Starting lavender indoors is an easy project for any gardener hoping to grow lavender for their garden. If done the right way you will be able to grow many tiny lavender seedlings, which will be ready to be planted out into the garden once summer arrives! In this post I will show you how to grow lavender from seeds indoors.
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How To Grow Lavender From Seeds Indoors
Growing lavender from seeds indoors is fairly easy, and you can do it if you have the right set up.
To grow lavender from seed successfully, you will need to provide consistent warmth and light, with bottom heat initially, and then consistent lighting for 12 to 16 hours per day.
Once the seedlings start to grow they are very sturdy and easy to take care of.
What you will need to grow lavender from seeds:
- good quality lavender seeds ( I am growing Ellagance Purple Lavender, lavandula angustifolia, which I purchased from Johnnys Selected Seeds
- good quality potting soil
- shelving on which to place your seedlings
- and some form of lighting to secure onto your seedling shelf to provide the necessary light for your new seedlings to grow
This set-up will give your seeds their best start if you are planting indoors.
You can also plant in a south facing window may, however make sure the seeds receive enough light. If they grow tall and leggy, they may need some supplemental or artificial lighting.
Growing with a grow light ensures the required amount of light, and can be done fairly cost effectively.
- You can use any type of seedling tray that you wish to use. You can use seedling flats, paper pots, small pots, or even soil blocks to plant the seeds into.
- Since we were planting 500 seeds, we chose to use the 128 seedling flats, so that we could fit four trays of our lavender seedlings onto one shelf.
Soil For Planting The Lavender Seeds:
- Any good sterile potting mix will do.
- We add a small scoop of Gaia Green All Purpose Fertilizer to our tub of potting soil, and mix well before filling the trays with the soil.
How To Grow Lavender From Seeds Indoors Using Heat Mats:
- Using heat mats was a game changer for us. It has increased our success rate with germination of seeds dramatically.
- Heat mats will heat the soil from below with a slow and consistent heat, which is important for germination.
- Moist soil is usually cool, even in a warm room at room temperature. Seeds often will not germinate in cool soil. The heat mat warms up the soil, increasing the chances of seed germination.
- Heat mats can be fairly expensive, however they last for years. They are a good investment if you are planning to start seeds indoors every year.
- The lavender seeds were germinated on the heat mat. Once the trays had approximately sixty percent seed germination, they were removed from the mat and placed under lights.
Shelving For The Lavender Seedling Trays:
- This is optional, however offers a good setup to keep your trays together in one spot, and provides a structure on which to attach your grow lights.
- Shelving can be expensive, and definitely is an investment. In the off-season the units can also be used for storage. This is where we store our seed pods for seed collection during the fall and early winter months!
- Our seedling shelves have wheels, which is very convenient for moving and highly recommended.
- We keep our shelving set up throughout the year with our grow lights attached.
- We can place 4 seedling trays of lavender per each shelf on our shelving units.
- We use regular shop lights from the hardware store.
- Two shop lights are attached per shelf.
- In each light there are two florescent bulbs.
- We initially bought the more expensive purple grow lights, however didn’t see any difference in plant growth between using each type of light.
Method For Planting Your Lavender Seeds Indoors:
Fill Your Trays:
- First fill your trays full of the potting soil that you have selected.
- I pat down to ensure there are no air holes, however don’t pack too firmly.
- Then make a little indent in each cell. I do this with my finger ( see picture above with seedling tray filled with soil).
- This makes a little cavity into which you can drop the lavender seed.
Plant The Lavender Seeds:
- Set your seeds on a plate, or in a shallow bowl beside the tray.
- Pick up one lavender seed at a time and place in a cell.
- I like to use a pen or some object to mark the next row of cells as I go along, to help prevent double planting! I place the pen on top of the row, next to the row I am planting.
- When I’m finished planting my row of lavender, I’ll move the pen over a row, and plant in the row where the pen just was. This is a helpful technique if your seeds are small or too tiny to see, to keep track of your planting row.
- Lavender seeds require light for germination, so do not cover.
Bottom Water The Seedling Tray:
- The planted seed tray is then placed into a tub filled with several inches of clean water, to bottom water the tray( I use a shallow storage container large enough to fit the tray into).
