munstead. Not impossible but not easy. It just likes to “take its time.” Seed germination 14-45 days. Container transplant 2-3 months after germination. Harden and transplant outdoors in 5-6 months.
Lavandula angustifolia “Hidcote Blue”
Hidcote Blue is my “favorite child.” It is also my “difficult child.” Germination rates are dismal regardless what you do. Patience and low expectations is the name of the game when you play with Hidcote seeds. Seed germination 30-60 days. Container transplant 3-4 months after germination. Harden and transplant outdoors within 5-8 months.
Lavandula x intermedia
This is impossible. If someone is trying to sell you intermedia or hybrid seeds, it is fraud. The reason why is because this lavender hybrid is sterile. It does not produce seed!
This hybrid is also known as “Lavandin”. Some of the types of Lavandin include Grosso, Provence, Gros Bleu, Sensational, Phenomenal.
When Should You Plant Your Lavender Seeds?
Depending on whether you cold stratify or not, 3-8 months prior to planting outside. If you decide you want to cold stratify, add another month. As a general guide before final transplant: Munstead 3 months, Ellagance series 3 months, Vera 5-6 months, Hidcote 5-8 months.
Select and Plant Your Seeds
Select which type of seeds you would like to grow and plant them. Sterile sphagnum moss is best. Lavender does not like fertilizer. I like to top the sphagnum with a light layer of pea gravel to mimic lavender’s natural mediterranean habitat.
Simply prepare your pot by filling 3/4 with peat moss and an optional layer of pea gravel.
Sprinkle seeds evenly over top.
Be ready to use the three hacks for growing lavender by seed for the next several months!
3 Hacks for Germinating Lavender From Seed
Lavender needs 3 things to germinate: heat, light, water. It is important to note: DO NOT FERTILIZE until the lavender is established in the ground!
Heating Pad for Lavender Germination
Lavender seeds need heat for seed germination. We simply use a flat pet heating pad with a timer. Every morning set your heating pad to 80-90 degrees and set your timer for 8-12 hours.
Grow Light for Lavender Germination
Lavender seeds need light in order to germinate. Use a grow light 12-18 hours a day to germinate your seeds. We put the grow light on a daily timer.
Water For Lavender Germination
Lavender seeds need water in order to germinate and all the way until their roots are established in the ground. Be prepared for this commitment which lasts several months!
You do not want to drench the seeds but rather keep them moist. Mist your seeds and seedlings with a plant misting bottle 3-6 times daily and do not let them go dry. Ever. Never. Your seedlings will die if your soil goes dry before their roots are established in the ground. I cannot stress this enough!
Once your roots are established you may dial down on your daily watering. This is when lavender does not like water! It is a highly drought tolerant plant. You will only need to water lavender when the soil is dry at this point!
Will My Lavender Grow True to Type?
YEP! As long as you source your seeds from reputable seed sellers. My Munstead is Munstead, Ellagance is Ellagance, Hidcote is Hidcote, Vera is Vera.