Last updated on March 27th, 2023 at 10:21 pm
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 in 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 of 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.
- seedling trays or containers to plant your seeds into
- good quality potting soil
- shelving on which to place your seedlings
- a heat mat to help germinate the seeds
- 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 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.
- 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:
HOW TO HARDEN OFF SEEDLINGS BEFORE TRANSPLANTING
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 full sun, 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 by gently rubbing your hand over the leaves of the plant.
Even the tiny four week old seedlings have that fresh lavender smell!
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!
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I love love love lavender! Great tips, I’m definitely doing this!
It’s an amazing way to increase you stock of lavender plants!
I’m in my first summer with white lavender seedlings I planted last year. They have mo smell and the flowers are tiny little clumps. I keep thinking that I was sold seeds that were packaged wrong . I brought 3 packets from B and Q and they are growing on my balcony . Can I have some reasurance that it takes a few years for them to look like the lavender i am used to seeing?
From my experience even the tiniest lavender seedlings will have a wonderful lavender smell when you rub the foliage. That would be a good way to check to see if you are actually growing lavender. It will take three to five years for the plants to get to be full size, however even the tiny seedlings look like miniature lavender.Good luck, and hopefully you are growing the right plant!
This is so helpful. I’m getting ready to start some lavender seeds so thank you!
Excited to try growing lavender this year! Great post and beautiful photos!
Thank you so much! I hope you have great success with your lavender!