- Once the soil is saturated, remove from the water and place on the heat mat.
Place On Heat Mat:
- Leave the tray of lavender seeds on the heat mat until you get approximately sixty percent germination.
- Make sure that the soil does not completely dry out while the seeds are germinating. The soil should remain moist during this period, and bottom water as necessary.
Place Under Grow Lights:
- Once the seeds have germinated, place the seed trays under the grow lights, as they will require bright light for growth.
- Water regularly and as needed.
- We leave our grow lights on for about sixteen hours per day.
- When we shut our grow lights off at night we shut our heat mats off as well.
- We have had great success with this method.
Is Lavender Easy To Grow From Seed?
From my experience it has been fairly easy to grow lavender from seed.
The seeds germinated with this method quite quickly, and within a week we had good results, and the seedlings went under the grow lights.
The seeds were planted on February 11, and are just over four weeks old ( post germination) at the time of this post.
The lavender seedlings are healthy and growing, and will have lots of time to grow bigger and more robust before they are planted out this spring into our zone 5b garden.
When To Plant Lavender Seeds
Lavender seeds should be planted six to twelve weeks before the last frost.
This will allow them to develop into good sized seedlings before they are planted outdoors.
In our area, that means planting time is anytime in March.
The lavender seeds that I potted up in February were planted quite early, and may require potting up into larger containers before they are ready to be planted outside.
We will be starting another planting of lavender seeds soon, that were just ordered from a local lavender farm in our area, Seafoam Lavender. These seeds are called True Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia ‘Krajova’), and are hardy to our area.
It’s a great idea to grow lavender that grows well in your area. I am looking forward to planting these seeds.
How Quickly Does Lavender Grow From Seed?
From my experience, the Lavender Ellagance Purple seeds that were planted in February grew fairly quickly, with germination at about seven days, and good growth following this.
These seeds grew more quickly than was expected, since the package stated 14 to 21 days to germination. This is the reason the lavender seeds were planted in mid February, as I expected we might not get germination until March.
Fortunately they grew extremely quickly and we also had a high germination rate.
The seedlings will be ready to plant out in late spring, towards the end of May in our zone 5b after the chance of frost has passed.
These plants will still be small this summer, and will need a few years of growth before they reach their mature size.
As hard as it will be, we will be pinching off any lavender blooms this summer to promote good root growth and hardier plants.
Should You Soak Lavender Seeds Before Planting?
We did not soak our Ellagance Purple English lavender seeds before planting, and had great success with our results.
Some lavender seeds of the English type however can have a hard coating and may benefit from the process of scarifying, which is the roughening or scratching of the seed to aid in germination.
Growing Lavender From Cuttings
I have grown lavender from cuttings in the past, and have had good success with this technique.
I can certainly do a blog post on this technique.
The issue that I had with my plants from cuttings here in zone 5b, was that they did not have time to set up a good root system once planted into the garden, and therefore did not survive our cold winter.
Earlier planting would be key for us to grow lavender from cuttings with success.
They are fairly easy to root with rooting hormone, and a great fun project to increase your lavender plants!
Transplanting Your Lavender Seedlings To The Garden
Transplant your baby lavender seedlings outside once the risk of all frost has passed.
Although these are perennial plants, and pretty sturdy at this stage, they will still be tender until they are hardened off and become acclimatized to the outdoor elements.
These lavender seedlings have been growing indoors, and now they need to be prepared for the next step- growing outdoors! Until they are hardened off they are at risk for injury from the sun, wind and cold.
Here is a post on how to harden off your seedlings:
Once your seedlings have been hardened off, they will be ready to be planted into the garden.
Growing Lavender Outdoors
Lavender is not a plant to grow indoors, and should be planted outside whenever the timing is right.
All lavender requires direct sunlight, and good drainage.
Lavender benefits from regular watering, especially during the first growing season.
We will be growing our lavender at the farm in rows, on a south facing hill for good drainage.
We have clay soil which will be amended with a good organic compost.
Lavender grows best in a sheltered area. It also will benefit from some form of protection in winter in colder climates, like covering with burlap or leaf mulch.
How Quickly Does Lavender Grow In The Garden
Slow and steady wins the race!
If given the right growing conditions lavender will reward you with beautiful flowers within a couple of years. You may even have some blooms in your first year.
Lavender will develop into a small shrub within a few years.
In the meantime you can always enjoy the wonderful lavender scent of this fragrant herb by gently rubbing your hand over the leaves of the plant.
Even the tiny four week old seedlings have that fresh lavender smell!
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You Germinate Lavender Seeds Indoors?
Lavender seeds will germinate once they are planted on top of the moist seed starting mix, and the bottom heat is provided to the tray.
Optimal soil temperature for seed germination is 21°C, or 70°F, which is a warm soil.
Warm soil will help with germination, although if you do not have a heat mat, the seeds may still germinate, however they will likely take longer.
The bottom heat, moisture, and light will stimulate the seeds to germinate.
Fresh seeds will germinate readily, within approximately 14 to 21 days, depending on the lavender cultivar that you are growing.
It is very important not to allow the seed starting mix to dry out during the germination process, as this can cause seed demise and seedling loss.
Are Lavender Seeds Difficult To Germinate?
Lavender seeds are easy to germinate if you provide the right conditions for germination.
As long as the seeds are fresh and viable, they should readily sprout.
If you are growing your own lavender seeds from your own lavender plant, make sure that you have allowed the seeds to mature on the plant before harvesting.
That way you will know that you are planting fresh and viable seeds.
Seeds that have been stored for awhile, especially in less than ideal storage conditions, may have a low germination rate.
Can I Germinate Lavender Seeds In A Paper Towel?
Lavender seeds are best planted directly on the soil, however they can also be pre-sprouted in moist paper towel.
Pre-sprouting will allow you to remove any duds that do not germinate, and to plant only the viable sprouting seeds.
To germinate the seeds in paper towel, moisten the towel lightly and place the seeds on top.
Fold the towel so that the seeds are covered, and then place the paper towel in a ziplock bag or a plastic bag.
Put the bag in a warm location, such as on top of the refrigerator.
Check regularly for sprouting, and as well to make sure that the paper towel does not dry out.
Plant pre-sprouted seeds carefully, making sure not to injure the newly emerging roots.
Should I Water Lavender Seeds Every Day?
There is no need to water your lavender seeds daily while you are waiting for them to germinate.
In fact, excess water may cause problems for the seeds, and make them prone to a fungal disease such as damping off.
It’s important that the trays have good drainage, and that the mixture in which the seeds are planted can drain readily.
I check the planted seeds daily for the need for watering, especially when they are on the heat mat, which can dry the soil more quickly.
When the soil mix is just slightly moist to the touch on the top of the soil, and the tray feels lighter than when freshly watered, I will bottom water the tray again.
How Long Does It Take To Grow Lavender From Seed?
Lavender seeds will germinate, grow, and then can be planted out as young seedlings to their final location, all within the first growing season.
Make sure to plant early in northern climates to allow the plants to settle in before late fall.
In our zone 5b garden I like to get the young plants in the ground by early summer, so that they have the whole season to get their roots established.
If planted in their best location, and planted for the right climate, the lavender will grow to maturity and become an established plant within 3 years.
During the first year of growth the new plants are soft and tender, however over time the lavender plant will begin to develop woody stems.
You can start to harvest the flowers starting in the second year.
Try to resist allowing flowers to grow and bloom on the plant in the first year, as this will take energy away from the developing root system.
Rather, snip off any flower buds which form the first season of planting, to preserve the plant’s energy for establishing it’s roots in the ground.
Lavender are beautiful plants that are easy to grow from seed indoors. This is an inexpensive way to grow lots of lavender plants.
This propagation technique will allow you to grow many plants and fill your garden with these fragrant woody shrubs.
A great choice for the herb garden, flower beds, a lavender hedge, or even a field full of lavender, the possibilities for planting are endless if you have lots of seeds and lots of space.
The plants are not indoor plants, and will need to be transplanted into the garden when ready.
For best results, make sure that you grow in full sunlight for best growth and flowering, and in soil with good drainage to prevent root rot.
It will take some time before the plants produce harvestable stems, however it is well with the wait.
Have you tried to grow lavender in your garden? Be sure to leave a comment below to share your experience!
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Hope you found this information helpful on how to grow lavender from seeds indoors. If you have any questions, just let me know in the comments!